At Tuesday’s press conference, Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks talked about how much they respected what Bojan Bogdanovic did this summer ... and how, with him saying he’s playing the best basketball of his life, they need steady him for the long haul ahead.
“We recognize what’s he’s done and we respect it tremendously,” Atkinson said. “To be the leader of that team, the coaching staff has great respect for him and I think our players have great respect for him too.”
“He’s chomping at the bit to get out there, but he’s put in some hard yards this summer, so it’ll be bringing him along slowly,” Marks said. “It’s almost that you have to hold him back a little bit because it’s a grind in the season and you’ve already put in your training camp hours.”
Indeed. Between “friendly” --exhibition— games in Europe and South America, the Olympic qualifying tournament in Turin, Italy, and the Olympics themselves in Rio de Janiero, Bogdanovic logged 20 games July through September. During his only time off, he had to make a mad dash from Turkey to Greece after warplanes dropped bombs near his vacation spot.
His numbers have been cited and recited. He was the high scorer in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament at 24.2 points a game, the highest scorer in the Olympic Games in the past 20 years at 25.3, breaking the record for Croatian players (and Nets players) held by Drazen Petrovic. He hit the dagger in overtime to get Croatia into the Olympics.
As he told Cory Wright, the Nets in-house beat writer, at HSS this week...
“It was a great experience for me and all my teammates because none of us had ever been to the Olympics before,” Bogdanovic said. “It was a busy and tough summer for me and my teammates, but it was also a great result in the end.”
How much does it carry over? How much of the late NBA push that included his 44-point outburst vs. Philly plus the Olympics will Nets fans see? Will he be dragging late in the season as he hits 100 games played? The answers to those questions could tell how many games the Nets win.