Knicks Fill Shot-Creation Need In Unique Fashion

Bojan Bogdanovic, Knicks, NBA
Jan 17, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) grabs the rebound in the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks addressed their biggest needs ahead of the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline in one deal. However, it didn’t come in the form many were expecting it to come in. In need of a ball-handler and shot-creator, many analysts were predicting the Knicks to target point guards.

It was natural to connect the dots in that fashion as New York needed someone to soak up minutes behind Jalen Brunson. Malcolm Brogdon, Jordan Clarkson and Dejounte Murray all fit the bill as capable ball-handlers and guys who could initiate offense, replacing Immanuel Quickley.

However, the Knicks opted to go in a different direction. Needing some help at the forward position as well with injuries to OG Anunoby and Julius Randle, acquired two players from the Detroit Pistons; Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Alec Burks, Bojan Bogdanovic, 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks Updates

Knicks fans know Burks well as he was with the team from 2020-2022. He was forced into point guard duties with the team in his first tenure and knows what Tom Thibodeau is expecting from him. Bogdanovic will provide the team with much-needed insurance in the frontcourt, someone capable of playing alongside Anunoby or Randle.

While neither player is considered a prototypical point guard, they both fill the ball-handler and shot-creation need behind Brunson. As shared by DJAceNBA on X, Burks and Bogdanovic have combined for over 300 pick-and-rolls this season as the ball handler. That will allow Thibodeau to get creative with his schemes and plays, taking all of the pressure off of Brunson to run the show offensively.

New York fans know what to expect from Burks from his previous stint with the team, but Bogdanovic is a bit of a mystery. Renowned for his 3-point shooting ability, he can do a lot more on the court and will quickly turn be a player fans adore.

As shared by DJAceNBA, Bogdanovic is successful as the initiator in pick-and-roll situations. He has a 59 effective field goal percentage and 54 effective field goal percentage when you combine his shots with those his passes create. Both numbers, especially for a forward, are very good.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Alec Burks, Bojan Bogdanovic, 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks Updates

Bogdanovic is very good at manipulating the defense and getting to his spots on the court. He is a 44 percent shooter on mid-range attempts, which is very good. He uses his size effectively as well, getting to the basket as opponents are aware of his shooting prowess.

What makes him so dangerous as a shooter, especially from long range, as the PnR initiator is that he is a lights-out shooter off the dribble. Bogdanovic has connected on an absurd 45 percent of his off-the-dribble 3-pointers.

These aren’t just step-in 3-pointers where a defender sags off of him too much in drop coverage. Bogdanovic is creative, possessing an array of stepbacks and sidestep moves to get his attempts off.

If you are successful in crowding him, forcing him off the spot as a shooter, he has counters to that as well. An adept passer, Bogdanovic will whip crosscourt passes to the weak or hit the roller with nice pocket passes for easy looks in the paint.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Alec Burks, Bojan Bogdanovic, 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks Updates

There is a lot to like about Bogdanovic’s game as he will help elevate the Knicks’ offense. He fills several holes on the team, providing Thibodeau with a bigger-bodied player capable of initiating offense in a different way than Randle, who prefers catching the ball in the high post and working from there.

While he isn’t known much for his defense, Bogdanovic is a serviceable defender and will play well within the scheme Thibodeau draws up. Oddly enough, the player he is similar to, per Synergy Sports Top Player Comps, is Mikal Bridges of the Brooklyn Nets.

Bridges is someone a lot of Knicks fans would love to see on the team to round out the Nova Knicks. His collegiate teammates, Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart, are all tearing it up in Madison Square Garden while he plays in a borough over in Barclays Center.

A few NBA analysts suggested the Knicks try and make a blockbuster for Bridges, putting the finishing touches on what they hope is a contender. With Brooklyn not looking to sell, and certainly not to their crosstown rivals, Leon Rose went out and got quite literally the next best thing in Bogdanovic, his closest player comp in the NBA this season.

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