Bojan Bogdanovic gave up the league lead in three-point percentage to Rudy Gay when Bogey went 1-of-4 from three-point range against the Bulls Tuesday, but Bogey still remains a 50.5 percent three-point shooter on the season.
More importantly, that consistent outside shooting has powered the Pacers to a 4-4 record without Victor Oladipo, 5-4 if you count the Hawks game where Vic left early in the first quarter.
And in those nine games? Bogdanovic has emerged as a genuine high-quality replacement scoring option.
Just consider the raw counting stats: 18.8 points per game, including five 20-point or better games and no games below 14 points scored.
He’s shooting 61-of-111 (55 percent) from the field, 19-of-36 (52.7 percent) from three, and the only real weakness has been his plus/minus, which stands at minus-8 in the past nine games.
Put it together and it’s easy to see why Bogey, at 15.9 points per game for the entire season, is the team’s second leading scorer.
And oh by the way, he’s also the team’s second-best free throw shooter among guys who have taken at least one per overall team game (Doug McDermott‘s shooting 85.2 percent at 23-of-27; Bogdanovic, at 61-of-77, is at 79.2 percent.)
If we look at the arc of Bogey’s career, there’s nothing to prepare us for this takeover of the wing star spot (sure, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are the real straws who stir the drink here, but Bogey’s emerging as one of the best wing role players in the entire league.)
He shot over 40 percent from three for the first time in his career (at 40.2) last year, but 40.2 and 50.5 are a mile apart from each other; he’s a career 38.7 percent shooter from long range.
His 15.9 a game is a career-high, and that 18.8 without Oladipo is a giant leap from the 14.3 he scored last year.
His eFG% (.632) and True Shooting (.664) are not just career highs by miles, they’re each good for eighth in the entire league.
In other words, Bogdanovic is an honest-to-gods star at what he does.
You may be saying to yourself something like “counting stats? Big whoop, what about the advanced stats?”
I’m glad you asked. While advanced stats for a nine-game sample border on completely useless, we can look at the bigger sample of 24 games this season and draw some conclusions.
His PER (15.3) is above league average for the first time in his career. His Win Shares per 48 (.134), Box Plus/Minus (0.2), and per-82-games VORP (1.4) are all career highs as well.
And sure, you can look at those numbers and say to yourself that he’s mediocre as an overall complete package.
And you’d be right.
But look at Klay Thompson. The Warriors’ “upgrade button” is basically a dollar store knockoff Bogdanovic this year, and the Big 5 Advanced prove it:
Thompson’s posting a .549 True Shooting, 15.6 PER, .048 WS/48, -3.9 BPM, and -1.3 VORP/82. His best year in True Shooting was just .598 (he’s had four straight years before this year where he was over .590 but under .600), and even though he shoots lots of threes, Thompson’s eFG% has never topped .585.
Now I’m not saying Bojan Bogdanovic is better than Klay Thompson. But in this specific circumstance on this specific team, he’s at least doing enough that you can pick an awful lot of cherries off the tree.
The Pacers have the best player you’ve never heard of on their roster. He’s the goofy-looking white dude with the dad bod standing in the corner hitting three-pointers.