• 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

  • Cameron Johnson
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Cameron Johnson (left calf soreness) and Ty Jerome (right ankle sprain) have been downgraded to out for Wednesday's game against the Kings.

    The Suns' crop of backup point guards are looking at a few extra minutes each with Jerome out, though it's still too crowded to rely on anyone. Mikal Bridges is in line to see a heavier workload at both wing spots without the services of Johnson.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • Shaquille Harrison
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Shaquille Harrison (hamstring) has been downgraded to out for Wednesday's game against the Hornets.

    This is not a good sign for Harrison's chances of playing in the season opener. Harrison is off the fantasy radar as a deep reserve, even if he suits up.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Fred VanVleet
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby will join Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol in the starting unit for Tuesday's season-opening game against the Pelicans.

    VanVleet, who was in line for mnites either way, gets a boost in value now that he's the confirmed starter for the Raptors. Norman Powell could still push for 20+ minutes as the first guard/wing off the bench.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Andre Iguodala remains away from the team and will not play in Wednesday's season opener.

    The Grizzlies remain steadfast in their desire to trade Iguodala rather than buy him out. This saga may drag out to the trade deadline. Iguodala can be left on the waiver wire while this situation plays itself out.

    Source: NBA Injury report

  • Wendell Carter Jr.
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Wendell Carter Jr. is being listed as probable for Wednesday's matchup against the Hornets.

    Carter is ready to roll for the season opener and has the potential for a big season if he can stay healthy. That has proven to be a big if so far in his young career.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Andre Roberson
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Andre Roberson (left knee) is listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Jazz.

    Roberson has been ramping up his workload recently and is getting closer to a return, but it won't come in the opener. Roberson is a plus defender but can be left on the waiver wire.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Nassir Little
    SF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) is available to play in Wednesday's tilt against the Nuggets.

    Little doesn't hold much value as he battles for backup minutes with a host of players.

    Source: Jay Allen on Twitter

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside (left ankle sprain) is good to go for Wednesday's game against the Nuggets.

    Whiteside practiced without limitations on Monday, and now we have official confirmation that he will play. Whiteside has proven to be elite in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage in limited minutes, and has the potential for a career-year with the shortage of options in the Blazers frontcourt.

    Source: Jay Allen on Twitter

  • Reggie Jackson
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    Reggie Jackson (lower back tightness) is listed as probable to face the Pacers on Wednesday.

    Although the team added a few guards and Jackson is about as dull as they come, he is the starting PG for a fringe playoff team who is a reliable source for points and assists, while quietly nearly doubling his career average from the three-point range last year.

    Source: Eric Woody on Twitter

  • Markieff Morris
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Markieff Morris (sore lower back) is being listed as questionable to play in Wednesday's game against the Pacers.

    The Pistons have a back-to-back set to open the season and are already going to be without Blake Griffin for the rest of October, so they need Morris in the lineup. Is Morris can't go, Christain Wood is going to be a hot cheap DFS play to open the season after earning a roster spot by averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in five preseason games.

    Source: Eric Woody on Twitter