The Nets are in the midst of an ugly stretch, with five straight losses dropping their record to 4-7. But one of the bright spots amidst the cloud: Nets rookie Bojan Bogdanovic, who comes in third in this week’s NBA.com rookie rankings after ranking seventh in each of the first three weeks.
Scott Howard-Cooper notes that Bogdanovic leads all rookies in playing time, and has shot 54.3 percent in his last five games, production that makes him a “legit threat for Rookie of the Year.” So far, Bogdanovic has averaged 11.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 31.9 minutes per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from three-point range. He’s second among all rookies in effective field goal percentage (which accounts for the value of a three-pointer) and true shooting percentage (which adds in the impact of free throws).
Bogdanovic is primarily a spot-up shooter and cutter in Brooklyn’s offense, getting most of his shots from beyond the arc or on cuts to the basket. His shooting “heat map,” courtesy of Basketball-Reference, reflects his role: sneak to the basket for layups (17 of his 20 field goals at the rim have been assisted), and spot up in the corner for threes.
His production hasn’t waned with a slightly increased workload in the first 11 games of the year. His two 22-point games not only reminded us of a former Nets owner, but were also the two highest-scoring games by a rookie this season, until Bucks rookie Jabari Parker dropped 23 points on the Nets in triple-overtime Wednesday night. No coincidence that Parker, who was the preseason favorite to win Rookie of the Year, ranks first.
The 25-year-old Bogdanovic was considered a top talent in the 2011 NBA draft, but fell to the first overall pick in the second round because of the first round’s rigid rookie scale & Bogdanovic’s status as a European player with an uncertain NBA future. (Minnesota Timberwolves center & bruiser Nikola Pekovic is another example of a player with first-round talent that was taken with the first pick of the second round.)