Considering all the hype, the excitement, the Paul Pierce comparisons, Bojan Bogdanovic has been an utter disappointment over the last month. After starting the first 19 games of the season with mixed results, including two games of 20+ points, he was replaced by second year player Sergey Karasev on December 10. Since then, he's gone from quasi-sixth man, to a garbage-time replacement, to his first career DNP-CD Friday night against the Orlando Magic.
Lionel Hollins did not mince words when he spoke to the media before Friday night's game. Simply put, Bogdanovic needs to play better if he wants to crack the rotation. Hollins told the beat writers, "It's not what Bogey's done, it's what he's not done. You've got to play and compete, and go out and play well, and Karasev has shown me a lot in practice. We were struggling, I gave him a shot and he played well... It's also a product of Bogey just hitting a wall and just not being aggressive."
Of course, on Hollins teams, you are out of the rotation until you're back in, out of the starting lineup until you're back in. Ask Mason Plumlee.
In December, Bogdanovic played 16 games, starting only four of them, and averaged 5.4 PPG and a limited 17.4 minutes. That kind of production will earn a player a one-way ticket to the bench. Further cementing his role as a bench warmer is the impressive play of Karasev, who doesn't always light up the box score, but plays the game intelligently. The Nets are 8-4 since Karasev replaced Bogdanovic in the starting lineup.
Though his play on the court may suggest otherwise, Bogdanovic is confident he will find his way back into Hollins' rotation, but added he would have to play better in order to do so. In an interview with Sportske Novosti, he said, "When I arrived in the NBA, I thought I wouldn't play much in my rookie season, because it's an unwritten rule for Euro players. I wanted to prove myself and I still think I could do that. I'm sure I'll play more minutes again and prove to anybody how good I am. I personally think I haven't proved it yet."
What's truly eye-opening is Bogdanovic's home vs. road splits. In 16 home games, he has a 48.8% field goal percentage, including 37.9% from deep. The Nets would sign up for those numbers everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Here's a look at his shot chart, courtesy of Vorped.com:
At home, Bogdanovic is scoring efficiently in the paint, as well as from the corners. While he's still struggling to knock down shots from other spots on the court, particularly the wings, Bogdanovic is quite frankly playing really well at home. Now, let's take a look at his shot chart on the road:
That's a whole lot more red and the numbers might make Bogdanovic see red. In 15 road games, he's shooting 29.9% from the field, including 25% from three. That is a drastic drop-off. He's also playing less aggressively on the road, averaging 5.8 shots per game away from Brooklyn as opposed to 7.9 shots per game within the friendly confines of Barclays Center.
It's worth reminding that Bogdanovic has lived in this country since September, and didn't have a permanent place to live until October. It's not easy getting acclimated to living in New York (actually Jersey City), let alone globetrotting around the United States. He may just feel more comfortable in Brooklyn, and his numbers reflect that. Lucky for him, he has a teammate, Mirza Teletovic, who's already done it, to help him along the way. Karasev, on the other hand, spent all last year in Ohio, playing for the Cavs and their D-League team in Canton. In any event, Bogdanovic's home and road numbers are going to have to find a happy medium if he wants to see an increase in minutes.
- Bojan Bogdanovic is riding Lionel Hollins' bench - Roderick Boone - Newsday
- Nets notes: Bojan Bogdanovic's reduced role - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets’ Hollins calls out, benches young Bogdanovic - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets’ Bogdanovic Sees Court Time Dwindle - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal