Brooklyn Nets swingman Bojan Bogdanovic astounded many during the Rio Olympics. It’s only right for there to be high expectations for him going into the 2016-17 season. Now, he is prepared both mentally and physically for the challenge.
As reported by Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Bogdanovic has a new mentality and body as we enter the 2016-17 season.
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In Rio, Bogdanovic posted 25.3 points per game, the highest number by any Olympian in the past 20 years. He also had a player efficiency of 19.2, which ranked fourth this summer. Brooklyn, as well as Bogdanovic, are hoping that he can feed off this flame in 2016-17.
Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez are the only two Nets starters returning from last season’s squad. Last year, the Nets finished with a dreadful 21-win season, and they’ll be looking to prove that they can win more than 20 games with their revamped roster. They’re going to need Bogdanovic to post monster numbers like he did in Rio if they want any chance of improving.
Lopez noted the difference and importance in Bogdanovic’s new mentality.
"“[The difference is] just his confidence, no question. That’s something we absolutely need him to show in this side."
Bogdanovic is hoping that his time in the Olympics will help him have a strong start to the season. He has also been preparing himself physically during the offseason.
"“I hope I’ll bring that shape from the Olympics here in the beginning of the season and during the season. I rest like three or four weeks, so I lost a little bit of my shape, but right now I’m in good shape. I really tried to take care of my body. I hope that I will be the same.”"
The Nets made it a point to keep their emerging star from too much action, as Bogdanovic did not play much at open practice, nor did he participate in scrimmages until Tuesday. This was understandable, since the Croatian did not catch much of a break this offseason.
"“I had a busy summer. I didn’t rest after the season — 20 or 15 days and I started practicing right away with my personal trainer to be in shape for pre-Olympic tournament. I had three or four weeks after the Olympic games, so I came here, got many treatments.”"
Bogdanovic’s 6-foot-8 frame and sharpshooting ability allows him to play at shooting guard and small forward. Last year, at times, he even played at the four. Expect him to have an even greater role with the Nets this season, since Brooklyn no longer has Joe Johnson. After Johnson’s mid-season departure, Bogdanovic’s production increased from 10.4 points per game to 15.2.
Brooklyn can only hope that the 27-year-old will keep moving upward. In due time, we’ll see just how much Bogdanovic can bring to the team. The preseason starts tomorrow, and the regular season is only three weeks away.