All the way back in May, Bojan Bogdanović went through a season ending wrist surgery to repair a ruptured scapholunate ligament in his right wrist. This was the result of an injury he suffered in 2019 that he chose to play through until he began to experience too much discomfort. Between the pause of the 2019-20 season and the crazy NBA bubble in Florida, it is easy to forget the kind of effect that Bogdanović has had on this team. As a reminder, Bojan had a stellar first season with the Jazz, posting a stat line of 20.2 points, 4.1 boards, and 2.1 assists on 44.7/41.1/90.3 percent shooting splits. To put it simply, that’s flat out awesome. As the 31 year old sharpshooter from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, recovers from his wrist injury and enters his 7th season in the NBA, what should we look for? It’s no secret that he’s is going to be key in the Jazz’s success this season, so here are three things we should expect Bojan Bogdanovic to bring back to the Jazz this year:
If there is one thing that Bojan Bogdanovic has proven during his NBA career, it’s that he is one consistent player. Every team in the league needs a player that can give them the same thing night in and night out and for the Jazz, Bojan fills that role. Out of the 63 games he suited up for last season, Bojan scored less than 15 points in only 13 of the games. Furthermore, in those 63 outings, Bojan shot above the league average 34% from 3 point land in 61% of the games. As a point of reference, Donovan Mitchell only shot above league average in 47% of the games he played in last year. That kind of shooting and scoring consistency is really difficult to find in the NBA and the Jazz should expect Bojan to continue to fill that role for them this season.
Another area where Bojan is consistent in is his improvement as a player. Since entering the league in 2014, Bojan has improved his scoring every single year. It is entirely possible that we see another scoring jump this season from Bogdanović, especially since Quin Snyder has been trying to force him to shoot more this year. At the very least, it’s safe to expect Bojan to average similar stats to those of last year and that’s something we should all be happy about.
Finally, Bogdanović is consistent in his ability to stay on the court. Yes, he missed the playoffs last season due to the wrist surgery, but throughout his career, Bogdanović has been an iron man. Prior to last season, Bojan only missed 8 games in his career. 8 games. That is really incredible. Last season, he played with an injured wrist on his shooting hand, all while shooting above 40% from downtown. That kind of grit is really impressive and I expect it to return this year.
2. Offensive Gravity
Something that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet for Bojan Bogdanović is the spacing he creates on offense. Opposing defenses have to stick to Bojan when he is behind the 3 point line or they give someone who shot 50% from downtown on wide-open looks an easy bucket. What this means is that every time Bogdanović is on the court, he takes away a help defender from the defense. This makes the lives of players such as Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles infinitely easier. Every time Don drives down the lane, he doesn’t have to worry about a weak side defender dropping in and contesting his layup. Every time Rudy dives to the basket after a pick and roll, he doesn’t have to worry about a wing defender sliding in and taking a charge. Every time Joe comes off of a screen, he doesn’t have to worry about a help defender clogging up his spacing and stopping him from making a play. Simply having Bogdanović’s elite three point shooting on the court makes defenses sweat and opens the doors for other players on the Jazz to get easy buckets.
But out of all of those, the player that will benefit from his return the most is Rudy Gobert. Last season, Bojan and Rudy averaged 31.3 minutes per game together. That means that they spent almost every single minute on the court at the same time. This is important because when the two of them are playing together, help defenses have to decide to either give up a Rudy dunk or Bojan three every time they get beat. Neither is a great option for them. During the bubble, we saw Rudy sometimes struggle to get an open shot under the basket and that is in part due to the fact that defenses no longer had to make that difficult choice with Bojan out. Expect to see Rudy’s life get lot easier again this season.
3. Fun Basketball
Yes, “fun basketball” is completely subjective. And yes, I can’t really back up this argument with very many statistics. However, Jazz fans shouldn’t take the opportunity to watch a silky shooter like Bojan Bogdanović for granted. He has some of the cleanest shooting mechanics in the league and is a textbook example of how a jump-shot should look like. If the early part of the season is any indicator, the Jazz are going to be shooting a lot of threes this year. This is going to lead to some really exciting tradition baskets, shooting outbursts, and dominating runs. Expect Bojan to be a beneficiary of that. He can put the smoothest 20 points in a blink of an eye and he's going to be the guy the Jazz look toward being their second leading scorer again this year. This could be the most dominant offensive team the Jazz have had in the last decade (maybe ever?) and Bojan Bogdanović is a large part of that.