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Hawks assistant Neven Spahija: Bojan Bogdanovic will benefit from working with Kenny Atkinson

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Neven Spahija, who both coached Bojan Bogdanovic in Europe and worked with Kenny Atkinson as an Atlanta Hawks assistant coach, told a Croatian TV audience last week that Nets swingman will benefit from working with his new coach.

"The only thing Bojan would have to do in future is to be more consistent," said Spahija who coached Bogdanovic four years ago in Turkey and has been a Hawks assistant for two years. "But as for his talents and his abilities, there is no doubt he deserves to be in NBA. Now he has new coach in Brooklyn. Kenny Atkinson, who comes from Atlanta. He’s great tactician, a hard worker, and I think Bojan will benefit by working with him".

Spahija coached Bogdanovic during his first year in Turkey and is familiar with Bogdanovic from his time as Croatian national team coach. He's also familiar with the Nets. As a young man, he was one of Drazen Petrovic's best friends. So when he was guest last week on a local TV station in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, one of the first questions was about Bogdanovic’s development in Brooklyn.

Atkinson mentioned Bogdanovic the day of his press conference. Asked by Sarah Kustok about overseas players, he responded, "I look at a guy like Bogdanovic, like his skill level for his size. Normally they're skilled players who can shoot -- the players who make it from overseas to here -- and those are two huge characteristics in today's NBA. gotta be able to shoot the ball and skill is of the utmost importance."

Spahija, told Vecernji List last month that he thinks Sean Marks wants to keep the 27-year-old.

"For a man who's able to score 44 points, the future is not in question, but he must be more consistent," said Spahija back then. "Bojan is one of the few players that new general manager Sean Marks wants to keep on the Nets."

Spahija also spoke about Dragan Bender, the Croatian seven-footer who is likely a high lottery pick and is compared with Kristaps Porzingis.

"Dragan Bender is an enigma for all American scouts," said Spahija. "He has enormous potential, but also he played very little minutes in last season. Bender’s upsides are pretty big, and therefore I believe he will be picked between third and fifth spot."

Here's the full interview in Croatian.