Kings coach Dave Joerger does not consider Bogdan Bogdanovic a rookie for a couple reasons.
One, the Serbian shooting guard is 24, which nowadays makes him ancient compared to most rookies. Secondly, Bogdanovic has a lot of professional experience from his playing time in Europe.
Now Joerger wants Bogdanovic to not act like a rookie on the court. The Kings did not sign him to a three-year, $27 million contract in the summer to be shy, and that’s what he has been at times.
“I’m going to implore him to be a little bit more selfish – welcome to the NBA,” Joerger said. “He’s passing up some shots that I need him to take.”
The Kings do not have a dominant scorer to rely on, so it’s going to require a group effort to generate points most nights. If players like Bogdanovic turn down good shots, that takes the pressure off opposing defenses.
There were times last season when Joerger would simply yell from the sidelines for a player to “kick his (butt)” on offense. That usually meant DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay had the ball in a one-on-one situation and could simply overpower their defender.
No one is a clear butt kicker at this point, but it makes sense why Bogdanovic might be reluctant to shoot.
“Look at it from the psychological point of view,” Joerger said. “Here’s a new guy and he’s pretty good and he wants to fit in ... . We’re going to have some problems scoring the basketball. He’s a good shooter, he’s a good playmaker so I need him to score.”
So Joerger will continue to ask Bogdanovic to be selfish and not try to “fit in” so much.
“He knows how to play,” Joerger said. “He knows how to get open and we’re struggling getting open ... . He can make passes in pick-and-roll, he can make passes on the move, can pass and cut, play in the pick-and-roll.”
Fox update – Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox had a precautionary X-ray on his back Monday that was negative. He did not play in Monday’s preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Golden 1 Center because of a lower back contusion. He’s listed as day-to-day.
Fox was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s preseason loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Las Vegas. He landed hard on his back on a drive to the basket.
Settling on a lineup – Joerger has an idea of how his rotation will look for the Oct. 18 season opener against the Houston Rockets.
“Just trying to catch a rhythm,” Joerger said. “We have two games left after tonight. The last one on Friday night will be difficult. I think most guys don’t want to play in the last preseason game.”
The Kings play at the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday and finish the preseason Friday at the Golden State Warriors.
The Kings rested George Hill, Vince Carter, Garrett Temple, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and Bogdanovic against Portland. They each had their highest minute total of this preseason in Sunday’s game.