Expectations high for Nets’ European signee Bojan Bogdanovic – Metro US

Expectations high for Nets’ European signee Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic
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He may not be the most important, but perhaps the most intriguing component of the Nets’ opening night lineup will be rookie Bojan Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic is an NBA rookie but hardly a professional rookie. Before signing with the Nets over the summer he spent a decade playing overseas, averaging 12 points and shooting 45.9 percent in Euroleague games since 2007.

“Bogie’s done well,” said reserve guard Jarrett Jack. “Coming in and transitioning to that shooting guard spot is a new thing. He’s done a good job as far as spacing the floor for guys like Deron and Brook, as well as Joe, allowing them to be put in one-on-one situations and he also shoots the ball so well.”

The 25-year-old will become the first rookie to start on Opening Night since Kenyon Martin and Stephen Jackson joined Stephon Marbury, Evan Eschmeyer and Kendall Gill in the starting five in 2000.

Martin was the No. 1 overall pick for the Nets and wound up becoming an enforcer on two conference championship teams before being traded 10 years ago in then owner Bruce Ratner’s efforts to slash payroll.

While Bogdanovic wasn’t the No. 1 overall pick — or even a first-round pick — there is an air of intrigue about him especially since he will start at shooting guard. He will fill the spot vacated by Paul Pierce, who signed with the Wizards in the offseason.

Bogdanovic started the first five preseason games and the common sentiment is he has made an impression despite shooting 35 percent (14-of-40) and making just 5-of-22 3-pointers.

“I think he’s figuring out the American game,” head coach Lionel Hollins said. “He’s also figuring out that 3-point line is a little further away, and he needs to take his time, use a little more legs in shooting it. But he’s also finding out that contrary to what everybody thinks, the game is a lot more physical over here. I know people think the European game — I mean they foul hard over there, but I don’t think it’s more physical than the American game.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.