Nets wing Bojan Bogdanovic played the best game of his young career Sunday afternoon, scoring 22 points on 9-12 shooting, adding six rebounds and two steals. But the success wasn’t an anomaly: it was the success of Brooklyn’s system, and how well Bogdanovic fits in that system.
Lionel Hollins has instituted a “flex” offense for the Nets, with a strong tilt towards off-ball movement, screening, and passing. Other than leaking out for a few fast-break opportunities, Bogdanovic didn’t play much differently than he had in the first few games, but the offense found its way to him throughout.
Bogdanovic is a natural cutter and off-ball mover: he averaged 3.4 miles traveled per 48 minutes heading into Sunday afternoon, tops on the team, and the Orlando Magic defense lost him on multiple occasions.
“Our offense is the kind of offense where if you screen, if you cut hard, if you move, you’re going to get open,” Deron Williams said after the game, alluding to Bogdanovic’s performance. Most of Bogdanovic’s points were assisted (often by center Kevin Garnett, who dished out seven, his most in a Nets uniform), and those that weren’t still were created by Bogdanovic cutting. Just look at his first basket: Bogdanovic caught the ball off a down-screen by Lopez, then cut back towards the basket just as Luke Ridnour had recovered, creating an open look.
“I think teams are keying in on myself, Joe (Johnson), and Brook (Lopez) and he’s going to benefit from that,” Williams added. “He finds himself getting wide open shots, but he’s also doing a great job attacking the defense.”
Putting Bogdanovic in with the first unit helps him along in a way we’ve discussed on this website before: when playing next to the team’s primary offensive options, Bogdanovic can learn the NBA speed without having to take a large role in the offense, picking and choosing his spots while playing off his teammates.
“He was a recipient tonight,” Joe Johnson said. “He got a lot of great looks and easy baskets.”