Sometimes people just hit it off. Best buddies from the start, and it’s undeniable.
Such is the case with Bodgan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox. Though the Kings lost to the Phoenix Suns 117-115 Monday night, the synergy between Bogdanovic and Fox as a duo off the bench was impossible to ignore and sure to generate intrigue.
Fox scored a season-high 19 and Bogdanovic tallied 12 points in his regular-season debut. The Kings rallied from 22 points down thanks largely due to their contributions from the backcourt.
Both are rookies, but neither is a wide-eyed first-year player struggling to find his way. Fox’s basketball intelligence already ranks among the best on the team according to coach Dave Joerger.
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Bogdanovic is 25, ancient for a rookie, and a veteran of the EuroLeague.
And when they are together on the floor, their chemistry is uncanny.
“We have great communication on the floor; he’s capable of doing so many things,” Bogdanovic said. “He’s so versatile and we want to listen to each other. … Communication is the most important if you want to do something great, and we’re great competitors.”
Fox was just as complimentary about Bogdanovic.
“We’re on the court so much together and he’s such a smart player and he’s so good,” Fox said. “Chemistry with us is through the roof right now, and I feel like it will just get better.”
The Kings’ plan was to surround Fox with veterans to foster his growth. It just so happens one of those vets is a rookie.
“We haven’t played a lot, but as far as communication, he’s an older rookie,” Fox said. “We don’t even look at him as a rookie. He just talks like he’s a vet. He hasn’t been in the NBA but he’s been a pro for so long so he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s kind of like my vet on the court.”
Bogdanovic and his teammates expect him to look better as his conditioning improves. He missed his last nine shots against the Suns as fatigue set in. Bogdanovic had not played since spraining his right ankle Oct. 12 in a preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Still, he fit in with the Kings and did not look out of sorts on either end of the floor.
“Just being an NBA player,” said Kings guard Garrett Temple of what he saw from Bogdanovic. “A guy who can really play the game, who can really create off pick-and-roll, understands the game both offensively and defensively. Great eye, he can shoot it. As he gets into game shape even more he’s going to be even better.”
The praise was nice, but Bogdanovic wasn’t exactly in the mood to be complimented after a loss.
But in the big picture, he and the Kings expect it will only get better for him on the court.
“I’m just mad at myself,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t score on some of my shots in the second half. But that’s basketball, sometimes you score, sometimes you miss. You’ve got to keep working hard.”