Kings and Celtics warm up with Stephon Clark's name on their backs
Kings coach Dave Joerger and several players spent a lot of the preseason saying Bogdan Bogdanovic was not really a rookie.
It was his first NBA season, but at 25 years old and with a lot of experience in big games in Europe, Bogdanovic wasn't like rookies who spent a year or two in college.
As this season winds down, Bogdanovic's body is reminding him this is his first time through an NBA schedule. His play has slipped recently and he's admittedly fatigued after shooting 2 of 10 for four points in Sacramento's 104-93 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday at Golden 1 Center.
Bogdanovic is shooting 14 of 43 (32.6 percent) in his last four games. He sat out last Monday's loss to Detroit with a sore left hamstring, too. That came after shooting 5 of 17 in a loss at Utah last Saturday.
"I can feel I'm a little bit tired, maybe more tired than other players," Bogdanovic said. "For sure I will be more ready next season and this summer will help me for sure. "
Bogdanovic has had his share of shining moments this season, but overall the Kings are 24-50, so it's hard for him to celebrate any individual success.
The Kings have lost six of their last 10 games and much of the talk is about the future, not the present that has a lot more losing that Bogdanovic is accustomed to.
Last year, Bogdanovic was playing in the Turkish League for Fenerbaçhe and would go on to win the EuroLeague Championship and First Team All-EuroLeague honors.
He also won a silver medal playing for Serbia in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
"I’m just trying to play the right way but obviously it doesn’t work," Bogdanovic said. "So I have to change, first myself, I’ve played bad recently. I’m always honest with myself and I have to play better, I have to step up. "
Even when the Kings do win games at this point of the season, it's hard for Bogdanovic to make too much of it.
He yearns for the pressure of competing to improve playoff positioning and a chance to win important games.
This season, wins aren't celebrated nearly as much by those not on the team because they lessen the Kings' chances of moving up in the NBA draft lottery in May.
"It's tough," Bogdanovic said. "No matter you win, you lose, nothing changes, you're out of the playoffs. It's not like you don't have motivation, but when you win you don't feel that feeling of an important win."
The loss to Boston (50-23) was another opportunity for Joerger to reference how the team needs to get bigger and stronger next season.
After a slow start defensively, the Celtics locked down and held Sacramento to 33 points on 14 of 37 from the field (37.8 percent) in the second half. The Kings shot 1 of 12 from the 3-point line after halftime.
Terry Rozier lit up the Kings fora career-high 33 points. Buddy Hield led the Kings with 21 points.
"They were difficult for us to get through," Joerger said. "And where can you get a bucket—you've got to go in the paint or you've got to have somebody that can beat somebody (one-on-one). So we've got to keep developing those skills."
Bogdanovic realizes he has to use the offseason to be ready for the grind of an 82-game season so he doesn't experience the same sort of fatigue at this point next season.
"It's offseason, but it's workout season actually," Bogdanovic said.