• Bogdan Bogdanovic made his highly anticipated debut on Monday, ironically against the team that selected him with the 27th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. You can’t blame the Suns for trading him away, as he was reluctant to join them in order to avoid the rookie scale contract and aimed to negotiate a bigger deal on his own terms. He was eventually traded to the Kings along with two first-round picks in 2016 (Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere) and a second-round pick in the 2020 draft just one day after announcing he would forgo joining the Suns, returning to his club team, Fenerbahce Ulker of Turkey.

    The Kings were aggressive in their efforts to acquire his rights as both GM and VP of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac and Director of Player Personnel Peja Stojakovic are aware of his upside and his potential to be a cornerstone for this franchise. Last summer he signed a three-year, $27 million deal with Sacramento, which gave him the richest rookie contract in the history of modern NBA. So, is he really worth it?

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    What We Know

    Bogdanovic along with Milos Teodosic, Nikola Jokic, Nemanja Bjelica, Boban Marjanovic and Ognjen Kuzmic belongs to a unique group of Serbian basketball talent. His resume is really impressive with accomplishments on both the personal and team level and it wouldn’t necessarily be an exaggeration in calling him a prima donna.

    He is entering the prime of his career and has gained enough international experience to not be considered a rookie. Coach Dave Joerger has acknowledged this and Bogdanovic should be getting plenty of playing time, especially since the Kings are in full rebuild mode and they will be looking for a leader to emerge out of their current collection of youth.

    “I’m going to implore him to be a little bit more selfish – welcome to the NBA,” Joerger said. “He’s passing up some shots that I need him to take.” He knows how to get open and we’re struggling getting open.”

    Bogdanovic is coming to the NBA with the reputation of a pure scorer as he has always been the number one offensive weapon for the teams he played for. The best part of his game is the ability to come out of screens, catch, shoot and smoothly execute. His screen work will be something to watch for in future games, but his catch and shoot game is on display below:

    Even though his shot is extremely polished the release is a little slow. He has the ability to create space between himself and the defender and will still force the action if needed. This is an area he needs to improve on, as NBA players are longer and more athletic compared to the ones he faced playing overseas.

    “He can make passes in pick-and-roll, he can make passes on the move, can pass and cut, play in the pick-and-roll.” – coach Dave Joerger

    You can never have enough playmakers on your team and the Kings will be deploying some very interesting lineups this season. Bogdanovic has mastered the PnR action under coach Zelimir Obradovic to the point where he lets the game come to him by reading the defenses and making the right decision. This leads to great percentages overall in his game. Here’s a nice collection of PnR activity with Bogdan as the primary ball handler (note that Bogdanovic is #13 in these clips).

    What makes Bogdanovic more than a conventional shooting guard is the ability to play both on and off the ball. He will have the opportunity to deliver plenty of assists playing alongside De’Aaron Fox and Garrett Temple while guarding smaller, less athletic point guards on the other side of the floor.

    And even though he can do a good job driving and kicking, Sacramento doesn’t have many reliable shooters to convert these passes so they will rely on the slashing activity of De’Aaron Fox and George Hill.

    You should not expect to see Buddy Hield and Bogdanovic in the same lineup, primarily for defensive purposes, and these non traditional lineups are the reason Hill will be (or should be) playing a lot off the ball this year.

    Bogdanovic is very comfortable handling the ball and will have no problem keeping his turnovers down as long as he’s surrounded with veterans and it’s clear that the Kings’ coach understands how valuable he can be for this young team.

    The Challenges

    Bogdanovic has a nice frame at 6’6″ with a 6’11” wingspan but he is not overly athletic and you shouldn’t expect him to hit the glass consistently. He may struggle to finish plays close to the rim as he lacks high-level explosiveness and is primarily a below-the-rim finisher, though he does have exceptional footwork and can go against smaller opponents. Getting to the foul line has never been his strength and this will probably won’t change at the NBA level but he’s elite from the charity stripe when he gets there.

    At this point of his career he would benefit from bulking up his upper body as this would allow him to play the small forward position, absorb contact and hold his ground defensively.

    He will have to do a better job at closing out as he is not the fastest athlete and playing as a shooting guard will put him in some tough defensive situations against quicker guards.

    Here is another defensive possession where Bogdanovic lacks the concentration to keep up with Devin Booker and fails to recover with speed.

    He shouldn’t be labeled as a bad defender since when he is committed he can provide great one-on-one defense and be a nice source of steals.

    What to Look for Long Term

    When evaluating a player I usually try to avoid comparisons but in the case of Bogdanovic I have no issue calling him the closest thing to Manu Ginobili. Bogdanovic is not as quick and explosive of a finisher as Manu but he’s got more length and is equally crafty and clutch. Once he adjusts to the fast pace of NBA he will be very hard to contain.

    Coach Joerger has talked about fatigue and how the long season overseas combined with the EuroBasket tournament will force him to take a slow approach with his rookie. He will probably hit the wall at some point  but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bogdanovic ends the year playing around 30 minutes and possibly overtaking Buddy Hield as the starting shooting guard.

    Coaches love smart players and Joerger will have a hard time keeping him off the floor. It’s very encouraging to see that he has already developed strong chemistry with fellow rookie stud De’Aaron Fox. Kings fans should be excited while I would try to add him in all dynasty formats as I expect a long and very successful career for him in Sacramento. He has a great second-half outlook in redraft leagues as well.

Fantasy News

  • Tacko Fall - C - College

    Tacko Fall of UCF, Marques Bolden of Duke, Nick Weiler-Babb of Iowa State, Jalen Hudson of Florida, Amir Hinton of Shaw University and Myles Powell of Seton Hall will all be participants of the Kings pre-draft workout.

    All of the players that will be working out for the Kings are not projected to be drafted next month. The Kings are looking at guys for their second round selections as they have three picks in that round. Unfortunately, those are the only picks they have this year as their first round selection is owned by the Celtics. Expect the Kings to continue to look at players with high ceilings like Tacko Fall. Fall, a 7’7″ center has a 10’2″ standing reach and an 8’2″ wingspan. These measurements are why Fall will get to the NBA at some point. The question of how big of an impact he will make remains to be seen. Perhaps the Kings will draft the large center with one of their three second round picks.

    Source: Deuce Mason on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw - SG/SF - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (personal reasons) will remain sidelined for Thursday's Game 5 vs. the Bucks.

    McCaw has missed the entire ECF thus far due to personal reasons. The basketball community hopes the best for the youngster. Even if he were to come back, he wouldn't be in line for many minutes as Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet have established themselves as part of the team's shortened eight man rotation.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • OG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors

    Head coach Nick Nurse told the media that OG Anunoby (appendectomy) is still without a timetable to return but said that he's doing more every day.

    Anunoby has missed the entire playoffs after suffering an emergency appendectomy. Now that Game 6 is necessary and there is a greater likelihood that there will be a Game 7, the chances improve that we see Anunoby return to the court to face the Bucks. The Raptors could use another long versatile defender to throw at the Greek Freak and his teammates. Continue to stay tuned to how Anunoby continues to progress on the court to see if he will be able to return this series.

    Source: Michael Grange on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Danny Green never believed Kawhi Leonard was anything but legitimately hurt last year and back-to-back brilliant performances the last two games reinforces how serious the injury was.

    “He’s playing through pain,” Danny Green said to a handful of reporters, long after Leonard left the locker room. “He can’t even celebrate baskets because of how painful it is.” For the last couple games Kawhi has dragged around his right leg like there was a nail hammered into it while the Raptors won’t admit there is a problem. Toronto’s bench was brilliant yesterday carrying the team to a victory and with Game 5 set to take place on Thursday Leonard won’t have much time to rest.

    Source: Sports Illustrated

  • Pau Gasol - C/F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Pau Gasol made it official by confirming that he won’t be playing for Spain at the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup due to his foot fracture.

    “I would have loved playing with Spain, with my teammates. It has been always important playing for my National Team”, Gasol said. The big man added that he would love to end his international career by playing in the Olympics in Tokyo but after finishing the worst statistical season of his NBA career we have to wonder whether injuries will allow him to continue competing at the highest level.

    Source: ACB

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that Kyrie Irving is open to joining the Lakers but they aren’t as high on his list as a few other teams.

    Irving will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and he has the Celtics, the Knicks and the Nets all ahead of the Lakers as potential destinations. Joining the Lakers would mean reuniting with LeBron James, his former teammate with the Cavs. Kyrie and LeBron overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors to win the championship in 2016 but their relationship went south leading to Irving’s trade to the Celtics last year.

    Source: ESPN

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Warriors star Kevin Durant has not made a decision on where he’s taking his talents next season, according to his manager Rich Kleiman.

    “Kevin is 100 percent undecided,” Kleiman told the Wall Street Journal. “He really doesn’t know, and I really don’t know.” KD has strongly been linked to the Knicks, while the Clippers and the Nets seem to have increased their odds as well, but it’s hard to know what Durant really has in his mind.

    Source: Wall Street Journal

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    FS1’s Chris Broussard suggested that the Nets could be a dark horse when it comes to landing Anthony Davis.

    Brooklyn could offer the Pelicans a package that includes D’Angelo Russell (as part of a sign-and-trade), big man Jarrett Allen and their two first-round picks in the June 20 NBA Draft, the No. 17 and No. 27 overall selections. The Nets’ hope is to bring both AD and free agent-to-be Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn as Sean Marks seems determined to build a contender. AD and his agent Rich Paul are expected to meet with David Griffin in Los Angeles soon, so we should know more about the All-Star’s’ future once this meeting finally takes place.

    Source: FOX Sports

  • Tobias Harris - F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Keith Pompey of the Phily Inquirer is reporting that Tobias Harris will be on the radar of at least five teams, including the Kings, the Mavs, the Jazz, the Nets and the Pacers, all of which have room to add a maximum-salary free agent.

    The Sixers will have a full plate this offseason as they have three starters headed toward unrestricted free agency this summer in Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick. Philadelphia owns Harris’ Bird rights, meaning they can offer him the most-lucrative deal, a five-year, $188 million pact while the most another team could offer would be a four-year deal at $141 million. Harris will soon be turning 27 and entering his prime and his services will absolutely be in demand even thought he averaged just 15.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 12 playoff games this year.

    Source: Phily Inquirer

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Marc Stein of the New York Times wrote on his newsletter on Tuesday that the Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Kevin Durant away from the Warriors.

    KD is expected to enter free agency this offseason by declining his $31.5 million option for 2019-20. The 30-year-old All-Star will be in high demand once he hits the open market, and the Knicks, the Nets and the Clippers all have more than $50 million in practical cap space this summer. Durant will likely consider how well each team is set up for success, which would seem to favor the Clippers and the Nets, both of whom made the playoffs last season. Meanwhile, Warriors owner Joe Lacob remains confident about the team re-signing KD and Klay Thompson this summer.

    Source: New York Times