• Matt Esposito

Bojan Bogdanovic to the Utah Jazz

Sporting News

What’s the deal?

According to both Woj and Shams, Bogdanovic inked a four-year deal with the Utah Jazz worth $73 million. His annual average salary will be $18.25 million with his yearly earnings starting at $16.9 million and increasing throughout the contract’s duration (Spotrac.)

What does Bogdanovic bring to the team?

The European forward had a breakout year for the Indiana Pacers last season. Bogdanovic was able to take advantage of a higher usage rate when star teammate Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending injury. This is where Bogdanovic’s skill set truly shone brightest.

After Oladipo’s injury Bogdanovic saw his per game averages shoot up. As the focal point of the offense he averaged over 20 points per game while shooting 41 percent from deep on 5.3 nightly 3-point attempts.

Utah will certainly benefit from his perimeter shooting but, they will also rely on his shot-creation. Specifically, Bogdanovic displayed a willingness to pull-up and drive to the rim. Last season he shot a better percentage on drives than All-Stars Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook, Khris Middleton and D’Angelo Russell. When defenses collapse on Donovan Mitchell, Bogdanovic should be available to get off a clean look.

What this move means for the Jazz?

With Kevin Durant and Thompson missing either most or all of next season, teams are loading up for a run at the Finals. Bogdanovic only brings more firepower to team that already added Mike Conley. A lineup of Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Bogdanovic, Mitchell and Conley blends together enough shooting and defensive competency to suggest that they are a legitimate title contender.

This move also signals that the Jazz are going all in on the pieces they have. Gobert is in his prime and Conley is playing in the last years of his. If the Lakers struggle to fill out the rest of their roster, or fail to add a third superstar, Utah could find themselves competing for their first title since the late 90s.

How would you grade this contract?

This contract deserves an A grade. Bogdanovic is a vastly underrated player who fills a need. While his contract can’t be considered a steal, it isn’t vomit-inducing either. The Jazz also picked up a player who will compete defensively. There weren’t many other plausible moves Utah could have made that would have been better than this one.

Final thought

While many will now consider the Jazz to truly be contenders, they still will face an uphill battle against LeBron and Anthony Davis. This move signifies one specific notion to me; Utah brass believes Mitchell will become an elite player next year. This is why they are choosing now as the time to chase a ring.

Last year, Mitchell’s shooting struggled until the All-Star break. After that point he put up a wild 26.7 points per game while also coming close to both five boards and assists per night. He did this all on 46 percent from the floor and an absurd 45 percent from behind the line.

Sure, Mitchell did this in a small sample size of 24 games. Yet, the last two people to put up those numbers, however, were Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry. Today, we will discuss the addition of Bogdanovic in regard to the Jazz’s playoff hopes. In the future, we could be discussing how Bogdanovic supported a superstar in the making.

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