Bogdan Bogdanovic was the highlight of last offseason’s free-agent class, signing a four-year, $72 million contract. However, until the last couple of weeks, most Hawks fans were probably wondering why Travis Schlenk ever stroked him that check. Bogi missed 25 games with an injury, and even when he returned, he was a shell of himself.
With help from Nate McMillan, who is installing more designated plays to get more players involved, Bogdanovic has seen his usage increase as McMillan has been deploying him the way Sacramento would: a secondary initiator that can provide an offense with much more than just a spot-up shooter — the way Lloyd Pierce was using him.
Three days ago against New Orleans, Bogi put up 26 points on 9/17 field goals, 2/5 from beyond the arc, and 2/3 at the line. The fact that he wasn’t being used as an initiator earlier in the season is a miscue on the coaching staff, as he added seven assists to go along with seven rebounds, one steal, and one block in 32 minutes during Friday’s 126-103 win over the short-handed Pelicans.
But it wasn’t just against the Pelicans; over his past four games, Bogi is averaging 21.3 points, 5.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 three-pointers, and 2.0 steals — starting the last six games. In those six games, he’s averaging 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.8 steals on 50.7% from the field, 54.5% from three (6.6 attempts per game), and 83.3% at the line.
On Atlanta’s eight-game road trip, he shot 24-51 (47%) from three and 52.4% from the floor. If Bogi can continue to find his groove, this team will be a tough draw in the playoffs. Schlenk envisioned the Hawks to be a deep team with scoring potential in every facet of the game.
Trae Young, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic can give the Hawks 25 on any night while attacking defenses differently. As this team meshes, the more and more dangerous they are in the East.
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