Brook Lopez is the one who’s in the rumor mill more than anyone else on the Nets, but Bojan Bogdanovic could be traded by February’s deadline.
Keith Smith of RealGM reported that that the Brooklyn Nets are actively shopping Bogdanovic, but teams haven’t offered anything to them was worth executing a deal. The third-year forward has made year-over-year improvements, and that’s where the interest is drawn.
Through 48 games, Bogdanovic, 27, is averaging 14.1 points, which is up from his sophomore mark of 11.2, and he’s also shooting 44 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from three and a staggering 87.5 percent from the line. Judging by his numbers, one thing is evident — Bogdanovic is a capable scorer.
His double-digit scoring consistency is enough for him to warrant looks from opposing GMs and his offense is becoming more and more refined. The former first-round pick has always been a reliable shooter from beyond the arc, but, this year, he’s becoming more of a slasher, and 31.7 percent of his attempts come from inside of three feet, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Before this year, it never passed 27.
Bogdanovic is a steady secondary scoring option, and that’s what he is when the Nets deploy him and Brook Lopez in the same lineup. The only problem is that he’s someone who should always be the second option unless he consistently displays the ability to create for himself.
According to NBA.com, 45.8 percent of Bogdanovic’s field goals are made without him dribbling; 33.7 percent are catch and shoot opportunities. This is not a flaw in his game — it’s when Bogdanovic is at his best.
He shoots 45.8 percent on those shots where he doesn’t dribble, and that clip drops down to 44.8 and then to 39 on the first and second dribbles, respectively. On catch and shoot threes, Bogie nails 41.1 percent, and he’s far from reluctant to pull up from beyond 25 feet.
His jumper is very smooth, and he’s got a wide base that allows him to stretch his range. If I’m nit-picking, the only thing that’s missing is the elevation, but he doesn’t need it that often.
Bogdanovic’s limited athleticism for his size makes it hard for him to attack off the dribble, which is why he’ll never reach his full potential as the go-to guy. In this league, he matches up with guys like Paul George, Jimmy Butler and LeBron James multiple times a year, and it’s very hard for him to beat them off the bounce.
There isn’t total ineptitude, though, and Bogdanovic is a guy who can operate off screens and is a strong finisher when going downhill.
Complementary scorers do have a place in this league. More importantly, catch and shoot players are valued more by teams who have star power. That is truly Bogdanovic’s bread and butter, so whoever wants him is looking for a complimentary guy to feed off of penetration.
Additionally, the team trading for him would already need to be lockdown defensively because he’s not great on that end of the floor. By no means is Bogdanovic a defensive liability, but a stout defensive unit can mask his deficiencies.
I already touched on his iffy athleticism, and that comes complete with a lack of explosiveness and lateral movement — all three of those are crucial for defending today’s super-athletic wings and backcourt players.
Bogdanovic won’t get blown by completely, but, more times than not, other wings will be a step quicker and reliable help will be necessary to stop the bucket. Below are two back-door cuts where Bogie got beat, but Lopez wasn’t seeing the ball and his man which led to two dunks:
LeBron James and Jimmy Butler are the ones getting the buckets, but anyone could’ve converted on that opportunity because it got created off a simple cut.
In a vacuum, Bogdanovic is somewhere between Kyle Korver and Carmelo Anthony — he’s not relegated to shooting only spot-up jumpers, but he’s also not a guy who can go out and get a bucket by himself every possession if the team needed it.
He’s the sixth man on a playoff contender, and that’s a high enough value to warrant a young player and possibly a first-round draft pick if the team trading for him has a late selection.