Coming off his hot streak at the Rio Olympics, Bojan Bogdanovic is doubling down and predicting that the Brooklyn Nets will make the playoffs this season, reports Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
Forget that the Nets traded away Thaddeus Young before June’s NBA Draft and, apparently, it doesn’t matter that the Las Vegas oddsmakers are giving Brooklyn the ‘Leicester City’ treatment thus far — Bogdanovic likes their chances either way. In an interview with the Post, he said:
“I think we can,’’ Bogdanovic told the Post. “They can write what they want. … But we’re going to work hard to give it our best. When we get in a game, we have a chance to beat anybody. It’s going to be tough, but if we play like we practice, we have a chance.”
Coming off a rebuilding summer — highlighted by the hiring of head coach Kenny Atkinson and the aforementioned Young trade — most are predicting that even the perennially low Philadelphia 76ers will leapfrog the Nets in the Eastern Conference standings, but the optimism is still there. Bogdanovic scored 25.3 points per game in Rio, the competition’s highest tally, and alongside signings like Jeremy Lin, Anthony Bennett, and Trevor Booker, there’s the potential to exceed the low expectations under Atkinson.
With just Brook Lopez left from a forgotten era of Nets basketball, the onus will be on Bogdanovic to continue his hot summer into the fall.
“Last year when Joe left, I got more minutes, started every game. … and stretched the floor,’’ Bogdanovic said. “I hope this season we’re going to play much better, and I play at the same level I finished last year.”
If the Nets want to stay out of the cellar or — gasp — compete for a playoff berth, they’ll need Bogdanovic to be at his best every night — can he do it?