Bojan Bogdanovic Has Been Exactly What the Washington Wizards Needed
Despite a slow start to the season, the Washington Wizards have turned things around and are now jockeying for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.
While Bojan Bogdanovic wasn't the first player to come up in conversation when discussing the Brooklyn Nets' available trade assets, he's ended up being a crucial piece to a potentially deep and fruitful playoff run after joining the organization on February 22nd.
The Wizards picked up their play substantially following a dismal 2-8 start, but the depth of their bench -- or lack thereof -- was a legitimate concern. Before acquiring Bogdanovic, no unit was on the floor more often than Washington's starting five. While they've moved down on this list since the trade, they're still second.
This unit led the league in points per game before Bogdanovic's arrival simply because they played so much -- Kelly Oubre was the only Wizard coming off the bench, averaging more than 20 minutes per night. Make no mistake about it, head coach Scott Brooks' short rotation worked, but there was still a big concern that needed to be addressed: What happens if one of the starters misses a significant chunk of time?
The 6'8" Croatian forward has been lights out since joining the Wiz -- he's averaging 15.3 points of 47.7% shooting after being acquired. But interestingly enough, his shot attempts have actually declined.
With the Nets, he attempted 11.1 field goals per game, but that's dropped to just 9.9 with Washington.
So, he's been more efficient with his opportunity, which includes beyond the arc -- he's connecting on 42.9% of three-pointers and attempting 5.1 per game.
Shooters impact today's game of basketball like never before. Just having the threat of an elite shooter set up on the wing, ready to fire as soon as they get the ball can contort even the league's best defenses.
John Wall -- one of the NBA's best point guards -- already had Bradley Beal (23.1 points per game, 40.5% from three) and Otto Porter (44.5% from three, second in league) to stretch the floor, but adding Bogdanovic adds another layer.
He's a big-time shooter that now gives Wall three different guys to pass the ball to who are successful from three-point land at least 40% of the time.
Beal and Porter are shooting 41.9% and 43.6% on passes from Wall, respectively, while Bogdanovic is making 40.9% of threes in the same situation. It's a small sample size for the Croatian, of course, but it's something that should continue moving forward.
Can it Last?
Washington will be relying heavily on the shooting of Bogdanovic once the playoffs start. Not only does it relieve some of the pressure from the overworked starting unit, it also spaces the floor for Wall and Beal to drive the lane. It all depends on how they continue to work together, though -- Bogdanovic has only been with the Wiz for 15 games.
However, if his shooting percentages remain constant, Washington could have the ability to make things real interesting over the next couple months.