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Luka Bogdanovic NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
September 20, 2004
Strengths
Bogdanovic is a talented, skilled, and fundamentally sound small forward. He's one of those players who bases his game on his basketball abilities over his physical capabilities. To start with, Luka has a sweet touch from all over the court. He can nail the three pointer and the mid-ranger on a regular basis and shows a soft touch around the basket. His good ball handling skills allow him to penetrate easily and he can usually stop and finish with his very reliable mid-range shot. He can also post up his defensive matchup to deliver a slight fade-away shot off a spin movement. The quality of his movements is very impressive, and it's quite clear he has put in a lot of work into them.

Luka has a great basketball mind. He sees the court really well and shows a remarkable passing ability facing the basket from the perimeter area. It would be hard to ask him for better decision making as he typically chooses the right option. He always plays under control and with an unusual composure for a player so young. A good example is his ability to finish under the basket against bigger rivals, faking, waiting for the best moment and not feeling intimidated. His movement without the ball also deserves to be mentioned. Although not very prolific, he knows where and when to make a cut in order to get good position. Definetly, a great basketball IQ.

Physically, he has very good height for a small forward, he also benefits from a nice wingspan and a decent vertical leap. In fact, he's usually in charge of the tip-offs in his team's games. Besides, he's stronger than his age and weight would lead you to believe. His coach uses him to defend post players quite often and Luka doesn't shy away when it comes to looking for an offensive rebound. Quite a tough guy, we could say.

Weaknesses
Like many European players, the athleticism is a big issue for Bogdanovic. His quickness is average at best, and it will certainly be a problem for him in the next level. For example, he will suffer defending threes in the NBA as his lateral defensive movement is poor. His offensive game will also be affected. He's not a player who's used to creating his own shot, although he's capable of doing so if needed. However, he might have a tough time doing it in the NBA. His first step isn't up to par, nor does he have any other ability right now to get his own shot other than his post-up movement that won't be so easy to perform against the bigger and more athletic big men that crowd the NBA.

Regarding his offensive game, it's hard to find any flaw considering his athletic standard. Perhaps he could take advantage of his skills more often to improve his scoring numbers, but it's understandable as he's one of the youngest players on his team. The truth is, he doesn't show the scoring hunger that characterizes other players. Just for the sake of splitting hairs, when penetrating he usually chooses the left side, and might become some kind of predictable. Not a big issue anyway.

The coolness Luka shows might seem sometimes excessive. Besides the scoring hunger, his defensive willingness, basically team-wise, is not that great. He shows some intensity when trying to stop his own man, but not the same determination when it comes to defensive rotations.

Finally, being a versatile forward who doesn't avoid the paint area when given the chance, he could benefit from adding more strength and bulk to his frame. Although as we have explained in the strengths section, he's not a weak player, and the simple maturing process combined with proper work at the weight room will probably provide him the right tools to make his trips to the paint more comfortable and productive.

Competition
Bogdanovic had been playing in two separate leagues during the past year and was getting a good amount of playing time in both of them. Bogdanovic was then picked up Red Star Belgrade, where he played during the past couple of seasons and had been teammates with former Timberwolf, Igor Rakocevic.

He played the ULEB Cup, the league in which the good but not so great teams from all the leagues around Europe go to play. In this league Bogdanovic averaged 25 minutes per game, good for second best on the team after veteran and former Minnesota guard Igor Rakocevic. In those 25 minutes he averaged 8.6 points (68% FG, 32% 3P) 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1 turnover per game. Red Star finished 5-5 in this league which was not good enough to advance to the next round. Some of the players his team played against in that Cup include Pavel Podkolzine, Tahirou Sani, and former NBA player, Predrag Savovic.

The second league he had played is the Adriatic ''Goodyear'' League, which is a league composed mainly of teams from the area of former Yugoslavia. Here you will find many teams that used to sport fantastic squads in the past, but the NBA and richer teams from Western Europe have cut deeply into their talent. Most teams here have a lot of youth, and young Bogdanovic got plenty of playing time here. He averaged almost 27 minutes per game, scoring 10 points (64% FG, 48% 3P, 80% FT) 4.5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover. His team finished 4th in the league at 18-8 and lost to eventual champion, KK Reflex in the semi finals of the playoffs.

Bogdanovic has a good amount of international experience, playing on Serbia and Montenegro's national youth teams since he was very young, and he has been on the radar for quite some time now.

In 2001 at the European Championships for Cadets in Latvia he was named to the All-European Cadets first team after averaging 15 points (61% FG, 32% 3P) 6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 turnovers in 32 minutes of action over 8 games. Luka was the top scorer for the Serbians and helped them win the championship with a win over the Russians. Also on the team were Darko Milicic and Kosta Perovic amongst others.

After transferring from Red Star to Partizan, Luka will now have an opportunity to play against Europe's best, in the Euroleague. He is expected to receive plenty of playing time, considering Partizan lost its top 2 swing men from last season, Scepanovic and House. Luka returns to the Adriatic ''Goodyear'' League this year with Partizan, which hadn't played there last season.

Outlook
Bogdanovic had declared, through his agency SFX, for the 2004 draft, but decided to pull out considering he can only improve his stock by playing in Europe for another season. His other reasoning was that Red Star finished its season right around the time NBA Finals were going on, which didn't leave him enough time to rest and prepare for pre-draft workouts in the United States. He had been a projected 2nd round pick.

Comments
Bogdanovic is the kind of player that pros are not too deeply in love with. Although rather tall, his athleticism is not what it takes to be cosidered a top prospect. I think his talent will make up enough to become a decent player in the League, but he probably chose the right path in deciding to prove himself in Europe before moving on.

Facts
Won the gold medal at the 2001 European Cadets Championship and was named to the All-European Cadets 1st Team. Won the National Cup of Serbia and Montenegro with Red Star in 2004. He had been a member of the Serbia and Montenegro under-20 national team until he was kicked off for not showing up for the start of camp in preparation for this past summer's European Championship.

Darko Milicic and him are reportedly good friends. They were roomates together while playing for the Serbia and Montenegro Cadet national team. Milicic still calls him the player of his generation he feels has the biggest chance to make a jump to the NBA. That generation coincidentaly includes probable lottery pick Kosta Perovic. Bogdanovic actually asked for a release prior to this season because of his concerns with lack of playing time, but withdrew that request on time and played the season with Red Star Belgrade. That was only the calm before the storm, however, as there has never been a more contraversial transfer in the history of Serbian basketball as was Luka's case.

Naming reasons of sports nature, such as his discontent with his position on the floor (he wants to be on the wing, the coach wanted him in the paint) and playing time, Luka Bogdanovic signed a 3 year contract with Partizan Belgrade, Red Star's long time and arch rival.

The only problem was that his contract with Red Star had still been valid and ongoing, despite claims by Luka and his father that wasn't the case. Red Star filed an appeal with the Registrary Commission, which typically handles these kinds of cases and its panel consists of legal experts which study the clauses of the contracts. The Commission ruled in favor of Red Star, meaning Luka was still its player.

That wasn't the end of it, however. The federation's Board of Directors voted 7-6 to overturn the Commission's decision, and make Luka's contract with Partizan valid. This prompted the Commission's president, Goran Dajevic, to resign naming lack of legal support of the Board's decision as his reason for doing so. He went on to say that the Board ''made no legal sense whatsoever, because they've justified one legal decision with sport motives.''

The Board's decision still stands, as Bogdanovic has already played a couple of pre-season games with Partizan.

 


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