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Bojan Bogdanovic: Not just a jump shooter

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bojan Bogdanovic knows what his role is: “I’m a shooter.” Of that there is no doubt, but he would like —and the Nets would like— him to be a scorer. And the one big positive out of the Nets trip to L.A. is his ability to move from standalone three-point shooter to a player able to take advantage of his strength, athleticism and BBIQ.

He had 29 points against the Lakers and 18 the night before against the Clippers, raising his season average to 14.9 per game. His three-point shot, which sustained him his first two years in Brooklyn, isn’t been there yet, but the rest of offensive game has been on display. (So has his durability. He leads the Nets in minutes per game at 28.3.)

“I’m still struggling from the 3-point line, but I’m trying to be aggressive to get more to the free throw line, so I’m going more to the basket. I’m just trying to be aggressive,’’ Bogdanovic said. “First of all I’m a shooter. But now I’m struggling a lot, so I’m trying to use my athleticism and mid-range shots.”

His 29 point effort showed just what he can do, as Brian Lewis and Greg Logan write Thursday. As Logan noted...

Against the Clippers, he scored 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting while making only one three-pointer, and against the Lakers, he scored a season-high 29 points on 11-for-18 shooting. Bogdanovic connected on 2 of 5 three-point attempts, but instead of waiting for catch-and-shoot opportunities on the perimeter, the 6-8 swingman repeatedly drove to the basket to score on six layups, one turnaround in the paint and two rim-rattling dunks...

That’s just want the Nets intended last summer when, as Bogdanovic prepared for the Rio Olympics, they sent Kenny Atkinson’s offensive guru, Chris Fleming, to Croatiia to help him with an all-around game. He was there nearly three weeks. It worked for the Croatian national team. He averaged 24.2 in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and led the Olympics with a 25.3 average.

The work continues in Brooklyn, along with some other stuff.

“I am working really hard with assistant coaches on both hands, left and right, finishing,” Bogdanovic said. “I just want to try to find my way to help teammates, and I am struggling from long range. So, that’s maybe the only way with rebounds and my defense to help the team.”

Atkinson, who’s been pushing his players to experiment, get out of their comfort zone, likes what he’s seeing.

“We’ve really emphasized him driving because you can see his size and his athleticism,” Atkinson said. “He had another dunk at the rim. We want more of that, and limit the contested shots and the tough pull-ups. He’s a better driver than I thought, but that’s a message to our team.”

For Bogdanovic, who had a 44-point game vs. Philly last season, he also needs to get that three point shot back in gear.

“I mean, I know I am, let’s say, good shooter. So I hope I will start to knock down those shots.”