Serbian Bug Hits the NBA: What to Expect from Bogdan Bogdanovic and Milos Teodosic?

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As Nikola Jokic frenzy reaches its highest heights, a few of his fellow countrymen from Serbia are on their way to join him in the NBA and show what they're made of.

There's no shortage of interest in how well Milos Teodosic's game will translate to the NBA and, of course, fantasy basketball. Furthermore, Bogdan Bogdanovic is turning some heads with Sacramento. The Kings are set to push the reset button which has us wondering just how big of a role will he play in that scenario.

This offseason has been one of the busiest and most exciting in recent years, and these two "rookies" just ad to the mystery of what this new NBA will look like this year. Being from Serbia myself, I have been following careers of these two players for some time now and I will try to provide useful insight of what we can expect from them in NBA this season and in the future.

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This is Bogdan's KINGdom come

Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic have long since retired, but they now make a very exciting front office of the Sacramento Kings that has brought one of the most intriguing rookies over to the NBA in Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Bogdan is not your typical rookie. He has a lot of Euroleague experience and was one of the leaders of his team Fenerbahce in their road to the Euroleague title last season. He is a pretty decent clutch guy as he has been put in such situations by his former coach Dule Vujosevic quite often back when he played for Partizan Belgrade. Just as a reminder, Partizan is the team that gave us Vlade Divac, Predrag Danilovic, Predrag Drobnjak, Nenad Krstic, Nikola Pekovic, Jan Vesely and Joffrey Lauvergne, among other basketball greats that never tried their luck in the NBA. That is a rich pedigree. Bogdanovic continued that clutch trend in his next club Fenerbahce, and on the Serbian national team that won Silver at the 2016 Olympics after losing by just 3 points to the heavily favored Americans.

Bogdan is a 6'6" shooting guard who can fill in as a small forward as well. He shoots the ball quite well and can create his own shot. He has improved a lot in his last Euroleague season as he averaged 14.6 PTS with just over 2 threes per game. He shot 43.0% on 107 three-point attempts and 56.9% on his 109 two-pointers while hitting 85.5% of his free throws. Those are all career highs so I doubt that is sustainable in the NBA, but a version of this should mark him as a highly efficient three-point threat in his rookie year. He also managed 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks and 2.4 turnovers in just under 28 minutes per game. So he is a really well-rounded player who has the potential to be a leader on offense and contribute a bit on the defensive end as well.

He just turned 25, so his experience should come in handy through his adaptation to the NBA in his rookie season. Even though the Kings do have a decent young backcourt in  De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Justin Jackson, with George Hill and Vince Carter providing sage advice in games and training, I still expect Bogdanovic to get between 25 and 30 minutes a game by the end of the season. He is a favorite of Vlade Divac and deservedly so, so that can play to his advantage and allow him to have more freedom and find his place with the Kings.

Bogdan is currently with the Serbian national team at Eurobasket and he is the absolute leader of this team with Nikola Jokic, Milos Teodosic, Nemanja Bjelica and several other star players from missing the tournament. In the first four games he has accumulated averages of 21.0 PTS with 2.8 3PM on averages of 45.9 FG% and 77.3 FT%, 4.3 REB, 4.3 AST, 2.0 STL, 0.3 BLK and just 1.5 TO in 32 minutes per game. He's hit some clutch threes, and once again proved himself a hero by stringing together 10 points in a row in the fourth quarter in a close contest against Turkey. Keep in mind though that he will probably play less minutes in the NBA, but will not be as closely guarded since there will be plenty of offensive threats besides him on the Kings roster. That should come equal to a few less counting stats and more decent percentages from the "God Given" (that is what his name means in Serbian).

Points in the low teens with a few threes and decent percentages, along with a sprinkle of this and that will give his owners a smile on their faces. Especially if they're willing to forgive a few turnovers while he gets accustomed to his new team and league. And if he continues his improvement from last season, he might just play an even bigger role for Sacramento going forward. I would definitely be willing to spend a lower round draft pick on him, especially in dynasty leagues. And even though Bogdan is my fellow countryman and one of my favorite players of all time, so I'm definitely biased, you should be looking to spend such a pick on him too.

 

Can the "Passing Wizard" pass his NBA test?

You don't see a lot of players with as much talent and feel for passing as Milos Teodosic. He has been delighting basketball crowds across Europe with his insane dimes for over a decade now. He has finally decided it's time for the next step. And it's a big one. The biggest one to be exact. It's the NBA, where he's trying to help fill the shoes of the NBA's most famous passing wizard, Chris Paul.

It will be hard for Teodosic to guard other point guards in the NBA as he is not the greatest of athletes or defenders. He'll contribute barely anything as far as defensive stats in fantasy. He has averaged over 1 steal per game just once in his Euroleague career. And even though he is a 6'5" point guard, he is not a shot blocker. He has blocked a total of 11 shots in his 10 Euroleague seasons.

On the other hand, with his size and a whole lot of international experience, he will be able to use that to his advantage in making the transition comfortable on offense. In addition to his tremendous passing ability, his shooting is a relevant factor in his game. He is a career 37.6% three-point shooter with his career best 42.8% coming just two seasons ago. Add to that his ability to run the pick and roll with the best of them, and partners like DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin to execute on his dishes or create space for his shot, and there's no reason for him not to be a great asset for those owners in need of threes and assists with decent percentages.

If we take a look at his Euroleague stats from last season we can see a bit more clearly what should we expect from my namesake this season in a new environment. He had 16.1 PTS with 2.7 3PM on 44.4 FG% and 89.7 FT% along with 2.1 REB, 6.8 AST, 0.6 STL and 3.0 TO in 28 minutes a game. It should be underlined here that he took almost twice as many 3-pointers than 2-point shots, which is a  treat for fantasy owners and justifies his 44.4 FG%.

Now I seriously doubt that he will get 28 minutes a game, at least not out of the gate, but with Patrick Beverly having such bad luck with injuries, Teodosic might just be the one left to fill most of the void left by Chris Paul's departure. In a realistic 25 minutes a game, I expect Teo to hit around 2 threes, score 10-15 points and dish out 5-7 assists with a rebound or two and a steal every other game. For someone who takes so many threes, he will be positive influence on your FG%, but how much will depend on his usage and on whether Doc Rivers has him penetrating or roaming around the perimeter. He is, as mentioned before, a non-factor in blocks, and he will probably have over 2 TO per game, as his crazy vision demands a mistake here or there.

For a guy who will most probably be there near the end of your draft, Teo is definitely worth a look. He will surely dazzle you with his assists and contribute significantly to your perimeter shooting without ruining your percentages. But I don't see him helping out too much in any other categories, barring some significant changes to the Clippers roster which would give him a larger chunk of playing time. If you draft him you will own one of the most exciting players in the world. You will love following the highlight reel day-in, day-out.

"Duuuude, did you see what Teo did last night!?"

"Of course I did, he is on my fantasy team."

 

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