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Q&A with SB Nation’s Michael D. Sykes, II on Bojan Bogdanovic

Michael D. Sykes, II provides insight on the sharpshooter’s defensive limitations as well as his viability as a starter.

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Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards - Game Three Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Shooting, following a season where they ranked 27th in the league in three-point attempts per 100 possessions, was an area of apparent need for the mid-range inclined Indiana Pacers.

“You have some speed and you have some athleticism, but you have to be able to put the ball in the hole,” Pritchard said at the team’s introductory press conference for Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, and Domantas Sabonis. “Shooting is of imperative importance for us right now.”

Not so obvious, however, was Nate McMillan’s recent declaration that the starting spot vacated by Paul George would be newcomer Bojan Bogdanovic’s to lose.

“He will be the guy that I put out there at the small forward position to start the first day of training camp,” McMillan said. “...and we’ll go from there.”

SB Nation’s Michael D. Sykes, II agreed to do a Q&A with Indy Cornrows to discuss how the sharpshooter might adjust to a starting role.

Washington’s aggregate bench net rating improved from 28th (-5.8) to 10th (0.4) post All-Star break, how integral was the addition of Bogdanovic to that turnaround?

He was probably the most essential piece in the bench's turnaround post All-Star break. As you can see, they went from being one of the worst units in the league to one the more solid units. He shot 39 percent from deep in his time with Washington and that was a huge boost for their second unit's spacing. He cooled off toward the end, but will still be a great addition for Indiana's spacing.

Nate McMillan is already projecting Bogdanovic to be the team’s starting small forward, but the Wizards surrendered 123.4 points per 100 possessions last season when he was on the floor with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Jr., and Marcin Gortat, sans Markieff Morris. Is it realistic to expect his shooting to outpace his porous defense?

For a while, his shooting did make up for how terrible he was defensively. But it didn't last forever, and the Wizards really suffered from that in the playoffs. Teams were targeting him whenever he was on the floor.

I will say this, though: While he didn't help the Wizards defensively, it wasn't all a Bogdanovic issue when he was on the floor. The Wizards didn't have a Myles Turner protecting the rim, and that could make a big difference.

Overall, however, the Wizards only gave up 1.5 points more per 100 possessions when he was on the floor as compared to off. Is that as simple as him being matched up mostly against reserves, or did Scott Brooks come up with creative ways to mask his flaws?

When Bogdanovic played it was mostly with four other bench players. As you can see, it didn't really work out all too well in the end.

He'd be on the floor with some combination of Brandon Jennings and Kelly Oubre on the perimeter with Jason Smith and either Markieff Morris or Ian Mahinmi in the frontcourt. With Mahinmi struggling to regain his form and Morris not being a real rim protector, the Wizards struggled. I'd say a lot of that is on Brooks, but there weren't many options to go around.

Wall assisted on nearly half of the field goals Bogdanovic made for Washington last season (17-of-40). Is it important, then, for him to play beside an elite point guard?

I'd say it's important for him to play with some sort of creator, even if it's not an elite talent like Wall. Bogdanovic can create his own shot, but he's a much more efficient player when he's getting open looks from drive and kick plays.

There aren't many players in the league that can do what Wall can, but Corey Joseph and Darren Collison are solid players who may be able to help him find open looks.

Almost 60 percent of his field goals last season were the product of zero dribbles whereas less than 15 percent came off 3-6. Should these splits be interpreted as a function of Washington’s offense, or is he more of a one-dimensional, catch-and-shoot specialist regardless of system?

I'd say it's a little bit of both. Bogdanovic shouldn't be the primary ball handler or shot creator on any particular play. He has those skills, but it's not what he's best at. He can play in the post, off of screen and even isolate against bigger forwards, but the catch and shoot game is where he'll have the most success.

That worked out well in Washington's system because so much of what they do centered around their backcourt and dribble penetration. Bogdanovic was a perfect fit in Washington.

More from this series:

Q&A with WTLC’s David-Scott on Domantas Sabonis

Q&A with Sactown Royalty’s Akis Yerocostas on Darren Collison