I’m aware of the fact that global consumers of modern NBA culture are mostly unaware of Mostar as a city. I mean – basketball city. But, than, eons after the appearance of Dražen Dalipagić, one of the greatest and most exciting basketball players ever, Mostar has its representative at the most prestigious stage, one that even legendary Praja could not sniff in his prime and our actual hero, Bojan Bogdanović, nicknamed Babo, according to Balkan rules, is living some kind of a dream with his Jazz orchestra. They’re playin’ funky stuff lately and Bojan sounds really cool while performing very hot tones in his first jazzy season.
Well – he was always cool folks! Easy to remember and nice to recollect. Already as a teenager dressed in Real Madrid uniform, or jammin’ under Željko Obradović just prior to his NBA adventure, than even droppin’ 30 on King Lebron as a Pacer couple of playoffs ago. Cool and rather coldblooded for a Croat from Herzegovina. Personally, I remember Bojan from decade ago with Cibona Zagreb and THE stroke, his sick shooting stroke that was already in the house. Balls and guts too… What separated Bojan Bogdanović from the crowd of similarly talented over last ten years is his perseverance – he just don’t give up. Never. Basketball brilliant that shines brightest in his thirties.
Everything is about the opportunity in America. So, Bojan’s too. Leading scorer from Rio Olympics (25.3 ppg) improved his pedigree with increased volume. Just take more shots, man, and you’re star. He’s got it. It’s been long time comin’, but he’s got it. That’s how it goes for scorers and Babo is the elite one. Now it’s official. See how number of field goal attempts relate with his scoring average progression through the years and you’ll wish him take 20 every night:
Season FGA PPG
2014-15 7.4 9.0
2015-16 9.5 11.2
2016-17 10.4 13.7
2017-18 10.7 14.3
2018-19 13.0 18.0
2019-20 15.2 21.0
If I add a note or two about his three point habits, than we put Bojan into the same sentence with ex-Yu kings of the long range shots, we’re discussing truly legendary shooting season. His 7.4 attempts for three per game is much more than his previous season-best of 4.8 tries and his clip of 42.3% is one of the finest in the NBA for fellas that average over 7 three-point attempts per night, his eFG (56%) and TS stats (61%) are stunning. Babo simply caught up with company of Stojaković and Petrović and these are some names in artistry of stroke.
Not a first, nor even a second most valuable option on his Utah squad, Bogdanović is team’s premier sniper, their most consistent player, one that’s performing at the All-Star level for a full year, since Oladipo went down last year with Pacers. In his six NBA years, Babo missed a total of only 12 games what tells us that he averages 80 outings per season plus playoffs which is outstanding in today’s world of load management. And this season is obviously different than all previous, because he connects not only from three point line, Bojan does it on a spiritual level with Quin Snyder and his crew. Nice to see, especially from multicultural standpoint.
It is nearly impossible task to surprise us, hardcore fans of pure basketball, born and raised on basketball legacy of former Yugoslavia, so story of Bojan Bogdanović is in the normal ones. At least in our tribe. His substance is recognized. Rightfully so! But it’s funny how league transforms and absorbs more and more international elements and Bojan is one of the finest ingredients in that soup – white shooter with guts and perseverance that makes superior athletes, but without shooting touch, obsolete in modern game. We’ll see many versions of Bojan in the future.
Some years of our lives are special. For Bogdanović, this one is career defining. He’s in the zone, his strokes (finally) looks effortless. Just as the old saying from Mostar goes – Babo is very hot and even when he’s not, he’ll bury many more from the parking lot…