In what was a historic offseason, the Utah Jazz were able to sign one of the highest-profile free agents in the history of the franchise. Bojan Bogdanovic inked a four-year, $73 Million contract with the Jazz earlier this summer, and has helped bolster the Championship buzz in Utah. Bojan told reporters in Indiana that Utah “had a great offer” both speaking in terms of money (obviously) and roster construction. Bogdanovic will undoubtedly be a key piece in the Jazz’s hopeful championship run.
What can Jazz fans expect from Bogdanovic? We asked someone who covered him closely for the last two seasons, which just happened to be the best couple years of his career. Tony East, Indiana Pacers writer at Forbes and podcaster at Locked on Pacers, joined us for this Q&A on Bojan Bogdanovic, and what we can expect from him for the next few years in Utah.
Bogdanovic played the best basketball of his career in Indiana. How was he able to elevate his game and what types of things did the Pacers do to get the most out of him?
Bojan just loves to play. He plays almost every day in the summer for his national team. He never misses a practice or a game. That, combined with being extremely coachable, allows him to improve frequently.
The Pacers specifically figured out how to harness his off-the-dribble game. He was reduced to mostly a spot-up guy with some slashing duties at other stops, but in Indiana he showed he can beat his matchup off the bounce and that opened up shots all over the court for him.
How do you think he builds off his career numbers last season, and how does he reach his ceiling as a player? What is his ceiling as a player?
I think his last season is probably his ceiling as a player solely because of his age. I’m not saying he will decline, but he’s 30. New skills aren’t going to pop up.
An addition to that opening clause is that saying his ceiling was last season doesn’t mean he won’t be as good over the next 4 years. I think he can maintain that ceiling since very little of his game is reliant on youthful exuberance.
If he adds anything, it would be passing. But I don’t think he will be asked to do much of that in Utah.
What is the most underrated thing about Bojan Bogdanovic?
Consistency. He played in 81 games and shot under 30 percent only 4 times. 30 percent isn’t good, but it’s not so bad that it completely kills your team if that’s an off night.
He shot between 50 and 60 percent in 31 of his 81 games, and 50 percent or better in 45 of them. You know what you’re going to get from him every night, which is crucial out of elite role players.
What was his role as a teammate in Indiana, and how did he contribute to team chemistry/comradery?
Bojan is unintentionally goofy and loveable. Nobody ever has a bad thing to say about him. He has many nicknames (babo Barretta, dad bod, Bogey) showcasing his popularity among fans and there’s a hysterical video of Victor Oladipo saying “Bojaaaaaaaan” that I’m sure will become a jazz twitter meme in no time. He only adds to the camaraderie and never takes away from it.
If you had to name one single skill of Bogdanovic’s that will most help the Jazz win a Championship the most,what would it be?
Corner 3 point shooting, and having a package of skills to still score if he gets run off the line in the corners. He’s basically the ideal shooter for a spread PnR and he’s always efficient (see above). That player is crucial for the spacing and scoring of an elite level team.
Shoutout to Tony East for helping us out with this piece. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TEastNBA and read more of his words at Forbes.com.