Bojan Bogdanovic was a fan favorite in Indiana and he’s going to be beloved among Utah Jazz fans as well for his personality and basketball prowess.
I try not to get too personal when I write here on The J-Notes. After all, I know you’re here for the Utah Jazz, not for me. But this time, just indulge me for a moment.
Let me make one thing clear. I love the Utah Jazz. You probably guessed as much due to the fact that I spend a good portion of my life writing about them on here. They’re my number one squad and have been a huge part of my life since basically my infancy.
But right after the Jazz in second place comes the Indiana Pacers. They’re my clear number two and a team I thoroughly enjoy almost as much as the Jazz. I rarely ever miss a game from either team. When both Utah and Indiana play on the same night, I try to find a way to record both and stagger them so I can watch each team. As the Jazz are my team in the West, Indy is my team in the East.
And over the years there have been a lot of Pacers teams I’ve liked a lot. The Paul George-led Eastern Conference Finals teams were a blast. Danny Granger, despite playing on some poor teams before injuries put a damper on his Pacers career, is one of my favorite basketball players of all time. Reggie Miller is a huge reason why I cheer for Indy in the first place.
But among all those teams, the one I might have enjoyed the most (at least during the regular season) was the 2017-18 squad and the 2018-19 pre-Victor Oladipo injury group. A large part of that was because they were so overlooked, everyone had them in the lottery after the Paul George trade. But the gritty, underdog group overcame the odds and was a stalwart playoff team that pushed LeBron James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the first round.
But another big part – and I’m not exaggerating one bit – was the play and ascension of one of the newest Jazzmen, Bojan Bogdanovic. I loved watching Bogey during his time in Indiana. And I’m confident that Jazz fans are going to absolutely love him too.
The easiest thing to like about Bojan (pronounced like the two words ‘boy’ and ‘on’ put together for those of you who were still wondering) is his 3-point shooting stroke. When the clock is winding down or it’s a clutch moment and you have a guy on your squad that as soon as the ball leaves his hands from the perimeter you just expect it to go down, it’s always a blast to see them in action. That’s exactly what Utah will have in Bogdanovic.
He shot a career-high 40.2 percent from three in his first year in Indy, then he topped that last season by going an incredible 42.5 percent. Not to mention, he went nearly 50 percent from the field and turned into a prolific all-around offensive threat. There’s no denying he had the best two years of his career in Indiana, and that should only continue in a Jazz system that’s known for creating the most open shots of any team in the league.
But whether Bogdanovic is open or not, he knows how to splash shots. I’ll never forget Game 3 of the Pacers’ first-round battle in the 2018 NBA Playoffs where his 30-point and seven-made-threes explosion had me running around the house like a maniac yelling, “BOGEY BOGEY BOGEY!” much to the chagrin of my wife…and my dog…and probably the neighbors.
My point is, he’s an incredible scorer who’s capable of going off for 30-plus points on any given night, usually by draining long ball after long ball in the most exciting fashion imaginable. Jazz fans will absolutely adore that scoring ability.
Beyond that, Bogey is an unrelenting competitor who will give his all every second he’s on the floor. He works his tail off on both ends of the court and, despite common misconception, is a grinder on defense who is capable of challenging opposing players despite an overall lack of athleticism. Jazz fans are going to love his effort and love his hustle. He simply never quits and has the perfect attitude you’d want in a key member of the team.
Jazz fans are also going to love him outside of his mere basketball talent. Bogdanovic is pretty reserved – he might be the polar opposite of Joe Ingles‘ rambunctious personality – but he’s extremely likable, gives thoughtful and meaningful interviews, and is hilarious in his own quiet way. When he opens up for a joke or breaks out of his usual focus to unleash a passionate celebration on the court, it’s always a fun and oftentimes comical scene.
He’s a great locker room guy that’s beloved by his teammates and is going to fit Utah’s chemistry just fine. He’ll also be an excellent example as someone who shows up for work every day and goes about his business the right way.
In a recent 1280 The Zone interview with Scott Agness, who covers the Indiana Pacers for The Athletic, he talked in detail about how great Bogey will be for the Jazz. He spoke specifically to Bogdanovic’s mental toughness, passion for the game and the fact that he never sits outs a practice or a game.
Agness continued by mentioning that Bogdanovic has a very high expectation for himself and he expects to play in all 82 games. When coaches or medical staffs have asked him to sit out, he’s been vehemently opposed to doing so. That’s shown perfectly in each of the past two seasons as he played in 80 games in 2017-18 and 81 in 2018-19.
A guy who plays through just about anything, shows up and works his butt off every chance he gets, and who has a true, no-nonsense passion for the game? That’s the type of player Jazz fans expected during the Jerry Sloan era. And that’s the type of player that the fanbase still loves to see today. Bojan Bogdanovic is going to fit that seamlessly.
From an exceptional shooting touch, to a well-rounded game on both ends of the floor, to a reserved but enjoyable personality, to a quiet but hilarious sense of humor, Bogey is going to be a wonderful fit in Utah.
And I have a strong feeling that Utah Jazz fans are going to fall in love with him as a member of their team, just as I, and the rest of the Indiana Pacers fans, did as well during his two-year stay there.
I’m willing to bet I that on many occasions in the upcoming season, I won’t be alone among Jazz fans running around my living room screaming, “BOGEY BOGEY BOGEY!” at the top of my lungs.