For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. And in this stretch of lost big leads, we need some positivity.
Bojan Bogdanovic’s signing sent a collective “huh?” through Pacers Twitter. I mean, just spend a minute scrolling through comments on Woj’s tweet announcing Bojan’s deal and you will see two things: confusion and indifference.
The looming battle for the starting small forward spot with Glenn Robinson III provided some intrigue, but it was clear, based on the details of Bojan’s contract (two years, but next season is only partially guaranteed), that he did not figure in the Pacers longterm plans.
Why not let Robinson start during a clear rebuilding year? His injury removed the tension, but Nate McMillan said the starting spot was Bojan’s to lose regardless. The reason: value.
If given minutes, the Pacers believed signing Bojan would provide enough to both help the team win a handful of games and, more importantly, create a juicy trade piece for a team making a playoff push.
Through the first five games, Bojan did not look great. But this column is a bastion of hope, so let’s focus on what’s happened lately. The clumsy turnovers have disappeared and the shots from deep have fallen, with a season high 22-point performance last week against Chicago. If you make six threes in a game on nine attempts, you are doing something right, and this not something that happened often with the Pacers last season. CJ Miles did it four times. Paul George did it five times.
Bojan is doing what he was brought here to do: help win a few games, and remind teams he can get hot from three. He’s shooting a shade under 42%. Would you be surprised to learn that’s fifth best on this team? I was. #FreePoythress!
Concerning Bojan’s time on the court, he is playing the most minutes per game of his career (29). Giving someone more minutes is something that teams do when trying to raise the value of a player who has an elite skill, or at least could look like they have an elite skill (See: Michael Carter Williams).
Even when GR3 returns, which is still many, many games away, I still expect Bojan to get around 30 minutes a night: enough to hit some open threes and continue to hit the “this-guy-can-shoot” bell. It’s a very attractive bell.
Bojan Bogdanovic gives me hope. I am hopeful he will keep making threes, which is something enjoyed by Pacers followers more intensely than fans of other teams (where’s Reggie’s statue!?) And I am hopeful the right offer will come across Kevin Pritchard’s desk that will flip Bojan for assets that align with this team’s future right as GR3 gets to full strength.
Worst-case scenario? We don’t do worst case scenarios here. Long live the run of Bojan Threepointovic! Hrvastka!