The Milwaukee Bucks may have led the NBA in scoring last season, but that hasn’t stopped them from trading for another dynamic offensive threat. Now that Bogdan Bogdanovic will be playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, the former Sacramento Kings guard has a chance to take his game to another level.
And if he does, that bodes well for the Bucks’ chances of winning an NBA title this season.
Bogdan Bogdanovic showed dynamic scoring ability in Sacramento
A native of Serbia, Bogdan Bogdanovic spent the early part of his basketball career overseas. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound sharpshooter established a reputation as one of the top scorers in the EuroLeague. He shot 43% from 3-point territory and averaged 16.7 points in his final season with Turkish-based Fenerbahce.
After getting traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Kings in 2016, Bogdanovic finally got his first taste of NBA action at the age of 25. He started 53 games during the 2017-18 season. Sacramento’s starting shooting guard averaged just under 12 points per game while connecting on 39.2% of his 3-point attempts.
In his second year in the league, Bogdanovic increased his scoring average to 14.1 points per game. However, he started just 17 games and watched his shooting percentages drop across the board.
Last season, though, the former European star upped his scoring average to a career-high 15.1 points per game. Still, the Kings struggled as a team. Sacramento finished with a losing record for the 14th straight year.
The Bucks pull off a trade to give Giannis Antetokounmpo some help
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season. Yet, Milwaukee failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs.
But with their star player’s future hanging in the balance, the Bucks just pulled off a savvy trade that could help them finally achieve championship glory.
On Monday night, Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN reported that the Bucks and Kings reached an agreement on a sign-and-trade deal centered around Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Sacramento will send Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson, and Ersan Ilyasova to Milwaukee in exchange for Bogdanovic and 23-year-old shooting guard Justin James.
Although the Bucks drafted DiVincenzo 17th overall in 2018, he only averaged 9.2 points last season. The former Villanova guard has shot just 31.8% from 3-point territory in 93 career games.
But by landing Bogdanovic, the Bucks added a potentially elite scoring threat who should pair well with Antetokounmpo. After putting up rock-solid numbers for some bad Kings teams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 28-year-old make a substantial leap playing alongside several legitimate NBA stars.
Milwaukee will look much different this season but will the results change?
If the Bucks managed to average nearly 119 points per game last season, it’s scary to think about how much higher that number could climb in 2020-21.
Besides adding Bogdan Bogdanovic, Milwaukee also recently swung a trade for Jrue Holiday. The 30-year-old point guard averaged nearly 17.8 points and 6.8 assists in seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. Plus, Holiday ranks as one of the best defenders at his position.
Thanks to two savvy trades, the Bucks have a scary potential starting lineup. Khris Middleton has developed into a top-flight scorer and has made two consecutive NBA All-Star teams. The 29-year-old hit 41.5% of his 3-point attempts last season and should have even more space to operate this year.
At center, Brook Lopez brings size and experience to the table. Although the 32-year-old may be on the back end of his career, he can still chip in double-digit points on a nightly basis.
Of course, whether all these pieces gel together remains to be seen.
If the Bucks play up to their potential, they should absolutely represent the Eastern Conference in the 2021 NBA Finals.
However, the experiment could also go in the other direction and result in another title-less season for Milwaukee.
And if that occurs, don’t be surprised to see another major roster shakeup next offseason.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.