Bogdanovic Among NBA’s Best Free-Agent Signings

Nov 10, 2019, 6:05 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2019, 7:57 pm
Bojan Bogdanovic - Jazz - Pelicans...
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) goes for a rebound against New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Oct 11, 2019. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When the Utah Jazz signed Bojan Bogdanovic this summer, did anyone know how good the 6th year forward would be?

Through eight games with the Jazz, Bogdanovic is averaging 21.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and two assists. Early in the season, he’s hovering around the elusive 50-40-90 club — an NBA benchmark where players shoot better than 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from the three point line, and 90 percent from the free throw line. 

Currently, Bogdanovic is shooting 49.2 percent, 45.5 percent, and 93.5 percent. 

Friday night, the Croatian added his game high 33rd point on a buzzer-beating three to sink the Milwaukee Bucks. 

In an NBA summer that saw All-Stars and All-NBA players switch teams like a game of musical chairs, the Jazz addition of Bogdanovic flew under the radar. Even among the Jazz summer transactions, the Bogdanovic addition wasn’t as widely discussed as Mike Conley, who the Jazz traded for to begin their roster reconstruction. 

How Good Has He Been?

Bogdanovic has the third highest scoring average of any player that chose to sign with a new team this summer. The forward trails only Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard in that category. 

He’s the seventh highest scorer of any player to change teams this summer, despite being the second lowest paid player on the list by more than $10 million. 

Kemba Walker: $34,379,100

Kawhi Leonard: $32,742,000

Kyrie Irving: $31,742,000

D’Angelo Russell: $27,285,000

Anthony Davis: $27,093,019

Bojan Bogdanovic: $17,000,000

Brandon Ingram: $7,265,485

This season, Bogdanovic is outscoring eight of the 20 All-Stars that appeared in last year’s game, and is doing so at a shockingly efficient rate. 

Only Devin Booker (Phoenix), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota) have a higher scoring average than Bogdanovic, and score at a more efficient clip. 

Additionally, Bogdanovic might be the league’s best three point shooter. No player in the NBA averages more three point attempts (6.9) and makes them at a better rate than Bogdanovic’s .455 percentage. 

Best Free-Agent Signing Ever?

While Bogdanovic is off to a better-than-expected start with the Jazz, he’s got a ways to go before he can be considered the best free-agent in Jazz history.

The Jazz have traditionally struggled to attract high level free-agents. Only three players have signed with the Jazz, and gone on to make an All-Star appearance in a Jazz uniform. 

Rickey Green signed with the Jazz in 1980, and made the All-Star team in 1984. Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur both signed with the Jazz in 2004, and made the 2007 All-Star game. Boozer repeated his performance by making the 2008 All-Star team, then won a gold medal in with Team USA later that summer. 

Through eight games, Boozer’s 22.1 points per game edged Bogdanovic by .03 to start his Jazz career. 

Boozer also led the Jazz, alongside Okur and Deron Williams to the 2007 Western Conference Finals.

Can He Keep It Up?

The Jazz forward is off to a hot start, not just by NBA standards, but also compared to his career averages. 

Currently, Bogdanovic is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, steals and blocks, and he’s tied for a career high in assists per game.  He’s also got career highs shooting from the three point and the free-throw line. 

Eight games is a small sample size to project Bogdanovic’s future, but maintaining those numbers appears somewhat promising. Of Bogdanovic’s averages, only his block numbers are at an unusually high rate compared to previous career highs.

The key reasons Bogdanovic has seen his numbers climb are the increase in minutes per game, where he’s averaging a career high 32.5, and the quality of shots he’s getting. 

Last season, 33.9 percent of Bogdanovic’s shots were considered open three pointers. This season, that number has increased sharply to 38.6 percent. 

While maintaining his scoring averages will be difficult as teams continue to scout for for the Jazz as the season progresses, continuing to find open looks will be key to his success. Bogdanovic is shooting 47 percent on open threes this year, up from 43 percent a year ago. 

When Bogdanovic signed with the Jazz, he was viewed as a complimentary scorer to spread the floor for Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley. Through the first eight games of the season, Bogdanovic has proven to be more than just a complimentary piece. As the Jazz second leading scorer, and the league’s 20th leading scorer, Bogdanovic may soon be a piece the Jazz look to continue build around, rather a supporting the longer tenured players on the team’s roster.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Ben Anderson

Jazz Have Lost Six Of Eight After Falling To Warriors

The Utah Jazz dropped their sixth game in their last eight outings after falling to the Golden State Warriors 129-118.
2 days ago
Ben Anderson

Jazz Losing Streak Hits Three With Loss To Golden State

The Utah Jazz fell to the Golden State Warriors on the road 129-118 to extend their losing streak to three games. 
2 days ago
Ben Anderson

Kelly Olynyk Scores 13 In Third Quarter To Erase Warriors Lead

Kelly Olynyk scored 13 third quarter points as the Utah Jazz erased a 17-point Golden State Warriors lead. 
2 days ago
Ben Anderson

Walker Kessler Tells Draymond Green No At The Rim

Utah Jazz rookie Walker Kessler gave Draymond Green a firsthand look at his shot-blocking expertise on Friday night. 
2 days ago
Ben Anderson

Markkanen, Beasley Shine In Jazz Week Five Grades

The Jazz are through week five of the NBA season so it's time for another check-up on the four factors of a successful season.
2 days ago
Jordan Clarkson - Utah Jazz - Golden State Warriors...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Travel To Golden State To Face Curry, Warriors

The Utah Jazz will travel to face the Golden State Warriors on Friday night in a post-Thanksgiving day matchup. 
2 days ago
Bogdanovic Among NBA’s Best Free-Agent Signings