Bojan Bogdanovic an improved scorer heading into Brooklyn

Bojan Bogdanovic an improved scorer heading into Brooklyn

The above showcases new Brooklyn Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic at his introductory press conference at the team’s practice facility in Rutherford, New Jersey. Bogdanovic briefly discusses his trek to the NBA, his new role with the team, and what he expects to bring to Brooklyn.

In 51 Euroleague and non-Euroleague games with Fenerbahce Ulker, Bogdanovic averaged 15.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, according to Euroleague’s official tallies. He was Fenerbahce’s leading scorer.

“I am a shooter, but…last year I improved a lot with my game with the ball, pick-and-roll,” Bogdanovic said. “I think that I’m good enough one-on-one, and I think that I’m ready.”

But is that true? To figure it out, The Brooklyn Game gained access to the in-depth numbers provided by Synergy Sports Technology.

Sure enough, Bogdanovic checks out. With Fenerbahce Ulker in 2014, Bogdanovic played out of the pick-and-roll more than any other set by a decent margin, creating 0.97 points per possession when you include the times he passed. That puts his scoring efficiency above 76 percent of qualifying players in Euroleague, no small feat for a player that used so many possessions in the pick-and-roll.

He’s a scorer, but not just a scorer. When passing out of the pick-and-roll, Bogdanovic’s teammates scored exactly half the time, often on wide open three-pointers. His existence as a scoring threat opened up opportunities for his teammates, leading to 2.6 assists per game. That sounds small, but Euroleague can be particularly stingy with assists: world-renowned passer Ricky Rubio averaged only 3.6 assists per game in his final season with Barcelona, and a career average of 9.2 assists per 36 minutes in the NBA.

The wide-open space in the NBA helped Rubio’s passing numbers immensely. Though Bogdanovic isn’t exactly Jason Kidd John Stockton, his teammates got their fair share of open shots from his passing ability.

His biggest problem in the pick-and-roll is a common one — turnovers. Over 23 percent of Bogdanovic’s completed pick-and-roll plays ended with a turnover, a high number for a pick-and-roll guard. Most of his turnovers came when the defense committed to Bogdanovic or trapped him, forcing him to make a quick decision. That’s something that’s afflicted Joe Johnson, too.

Here’s a further analysis of Bojan Bogdanovic’s pick-and-roll skills, sent by friend of the site Rafael Uehara. It’s in Turkish (semi-readable via Google Translate, or if you know Turkish), but you can see some of his issues in the videos presented.

Unlike Johnson, Bogdanovic did not rank as a particularly good isolation scorer. That seems counterintuitive, since Bogdanovic is known for his craftiness and ability to score in one-on-one situations. But he shot under 30 percent from the field in isolations against Euroleague defenders, which doesn’t bode well for an NBA scorer.

But Bogdanovic won’t be a top option in Brooklyn, and his prospects as a secondary option look promising. Bogdanovic ranked as an excellent scorer in transition and as a spot-up shooter: when spotting up, Bogdanovic put up an effective field goal percentage (accounting for the value of three-pointers) of 58.8 percent, a very solid number. For comparison, Joe Johnson’s eFG% in the same situation was 60.8 percent, and Johnson ranked in the NBA’s top 30 players in points per possession on spot-ups.

Granted, the Euroleague three-point line is about three feet shorter than the NBA, and it takes some players a year or more to adjust. (Just ask Mirza Teletovic.) So Bogdanovic might not blow the lid off Barclays Center immediately, but he’s been known as a shooter throughout his European career, and that’s something to watch out for in Brooklyn.

One more thing to keep an eye on: Bogdanovic sneaking around off the ball. Cuts are a loose catch-all term for any time a guy gets the ball near the basket behind a defender, but Bogdanovic ranked in the 98th percentile among Euroleague cutters, shooting a ridiculous 79 percent from the field on cuts. It wasn’t too many possessions, but some smart sneakiness means easy backdoor layups and sneaky open shots a couple of times a game. That can add up fast.

What does this mean in Brooklyn? It’s not clear yet. There aren’t many comparable players with Bogdanovic’s skillset that have made the jump from Euroleague to the pros — as Alex Mazer noted last week, comparisons to Mirza Teletovic are based more in background than basketball. But it seems that Bogdanovic has some real NBA skills, and at 25, could fight his way into the starting lineup.