How it all started for Bogdan Bogdanovic

Bogdan Bogdanovic or “Bogi” as he has come to be known by Kings fans is not your typical rookie. In terms of his professional basketball experience (25 years old), the sharpshooter out of Serbia is light years ahead of his fellow NBA rookies.

Unlike NBA age rules, Bogdanovic signed his first pro contract at 18 years of age with Partizan Belgrade in Serbia seeing very little time in his first two years as a professional.

At the age of 20, Bogdanovic finally broke into Partizan’s rotation finishing the season with five points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

30.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in the 2013-2014 Turkish League final series was nothing short of impressive by the Serbian guard who received his first League Final MVP for his performances.

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Following the 2013-14 Euroleague season, Bogdanovic transferred to Fenerbahce in Turkey, playing a significant role in the team’s success leading Fenerbahce Istanbul to a 4th place finish in the Turkish League playoffs.

Bogdanovic finished the year with 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, resulting in Bogdanovic getting selected 27th overall in the 2014 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns.

Bogdanovic had finally found some stability under head coach Zelijko Obradovic and Fenerbahce going into year two finishing the 2015-16 season with a Turkish League Championship and heartbreaking second place finish in the Euroleague Championship final to rival CSKA Moscow, 101-96.

Bogdanović was beginning to create quite a name for himself, at only 23 years of age, he finally found a consistent stroke from beyond the arc, persistent defense against the Euroleague’s best talent, and his commitment to bring a championship to Fenerbahce before heading to the National Basketball Association.

In the middle of all his success, Bogdanovic’s NBA draft rights were traded to the Sacramento Kings from the Phoenix Suns during the 2016 NBA draft.

As the Kings awaited Bogdanovic’s much anticipated arrival to the states, Bogi went on to play his final year with Fenerbahce looking to finish the year as a champion.

He went on to do just that, as Fenerbahce finished the 2016-17 season as Turkish league champions defeating Olympiacos, 80-64. Bogdanović finished the year with 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game in 22 Euroleague games.

Again, this is not your ordinary rookie entering the NBA. With a plethora of knowledge and experience under his belt, Bogdanovic was finally ready to make the leap, playing with the world’s most elite athletes.

The Kings as we know hit the reset button after trading away their prized big man in DeMarcus Cousins, and in doing so, it created the youth movement here in Sacramento.

Bogdanović couldn’t come soon enough as the 2016-17 season post-Cousins saw many lows including 102.4 points per game (22nd in the league), 110.2 OPP points per game (26th in the league), and 41.3 rebounds per game (26th in the league) in 25 games.

David Pick, international basketball reporter had lots of praise for Bogdanović when he was ready to make the leap.

“This guy is a flat out, cold-blooded assassin…has won three or four buzzer beating games for Fenerbahce…which is the top level outside the NBA. I mean this kid isn’t scared and definitely does not shy away from the moment,” Pick said.

With a 6-foot-11 wingspan and limitless range to shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, Bogdanović has the potential to be that 3-and-D starter the Kings have so desperately needed.

Peja Stojakovic, former King All-Star and current Kings’ Director of Player Development had this to say:

“It’s very important for European players to come to the right place, at the right time…you want to come to a place that offers support, because it is such a big adjustment, from the culture to the game,” when asked about Bogdanović’s transition to the NBA.

Stojakovic followed up by saying, “When you go where people want you, you can just feel it. It gives you energy and confidence…the younger you come over here the better because you have to do extra things every day to prove that you can play at any level.”

Enter the 2017-18 NBA season and Bogdanovic finally arrived in Sacramento for training camp after agreeing to a 3-year, $27 million deal locking him up as a part of the Kings’ long term plan.

Due to an ankle injury in the preseason, Bogdanović missed the first three games of the regular season but finally made his NBA debut against the Phoenix Suns finishing with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals on the night.

Through nine games with the Sacramento Kings, he is averaging 9.9 points, 1.6 assists, and 2.4 rebounds in only 23.6 minutes of action.

He is only going to continue to get better and develop a rapport with his new Kings teammates as each game passes.

In the short sample size of seeing Bogdanovic play for the Sacramento Kings, whether it was starting or coming off the bench, you immediately noticed how well he positions himself without the ball reading defenders and anticipating situations before they even happen.

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The quick release of his shots, mind-blowing passes, his ability to poke the ball from defender’s hands, and his on-court coaching of younger players is something that is very impressive.

De’Aaron Fox also had praise when asked about Bogdanovic and his ability to be a difference-maker on the floor.

“He just talks like he’s a vet. He hasn’t been in the NBA but he’s been a pro for so long so he knows exactly what he’s doing,” Fox said. “He’s kind of like my vet on the court.”

It has only been 12 games into the NBA season, but it feels as if Bogdanovic is already making his presence felt on this young Kings team.

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Cameron York
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