October 27, 2017, 2:52 pm
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.
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.
July 10, 2020, 11:34 pmKevon LooneyPF-C, Golden State Warriors
In what amounted to a lost season for the Warriors (but not if you factor in the high lottery selection that comes with it), they received little from the likes of Kevon Looney and Draymond Green in the front court.
Looney was never healthy in 2019-20, managing just 20 games and ending with meager averages of 3.4 points and 3.3 boards per contest. It was a similar story with Draymond, as the Warriors finished their season with the worst winning percentage in the league. Looney is on the Warriors' books for one more season in 2020-21, the end of a three-year pact he signed prior to the 2018-19 season. He's going to cost them about $5 million and a trade or a buyout is possible, especially if the Warriors opt to select a big man in the draft. Looney's days of fantasy relevance have come and gone.
July 10, 2020, 11:22 pmJuan Toscano-AndersonPF, Golden State Warriors
Juan Toscano-Anderson made his NBA debut this season for the Warriors after much of their depth was traded to the T-Wolves prior to the deadline in February.
Toscano-Anderson unfortunately sprained his ankle during the Warriors' final game of the season on March 10, but prior to that he had played significant minutes for the team in February and March. He spent most of the season in the G League with Santa Cruz. There's no telling whether or not he will be on the Warriors in 2020-21, but he has no fantasy appeal moving forward, wherever that may be.
July 10, 2020, 10:56 pmDraymond GreenPF, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green battled through an injury-plagued season in 2019-20, managing 43 games and finishing with per-game averages of 8.0 PTS, 6.2 REB, 6.2 AST, 1.4 STL and 0.8 BLK in 28.4 MPG.
Green's heart, which everyone knows is a key part of his game, simply wasn't in it this year in the wake of yearlong injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and the departure of superstar Kevin Durant to the Nets. He put up Draymond-like numbers when he was on the floor, but head coach Steve Kerr opted to sit him any chance he got as Green dealt with a multitude of injuries of his own. On the fantasy side, Green finished 78th in 8-cat and should regain most of his old form when the Warriors' depleted roster is replenished for 2020-21. Look for him to get back to 100 percent as his extended layoff continues.
July 10, 2020, 10:43 pmDragan BenderPF, Golden State Warriors
Dragan Bender played 16 games for the Warriors in 2019-20 prior to the league wide shutdown and performed quite well (averaging 9.0 points, 5.9 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.2 threes in his nine most recent outings) in the absence of both Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
This solid play included a 23-point, seven rebound effort in what turned out to be the Warriors' final game of the season on March 10, a 131-107 drubbing at the hands of the Clippers. Blowout losses like that were a common sight for the Warriors this year, as they closed out the season with the worst record in the NBA. Bender was in the middle of a second 10-day deal with the Warriors when the COVID-19 pandemic paused the sports world, so it remains to be seen if he is in their plans for 2020-21. Conventional wisdom would lead one to believe it is unlikely the Warriors bring back Bender, but crazier things have happened and it is impossible to forecast the Warriors' 2020-21 roster at this juncture.
July 10, 2020, 10:09 pmJordan PoolePG, Golden State Warriors
Rookie guard Jordan Poole played 57 games for the Warriors this season, averaging 8.8 PTS, 2.1 REB, 2.4 AST and 1.3 threes in 22.3 minutes per contest.
This is more NBA action than the Warriors would have liked Poole to get during his rookie year and they probably hoped he'd be able to get more run in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. That's still a possibility, as the return of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry and the extensions of fellow guards Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder make it likely that Poole will see time with Santa Cruz in 2020-21. Poole was a late first-round pick of the Warriors out of Michigan just last summer.
July 10, 2020, 9:50 pmAlen SmailagicPF, Golden State Warriors
19-year-old Serbian rookie Alen Smailagic (6-foot-10, 215 pounds) played 14 games during his rookie season, averaging 4.2 points and 1.9 boards in 9.9 minutes per game.
The production from the young Serbian this season (383rd in 9-cat) wasn't important to the Warriors for development reasons and he spent the majority of the season in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors anyway. The Warriors will definitely play it slow with Smailagic, but his name is one to know moving forward.
July 10, 2020, 9:33 pmMychal MulderPG, Golden State Warriors
One of many to get a turn on the Warriors' roster carousel this season, Mychal Mulder was a silver lining, earning a three-year contract after impressing in two consecutive 10-day pacts.
Mulder, who averaged 11.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in just seven contests this year, and fellow guard Damion Lee both earned three-year contracts after impressive showings for the Warriors and head coach Steve Kerr. On a per-game basis, Mulder ranked 288th in 8-cat and 275th in 9-cat. The contract is indicative of the Warriors' plans with the third-year Canadian out of Kentucky, and he should share bench opportunities with Lee for them next season behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
July 10, 2020, 9:14 pmEric PaschallPF, Golden State Warriors
Eric Paschall saw significant playing time this season, his rookie campaign, due to a ravaged Warriors roster and played well (14.0 PTS, 4.6 REB, 2.1 AST and 0.6 3PT).
Paschall played his college ball at Villanova under the tutelage of coach Jay Wright, so his pedigree is top notch. He proved quite a bit for the Warriors in his first NBA season, and even earned an unexpected bid to the Rising Stars game in February. Paschall ranked 189th in 8-cat and 205th in 9-cat but he was nowhere near a lock to make the team out of camp. He should maintain a bench role for the Warriors in 2020-21, even when their depleted roster makes it back to full strength. It's too early to tell what his fantasy outlook might be for next season.
July 10, 2020, 8:52 pmDamion LeeSG, Golden State Warriors
Damion Lee was one of the lone bright spots in a lost season for the Warriors after starting on a two-way contract, finishing the year ranked 155th in 9-cat and 122nd in 8-cat.
After exhausting the 45-day NBA roster limit for his two-way deal, the Warriors brought Lee back on a three-year NBA contract after he played extremely well during his extended showcase. Obviously, he factors in to the Warriors' plans moving forward, even if it's just depth at the guard position behind bonafide stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who are both coming off of long-term injuries. Lee seems poised to play an important role in 2020-21 and could very well be a viable fantasy contributor.
July 10, 2020, 8:31 pmAndrew WigginsSF, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Wiggins, who was dealt from the T-Wolves to the Warriors in February, finds himself in a seemingly favorable spot moving forward, as far as his career is concerned.
Wiggins actually fared worse, at least from a fantasy perspective, during his month with the Warriors. Overall, he finished the year ranked 76th in 8-cat and 93rd in 9-cat but was outside the top-120 over his final nine games. The Warriors, who plan on starting Wiggins at small forward next year, should be at full strength next season with the return of stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In addition, the team will presumably land a high lottery pick in the upcoming draft due to their lackluster record this season. If Wiggins is able to build some rapport with Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green during the rather short offseason, he will in for another high-floor, top-100 fantasy season in 2020-21. Fantasy owners should be accustomed to the ebb and flow that come with Wiggins' fantasy seasons, but throwing him into the mix with the rest of the Warriors is nonetheless intriguing.