(“The Gallery” is an end-of-season series featuring one uniquely titled picture or video installation for every player that best summarizes or encapsulates that player’s season in a single snapshot. These aren’t highlights, they’re seminal moments expressed through the medium of art placards. Enjoy your tour!)
Small Forward, Age 30
Orlando Magic versus Indiana Pacers, March 7
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
An intentional design flaw representing the reality that we are all human and nothing made by man is perfect, a five-legged goat features discreetly near the upper right corner of a giant mosaic tile mural honoring Southwestern culture inside the concourse of Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort. Subtle with the power to draw repeated attention once-spotted, the subject of The Imperfection draws inspiration from that work’s periphery “detail.”
Though one is a purposeful artistic choice while the other highlights a shortcoming in a player’s journey to become increasingly well-rounded, mastering the pindown pass is Bojan Bogdanovic’s five-legged goat — easy to overlook, until...well... it isn’t.
Truth be told, what happened in that mid-March game against Orlando was somewhat of an anomaly in and of itself. Typically, the Croatian sharpshooter prefers to make the safer kick-out pass when the defense collapses. In this case, he actually attempted to find Turner, but the pass was deflected because he doesn’t quite have a handle on throwing whip-passes or lobs.
Be that as it may, because of his ability to tailor the depth of his attack to the coverage, his reluctance to deliver the ball to that spot on the floor rarely showed up as a blemish during the regular season. When opponents funneled him to the basket and attempted to force him into an awkward miss over the top of a towering big, he leveraged his shoulder to finish at the rim. When they came up higher to stop his dribble penetration, he created space for himself. When they attempted to shoot the gap, he faded to three.
That changed during the first round of the playoffs, when Boston chased him over screens and then traded defensive responsibilities once he cut middle. With once-dynamic staggers transformed into stagnant isolations, Bogdanovic’s five-legged goat was suddenly hard to ignore, especially during the waning moments of Game 2.
Rather than attacking those switches 1-on-1, imagine if the Celtics would have had to play the 30-year-old ironman to pass as well as score? Granted, Myles Turner isn’t exactly natural at slipping into space; however, if he were, and if Bogdanovic had some of those aforementioned passes down pat, the Pacers could have countered Boston’s counter by having their second screener dart to the rim. Instead, too often they resorted to playing hero-ball without a hero.
On the whole, Bojan Bogdanovic played in 81 of 82 games and maintained his efficiency while taking on increased usage from Victor Oladipo. And yet, even while basking in the afterglow of a career season that has both sides interested in a renewed partnership, The Imperfection — not unlike the purpose behind the intentional flaw stashed within the vast beauty of the Pueblo Village — serves as a low-key reminder that he still has room to improve.
Thaddeus Young: The Sticking Point
Doug McDermott: The Invisible Man
Cory Joseph: It’s all in the Details