Playing the waiting game is difficult, especially in today’s “now” society. But the human body is as old-fashioned as they come, still needing some modicum of time to recuperate after sustaining trauma from an injury or, as Atlanta Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic is experiencing, surgery to repair said injury.
Bogdanovic has been down since quietly undergoing a procedure on his knee that he says has been bothering him since early in his NBA career – not just the last two seasons with the Hawks – and his team needs him.
The Hawks are off to an alright start sitting third in the Eastern Conference with a 9-6 record.
But they have dropped three of their last five with the two most-recent losses against the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics coming by 12 and 25 points, respectively.
Only Bogdan Bogdanovic can answer the Atlanta Hawks’ biggest question
“The team’s defense has been far better overall with [Dejounte] Murray, and the Hawks look like a real threat to get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs,” writes Greg Swartz for Bleacher Report. “This has all been done without Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Hawks’ veteran wing and third-leading scorer from a season ago.
Swartz considers Bogdanovic the Hawks’ biggest question one month into the season, though recent rumblings around John Collins have to be a close second. But, to his point, Bogdanovic’s plus-5.8 efficiency differential led the team last season, per Cleaning The Glass.
He averaged 15.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals last season.
Bogdanovic also connected on 36.8% of his looks from beyond the arc in a down season after hitting 43.8% of his deep loos the year before. For a Hawks team that currently ranks 27th in three-point efficiency and 29th in attempts, Bogdanovic’s 7.4 attempts at a 39.8%-clip are sorely missed.
Unfortunately, we are no closer to knowing when Bogdanovic will be back on the floor than we were upon learning of his surgery.
It’s not just the points from Bogdanovic, either. The addition of Murray adds another slasher to the mix, which is good.
But it also shrinks the floor.
Murray began the season on fire from deep hitting a respectable 35.9% of his threes over the first 10 games of the season, knocking down multiple threes in eight of those contests. He is just 4-for-20 (20%) over the last five games, leaving him at 32.1% on the season, down from last year.
While some positive regression may be in store for Murray, the Hawks need Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic had a 10-game stretch last season in which he averaged 20.7 points on 62.3% true shooting and a six-game span with 24.2 points on over 66% true shooting.
The Hawks went 10-9 without him last season, so they can survive with this group for a while.
But they need Bogdanovic – who was putting up legitimate Sixth Man of the Year stats for long periods last season – back as soon as possible. Even if there isn’t any pressure being put on him to rush the healing process.
As for when he will be back, only Bogdanovic – and more specifically, his 30-year-old body – can answer that.