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Milwaukee Bucks

Three ways Bogdan Bogdanovic raises the ceiling of the Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks have made two big moves heading into the 2020-21 season.

First, the Bucks have reportedly agreed to trade Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three future first-round picks and two pick swaps to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday.

Secondly, the Bucks have reportedly agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic.

A restricted free agent, Bogdanovic was set to be one of the best free agents available this offseason. It was a weird season for the Sacramento Kings but he still put together his best season yet in 2019-20, posting averages of 15.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game on .440/.372/.741 shooting splits. The addition of him and Holiday has the potential to give the boost the Bucks need to get over the hump in the playoffs.

I've already written about how Holiday fits with the Bucks. Now, let's look at what Bogdanovic brings to the table.

You can never have too much shooting

Going from Bledsoe to Holiday is a clear upgrade. However, to get Holiday, the Bucks also had to part ways with Hill, who led the league in 3-point shooting percentage last season and earned some votes for Sixth Man of the Year.

In adding Bogdanovic, it takes some of the sting out of losing Hill's shooting.

According to NBA.com, Bogdanovic made 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts last season, putting him on the same page as the likes of Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, Davis Bertans and Kemba Walker. He made them at a similar clip as a rookie and a sophomore, converting 39.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s in 2017-18 and 40.0 percent in 2018-19.

Bogdanovic isn't much of a 3-point shooter off the dribble, but he's a proven spot-up shooter who should thrive in Mike Budenholzer's system.

Bogdanovic is also capable of scoring on the move. According to NBA.com, he averaged 1.7 points per game off of screens last season, which was more than anyone on the Bucks.

Bogdanovic was incredibly efficient, ranking in the 73rd percentile with an average of 1.07 points per possession off of screens.

Every team in the league is looking for 3-point shooting these days, but it's doubly important for the Bucks, who are built around the most dominant paint scorer in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo. With Bogdanovic, Holiday and Khris Middleton now surrounding him, it will be much harder for teams to pack the paint against Antetokounmpo in the playoffs.

Diversifying the offence

In addition to being a knockdown shooter, Bogdanovic improved as a scorer out of the pick-and-roll last season.

According to NBA.com, Bogdanovic generated just under a quarter (24.8 percent) of his offence as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls and ranked in the 58th percentile with 0.88 points per possession.

Bogdanovic's frequency was actually down slightly from his rookie and sophomore season, but his efficiency was up.

Bogdan Bogdanovic in the pick-and-roll
Season Frequency Points Per Possession Percentile
2017-18 30.9% 0.83 56.4
2018-19 28.7% 0.83 53.4
2019-20 24.8% 0.88 57.9

Time will tell how much offence the Bucks actually run through Bogdanovic - he's likely to be fourth on the pecking order behind Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday - but he gives them another player who can create a good look for himself in the halfcourt. Again, he's not much of a 3-point shooter off the dribble, but Bogdanovic is a crafty finisher in the paint and is an excellent shooter from midrange.

Of the 165 players who attempted at least 50 shots from midrange last season, only eight made them at a higher clip than Bogdanovic (49.5 percent).

Even though the Bucks did have to give up some of their depth to acquire Holiday and Bogdanovic, it's quite the luxury having one of them, Antetokounmpo or Middleton on the court at all times. It'll also make the Bucks a much harder team to defend in the playoffs because they now have three perimeter players in Holiday, Bogdanovic and Middleton who can get them a bucket.

Big game experience

Bogdanovic isn't your average fourth-year player. First and foremost, he recently turned 28 years old. Secondly, he's already racked up quite the resume, having won multiple championships and accolades overseas.

The reason that matters: Bogdanovic has experience playing in meaningful games.

Although the Kings didn't make the playoffs during his three years in Sacramento, Bogdanovic doesn't profile as someone who will shy away from the big moments. Again, time will tell how much offence the Bucks actually run through him with Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday on the roster, but he's already made a number of big shots in his NBA career.

As a rookie, Bogdanovic helped the Kings defeat the Warriors in Golden State for the first time in four years with a game-winner over Draymond Green.

That was one of two game-winners Bogdanovic made in his rookie season, his second coming on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies.

As a sophomore, Bogdanovic helped the Kings defeat the Lakers with a step back 3-pointer over Tyson Chandler at the buzzer.

For a team that struggled in the clutch as much as the Bucks did in each of the last two postseasons - Milwaukee was outscored by 10.4 points per 100 possessions in 2019 and a whopping 23.6 points per 100 possessions in 2020 - acquiring a player with Bogdanovic's moxie makes a lot of sense.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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