Why not have Bogi be the backup PG?


niremetal
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I'm relatively new in my Hawksquawk comeback tour, so apologies if this is a topic that's been raised before. But it seems to me that the Hawks have a pretty obvious choice at backup PG on the roster already: Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Nate figured out PDQ after the Hawks dropped game 2 against the Knicks that Bogi was our second-best playmaker, even with Lou on the floor too. From that point on (or at least until the games Trae missed vs MIL), I think he was nearly always on the floor when Trae was not. He's not lightning-quick as a PG, but some of the best PGs in history (like Nash) had subpar foot speed--and they could especially get away with it if they were bigger than the average PG (e.g., Magic, proto-point-forward Rick Barry, etc). That's not even counting the increasing number of big men who have become the primary distributors in their team offenses in recent years. The important thing is the ability to dribble, pass, and shoot, all of which Bogi can do very, very well.

This is the best take I've seen that describes Bogi's playmaking ability:

Quote

What separates Bogdanovic from other shooters is that he has more to his game. Bogdanovic is not a devastating athlete but he’s a craftier ball-handler than the majority of players who are categorized as volume shooters. This makes him a plus playmaker, which is really what makes him such value on his contract. Atlanta runs most of their offense through Trae, but Bogdanovic is capable of creating looks on the inside and continuing possessions off the catch and off the dribble. Per Cleaning the Glass, he ranked in the 90th percentile in assist percentage, the 84th percentile in assist to turnover ratio, and the 85th percentile in turnover percentage which in particular was a drastic improvement on what we saw in Sacramento. His playmaking went to the next level in Atlanta.

https://premiumhoops.org/2021/06/06/bogdan-bogdanovics-two-way-mastery-in-the-atlanta-hawks-first-round-series/

Even if his efficiency as a playmaker drops a bit as volume goes up, do we really think that there is someone who'll be available in the draft or in free agency that will be able to improve on what Bogi could do in that role?

It also strikes me that having a lineup like Bogi-Huerter-Cam-Gallo-Okongwu* on the floor when Trae rests would opposing second units matchup nightmares that would more than outweigh whatever small edge we might get from having a traditional/quicker PG that we could get using the MLE or at #20 in the draft. Defensively, Cam can stay in front of the opposing PG. Heck, so can Huerter in most games. We can have an "alternate" backup PG (Mays, maybe?) who can slot in when the opposing second-unit backcourt has two exceptionally quick players.

(* ...or whoever we sign to serve as backup C in his place for the first 50ish games of the year while Okongwu rehabs)

Having 2-guards double as the backup PG has worked well before. The two that come to mind immediately for me are JJ, who was very effective as backup PG for Nash back in '04-'05, and CJ McCollum, who has effectively been Lillard's backup in Portland for most of the past 5+ years.

The main argument that I can think of against this would be simply familiarity and rhythm. Bogi has never been asked to serve as the de facto point guard for an NBA team, and he has thrived (as in, been one of the most efficient players in the whole league) in his role as a wing alongside Trae. But given how much we've struggled to find a backup for Trae, I think at least a test run of having Bogi play the point for the second unit is worth a try.

Thoughts?

Edited by niremetal
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I've been banging this drum for a while now, mostly falling on deaf ears. Not only Bogi, but Huerter as well. 

This is one of the big reasons I don't see backup PG as big of a need as most around here seem to think. 

Maybe draft a PG that can develop and be ready to fill a role once one of our 4 wings has to move on for salary reasons in a year or two. 

Other than that, Bogi and Kevin are fine serving as the initiators of the offense when Trae rests.

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Why do you guys think the offense cratered so badly when Trae was off the floor?  (Don't mistake my tone here - this is an open question not intended as a "come on" response.)  I would get it if we went from an elite offense to a more average one with him off.  But for most of the last 3 years we have gone from one of the very best to one of the very worst.  It seemed like that dynamic was in play this season when we averaged 122 points per 48 minutes with Trae on the floor and then fell 12.8 points when he stepped off. 

Seemed to get much better once we traded Rondo for Lou and there were plenty of games where Rondo wasn't available before then for Huerter and Bogi to run things.  I expect we will fall off some without Trae because he is an MVP talent but I don't see us as being adequate right now without him and that is why I still prioritize backup PG.  

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Bogi, Kevin and Cam have all tried that role before and only Bogi thrived in it.  His BBall IQ is very good. We won games with him doing that. However...we still need a bona back up PG. TJ McConnell would be my choice for a vet or Shariff Cooper would be my choice for a draft pick. 

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Bogi can do it, Kev, etc.... that's fine and dandy.

We need multiple PG's on the roster. At least 2 but preferably 3. If we find out Bogi can thrive running the 2nd unit, great. But we shouldn't go to in to an 82 game season without a plan in place if Trae gets hurt. We need viable options on the 2nd unit and on reserve. 

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2 hours ago, AHF said:

Why do you guys think the offense cratered so badly when Trae was off the floor?  (Don't mistake my tone here - this is an open question not intended as a "come on" response.)  I would get it if we went from an elite offense to a more average one with him off.  But for most of the last 3 years we have gone from one of the very best to one of the very worst.  It seemed like that dynamic was in play this season when we averaged 122 points per 48 minutes with Trae on the floor and then fell 12.8 points when he stepped off. 

Seemed to get much better once we traded Rondo for Lou and there were plenty of games where Rondo wasn't available before then for Huerter and Bogi to run things.  I expect we will fall off some without Trae because he is an MVP talent but I don't see us as being adequate right now without him and that is why I still prioritize backup PG.  

It looks like there weren't any 5-man rotations last year that played more than 26 minutes where Bogi was on the floor without one of the three guys whose primary position was PG (Trae, Lou, Goody). So I don't think it was ever really tried, Rondo's injuries notwithstanding.

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My short answer...

Because Both Bogi and Kev can be pressured when they have the ball.  Of course, both can do the lobs and the pick and roll... but as far as being legit ball handlers who can get us into and out of offensive sets... not so much.   I want to take a look at Dunn under the tutorship of Nate. 

 

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It's cap that Kev or Bogi don't have the ball handling. 

Also, how much less would our offense tank when it's Kev and Cam with the 2nd unit instead of Solo and Snell? I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess a LOT.

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The way I see it, having an adequate and reliable backup PG allows Bogi, Huerter etc. to remain in their roles and play to their best strengths. I take no issue with them as the 'lead guard' in spot duty - don't want it for an entire season because we HAVE TO. I'd rather it be an option only if needed in specific scenarios.

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58 minutes ago, JayBirdHawk said:

The way I see it, having an adequate and reliable backup PG allows Bogi, Huerter etc. to remain in their roles and play to their best strengths. I take no issue with them as the 'lead guard' in spot duty - don't want it for an entire season because we HAVE TO. I'd rather it be an option only if needed in specific scenarios.

I know it's the extreme case.... but after watching Holliday Hound our guards... and Phoenix's... it becomes important that you have a "real" PG in the game.  In the final game, Holliday destroyed Book (5 turnovers) because that's what he does against non PGs...  He's not the only defender like that in the NBA.   Like you said.. Spot Duty... but it would be good to have a guy who is used to the pressure of pressure defenses. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Diesel said:

I know it's the extreme case.... but after watching Holliday Hound our guards... and Phoenix's... it becomes important that you have a "real" PG in the game.  In the final game, Holliday destroyed Book (5 turnovers) because that's what he does against non PGs...  He's not the only defender like that in the NBA.   Like you said.. Spot Duty... but it would be good to have a guy who is used to the pressure of pressure defenses. 

I mean, that's not just an extreme case, because I'm not suggesting that we run with Bogi as our main PG. I'm suggesting using him as our primary initiator during times when Trae's off the floor--i.e., with the second unit. Ordinarily, our second unit will not be on the court much (if at all) with the opposing team's first unit. So you're not gonna have Holiday on the court much (if at all) during the times when Bogi would be initiating. Same with any other elite perimeter defender.

I still think folks are kind of overestimating the capabilities of what we can get from a backup PG that we can sign for the MLE. You're not going to get someone that Holiday can't shut down. You're not going to get someone who is a complete, reliable PG at all. Because those guys are rare enough that they aren't going to take a 10-12 minute per game role with the Hawks, when teams like the Lakers, Clippers, etc, can offer them either a starting role or a featured reserve role. Also, if we use the full MLE on a single backup PG, that leaves us with just the minimum and maybe the BAE (assuming we don't use any cap space) to find a backup C--and if we spend less than the full MLE, we'll be able to get even less.

So sure, sign the best PG we can given our need to shore up our big man rotation. I still don't think that'll be someone who actually could be a better playmaker for the second unit than Bogi 🤷‍♂️

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9 hours ago, RandomFan said:

I've been banging this drum for a while now, mostly falling on deaf ears. Not only Bogi, but Huerter as well. 

This is one of the big reasons I don't see backup PG as big of a need as most around here seem to think. 

Maybe draft a PG that can develop and be ready to fill a role once one of our 4 wings has to move on for salary reasons in a year or two. 

Other than that, Bogi and Kevin are fine serving as the initiators of the offense when Trae rests.

Great point--it doesn't have to be Bogi exclusively, but a Bogi/Huerter two-headed monster. I just don't see realistic choices at backup PG that could take on the bulk of that role better than they could, especially if we have Dunn and Mays around situationally.

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