One week ago, the Final 4 of the Adriatic League was in the Press for days because of the incredible finish where Partizan won the Final with an improbable Buzzer Beater. But this Final 4 was also a good opportunity to see two interesting NBA Draft prospects playing the Small Forward position. Let’s take a closer look at what happened in the Final game of the Adriatic League.
The two protagonists are of course Jan Vesely, who has been featured here several times over the last two years and Bojan Bogdanovic. The Cibona Zagreb forward, who has entered his name for the 2010 NBA Draft, has never been a hot topic (unfortunately) over the last years for this website but his move out of Spain for the Euroleague team of Cibona has put the spotlights on a player that has been scouted already by lots of teams at a very young age. Back in 2006, I had the opportunity to see him already twice at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament and during the Douai World Tournament. Here is what I had on him back then.
Bojan Bogdanovic looked like a big time talent, even if he did not score one basket on Saturday’s game at the AST. He scored although 9 points form the free-throw line before he left the court injured with a sprained ankle. He has very good body control and surprising shot blocking qualities. He goes to the rebound with ease and can post up his defenders. Unfortunately, I can not give you more details about his play as he only played 16 minutes.
Bojan Bogdanovic showed once again his versatile talent. This 2m02 guard has the whole package to become a very good international player. He is athletic enough to play against US boys, and he has great technique and ball handling. He goes to the rebound, and also has a very nice defensive positioning. He has very good basics and good footwork. He also showed that he can be dangerous from behind the arc. As I saw him against the Netherlands, which was a very weak team, his coach used Bogdanovic only during 18 minutes, but that was enough to score 18, grab 4 rebounds and have 2 steals and 2 assists.
Back in Douai, I also put together a short clip of Bogdanovic with his Croatian U18 National Team which you can see here.
In 2005, Bogdanovic signed a 5 year deal with Real Madrid and “disappeared” in the Spanish Minor Leagues without really breaking the rotation at the ACB part of Real Madrid. But his move back home to Croatia was the right thing at the right moment as the 2m02 tall player averaged 8.1ppg and 3.8rpg in the Euroleague this season.
Bogdanovic has found its place on the Small Forward position where he is used mainly as a 3rd scoring option behind Jamont Gordon and Marko Tomas. The main threat comes from outside with this team and while both Gordon and Tomas play the drive a lot, Bogdanovic is mainly focusing on the outside shot. Being defended most of the time by the taller Vesely, Bogdanovic could not really take his shot as he is used to and missed all of his attempts from behind the arc until the very last one. His speed was not good enough to beat an excellent defender like Vesely on the drive where the later one shows excellent lateral quickness for his size. However, the long arms of the Czech player help him to be a constant shot blocking threat as well as being a potentially good ball stealer.
In this game, you could also see once again why Vesely is so foul-prone. He is not afraid of defending his man full-court and try to go for steals or charges on every possession. As you can see in the video below, the foul calls on Vesely where always contested ones but of a kind that they are avoidable. The thin line between hustle and over-excitement is still one of the problems of the Partizan Belgrade forward. Vesely could on the offensive end never really use his size when being defended by Bogdanovic. Despite being about 10cms taller, he never went to the low block with the Croat to post him up but tried to score in his typical style with garbage points and the occasional set shot from behind the arc. The few drives he took ended mostly in turnovers.
Bogdanovic on the other hand showed good control when driving to the basket. He came up with some nice penetrations immediately out of catching the ball. He has the court-vision to kick the ball out but he can also go to the rim. Against the tall Partizan defense, he tried mostly the floaters where he missed the necessary touch to convert them in this game. On the defensive end, Bogdanovic needed to play an outside defender role when Cibona was back in a 2-3 zone. He struggled when he needed to stay in front of faster guards as his lateral speed is not top notch. He has correct athletic abilities and is able to come up with nice some dunks on the break but he does not use his jumping abilities for example for the jump shot which looks more like a set shot with however a quick release.
Take a look at the Video below with most of the plays of both players from the Final of the Adriatic League 2010.