With the Sacramento Kings having to adjust to life without De’Aaron Fox, they need Bogdan Bogdanovic to play as he did in the FIBA World Cup.
Five games into the season, Bogdan Bogdanovic, much like his team, was struggling. Following an embarrassing 118-111 loss at home to the lowly Charlotte Hornets, the Sacramento Kings were 0-5 and Bogi was struggling to find any semblance of a shot.
Bogi shot 8-30 from three and 7-24 from two and was just an overall negative on both sides of the ball. The start was especially disappointing, considering some Kings fans (including myself) expected him to compete for Sixth Man of the Year.
Bogi Found His Mojo
Since then, the team has gone 4-1 and Bogi might be the biggest reason why. In those five games, the Serbian guard has averaged 17.4 points per game, while shooting a blistering 19-38 from three.
Even before franchise cornerstone De’Aaron Fox suffered a devastating ankle injury, the Kings were going to need this version of Bogi, if they wanted to make the playoffs. But now, with Fox sidelined for at least 3-4 weeks, the team will need his production on a near-nightly basis, if they hope to stay within striking distance in an onerous Western Conference.
Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers was a preview for just how reliant the team will be on Bogi moving forward. In the team’s first game without Fox, Bogi was spectacular, putting up a season-high in both points (25) and assists (10) in a 107-99 win over Portland.
Bogi was a fulcrum for the team’s offense in all facets on Tuesday night. In transition, he led the break with ease either dishing to open teammates or taking matters into his own hands. In the half-court, he operated a lot out of pick-and-roll to find rolling big men or opted to find his own shot.
When on the court last night, Bogi was involved in almost every action the team ran, either in creating the play or finishing the play.
Can Bogi Be The New De’Aaron?
There is no way the Kings can fully replace Fox’s production, as he is the main engine for the Kings’ run-and-gun offensive identity. What the Kings can do, however, is try to approximate some of Fox’s shot creation and playmaking through Bogi.
Luckily for the Kings, Bogi is no stranger to being his team’s lead offensive engine. In fact, he has ample experience in that role as recent as this past summer with his native Serbian team in the FIBA World Cup.
In eight tournament games for Serbia, he averaged 22.9 points per game on 53% from three and 55.6% from the floor along with 4.4 assists en route to making the tournament All-Star team.
On a team with All-Star Nikola Jokic and several other NBA players, it was Bogi who was the team’s best performer and leading scorer. If he continues to play like FIBA Bogi until the return of De’Aaron Fox, the Kings will be able to steal enough victories to avoid being left for dead in the unforgiving west.