Pure Shooter, Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Bogdan Bogdanovic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

After leading Fenerbahçe to EuroLeague and Turkish BSL titles last season, Bogdan Bogdanovic is said to be considering a transfer to the United States.

Sacramento owns his NBA rights at this point and is expected to make a competitive offer to try convincing him to join the team this summer, as the 27th pick in the 2014 draft is no longer subject to the rookie scale after spending three years in Turkey.

Already a highly regarded shot creator and shot maker at Partizan, his offensive prowess translated to the highest caliber of European basketball and he was a key part of the Serbian National Team that reached the Gold Medal game in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as well.

With the move to a title contending powerhouse, the combo guard was expected to settle into more of a floor spacing pure shooter role but that was not the case. Zeljko Obradovic preferred pairing him with smaller scoring guards who mostly operated off the ball and off a live dribble these last three years[1], which made Bogdanovic the one responsible for triggering the offense.

But his NBA prospects look brighter than at the time he was drafted due to his improvements on defense. The soon-to-be 25-year-old was an up-and-down defender in Serbia but his effort was a lot more consistent under the guidance of the legendary Obradovic, who relied on the lengthy six-foot-four, 205-pounder as his top on-ball defender in high leverage games.

OFFENSE

Bogdanovic’s top skill remains his catch-and-shoot three-point shot. Aside from having gravity as a standstill spot-up threat, his quick release is dynamic enough for him to stress the defense working off screens, relocating off ball movement or offensive rebounds and sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs as well.

According to RealGM, he nailed 38.9% of his 827 three-point shots over the last three seasons, getting them up at a pace of 6.9 attempts per 40 minutes.

He is at his most valuable operating on the ball, though.

Bogdanovic does well running pick-and-roll. He doesn’t have the speed to just turn on the jets turning the corner off the ball-screen on the side of the floor but plays with great pace, using his craft to put his man in jail and erasing him off the play as he penetrates the lane.

Bogdanovic uses craft for his finishes as well. He lacks explosiveness to go up strong off one foot in traffic but has floaters and wrong-footed tosses as a below-the-rim finisher against shot blocking threats, though it’s questionable how effective that will translate against NBA-caliber length.

He got all the way to the basket a fair amount for someone who can’t just leave his man behind, especially considering Fenerbahçe didn’t always provide optimal spacing[2], but didn’t show a lot of dexterity for drawing contact and earning trips to the foul line – averaging just 3.9 free throws per 40 minutes the last three seasons.

Bogdanovic doesn’t have an explosive first step to just blow by his man one-on-one but has shown decent suddenness in change of direction, shaking his defender side-to-side with nifty crossovers and using hang dribbles to freeze him so he can get his shot off.

He is able to rise up for stop-and-pop pull-ups in balance or step-back fade-away jumpers and hit tough shots with a hand in his face, aside from showcasing the ability to step into three-pointers off the pick-and-roll when the opponent leaves him uncontested from time-to-time.

Another tangible advantage he brings to the table is an inclination for posting up smaller defenders in a pinch, as he’s able to hit turnaround jumpers over them or back his way into close-range attempts.

Yet, his most impressive development has been as a passer. Bogdanovic is not just a ball mover who makes the extra pass around the horn and can kick-out to the strong side when he drives into the lane attacking a closeout but has proven himself a reliable shot creator for others against a set defense as well.

He is able to pass across the defense to the opposite end of the court on the move and make well-timed pocket passes in traffic, assisting on 26.9% of Fenerbahçe’s scores when he was on the floor last season, at the cost of him turning it over on 16.9% of his possessions, which is reasonable in the context of an above average assist rate combined with his 26.8% usage rate.

DEFENSE

In order to hide Bobby Dixon off the ball, Bogdanovic was responsible for guarding the point of attack and impressed with his lateral quickness in isolation defense often. He got down in a stance consistently and proved himself able to keep pace with smaller players side-to-side at the European level. His eight-foot-11 standing reach is a huge asset for him to contest shots effectively on most instances as well.

Bogdanovic wasn’t as impactful in pick-and-roll defense, though. He puts in the effort to try navigating over picks and does a decent enough job negotiating poorly set slip screens, returning to his man in a timely manner if he gets good help from his big man coming over way above the foul line. But he’s too big to slide over well set screens seamlessly.

At times when he struggled to make his way around some behemoths or crafty types who held him up expertly[3], Bogdanovic switched onto these big men but didn’t do a particularly impressive job. He puts in the effort to try holding his ground, raising his arms to try walling up and was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but lacks strength to do these things effectively. More concerning, perhaps, is how he was also vulnerable to getting posted up by big wings.

As a weak-side defender, Bogdanovic proved himself attentive to his assignment chasing shooters off staggered screens but lacks the speed to track these types of players and prevent a good catch-and-shoot look if the pass is well delivered, needing to find shortcuts to make his way across the court in time to run the shooter off his shot, though he did impress with his ability to closeout, stay well balanced to keep pace off the bounce and contest a pull-up jumper decently.

Bogdanovic stays on his stance off the ball and can execute the scheme but hasn’t shown a knack for making plays in the passing lanes and lacks the athletic ability to act as a shot blocking threat rotating off the weak-side in help defense. His contributions through steals and blocks have been consistently marginal, though his 14.5% defensive rebounding rate is a nice mark for a two-guard.

[1] Andrew Goudelock the first year, Bobby Dixon over these last two

[2] Obradovic played Ekpe Udoh and Jan Vesely together quite a bit towards the end of the season, as his confidence on Pero Antic waned and Luigi Datome’s defense limited his minutes in high leverage games

[3] Like Khem Birch in the EuroLeague championship game

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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