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Sacramento’s Sixth Man: Bogdan Bogdanovic

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

After an impressive rookie campaign, Bogi’s shooting regressed in 2018-19. What can we expect from the third-year guard next season?

When dissecting the moves of General Manager Vlade Divac, one trade stands out above the rest: acquiring Bogdan Bogdanovic

During the 2016 NBA Draft, Divac traded eighth-overall pick Marquese Chriss for thirteenth-overall pick Georgios Papagiannis, 28th-overall pick Skal Labissiere and the rights to Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic, who had yet to come over from Europe, was a footnote in the deal to many. In several cases, overseas prospects never come to the NBA. Divac, a Serbian himself, was confident in Bogdanovic coming to the United States for the 2017-18 season.

Divac was in attendance for the 2016 Olympics to watch the newly-acquired Bogdanovic and Serbia win the Silver Medal (Photo credit ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Kings fans got their first look at Bogdanovic in the 2016 Olympics, watching Serbia win the Silver Medal after falling to the powerhouse United States squad in the Gold Medal game.

Bogdanovic held his own against the best in the world, averaging 12.3 points per game during the Olympics — with Vlade Divac in attendance to witness his newest prospect and fellow countryman vie for a Gold Medal. After the Olympics, Bogdanovic returned to his Turkish club Fenerbache for the 2016-17 season. It was a big year for Bogi, who would lead his club to its first ever EuroLeague championship and second straight Turkish League Super Finals win — claiming Turkish Finals MVP award to top it off.

NBA Ready

Sacramento signed Bogdanovic to a three-year deal worth 27 million dollars on July 13, 2017.

In his first year of NBA action, Bogdanovic proved he could play amongst the best players in the world as he averaged 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Shooting 44-percent from the field and 39-percent from the three-point line, Bogdanovic was knocking down shots at a highly effective clip.

Along with teammates De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, the rookie guard was selected to participate in the 2018 Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend. Bogdanovic would put on a show, winning the Rising Stars MVP award after hitting seven three-pointers and scoring 26 points to lead Team World over Team USA.

After a solid rookie season, Bogi was selected to the Second Team All-Rookie squad as the cherry on top to his introduction to the NBA.

Sophomore Slump?

Playing the game of basketball nonstop for a year will take a toll on the human body, and that’s exactly what happened to Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic had a procedure to repair the meniscus in his left knee in April of 2018, a surgery that would sideline him for the first month of the 2018-19 regular season. After missing ten games of action, Sacramento cleared their sophomore guard to return to the court.

Off to a 6-4 start, Sacramento was off to their best start in over five years. Teammate Buddy Hield was off to an incredible start, pushing Bogdanovic into a new role: Sixth Man. Bogi thrived in his new role, averaging 15.4 points per game on 38-percent shooting from three over his first month of action.

In December, Bogdanovic delivered a buzzer-beater that will live on in Kings history for years to come.

After trailing the rival Los Angeles Lakers by 13 points with just over three minutes remaining, Sacramento rallied their way back to a two-point deficit with 4.3 seconds remaining. Bogdanovic drilled a step-back three over Lakers center Tyson Chandler to send Golden 1 Center into absolute pandemonium.

While the signature buzzer-beater moment followed the second-year guard for the duration of the season, Bogdanovic struggled to find his shot in year two.

Following the shot against the Lakers, Bogdanovic shot 41-percent from the field and a lackluster 28-percent from deep. No longer in the starting lineup, Bogi was attempting more shots per game in the second unit. After attempting 9.9 shots per game in 2018-19, Bogdanovic attempted 12.3 shots per game in his second season. This spike in shot attempts is largely due to the fact that in the Kings second unit, Bogi was the primary scoring threat.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

In his second year of NBA action, Bogdanovic finished with season averaging 14.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Shooting 41-percent from the field and 36-percent from three, Bogi regressed in year two. This dip in production is party due to forcing more shot attempts, as the only other scoring option in the second unit for Sacramento was rookie forward Marvin Bagley III.

Bogdanovic forced more shots in 2018-19, something that will have to change in his upcoming third season.

New Look Bench

Cory Joseph, Trevor Ariza and Richaun Holmes will join the Sacramento second unit in 2019-20.

For Bogdan Bogdanovic, these additions will likely take pressure of forcing shots off of the Serbian guard. Joseph is a known distributor, and will handle the ball a majority of the time when Bogdanovic is on the floor. Last season, 79.1 percent of Bogdanovic’s made three-point field goals were assisted.

Bogdan Bogdanovic thrives off of the ball. With this new-look bench, expect the 28 year-old to get more spot up opportunities. The acquisitions of Joseph and Ariza paired with Hary Giles III down low will space the floor for the Sacramento second unit. This should allow Bogi to move without the ball, run off of screens from Giles and Holmes to get spot-up opportunities.

The Kings are hoping for a big season in 2019-20, and the play of the second unit will be crucial to the team’s success. Good NBA teams need to have a solid bench with little to no drop-off from the starting five.

It starts with the sixth man.