Throughout Utah’s rise to prominence over the past six seasons, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have received a lot of praise for being the leaders.
They’re both three-time all-stars, widely considered among the best at their respective position groups regarding the rest of the league. Mitchell is knocking on the door of superstardom after putting together an all-NBA caliber season, while Gobert has won three awards for defensive player of the year.
Another name who gets a lot of recognition is head coach Quin Snyder — and rightfully so. One of the brightest basketball minds in the world, Snyder is a basketball savant who’s helped turn the Jazz into perennial playoff contenders.
But lost amongst the shuffle of the talents of Mitchell and Gobert and the genius of Snyder is a player who’s as arguable as valuable as all three of them — even if he doesn’t get the same sort of recognition.
It is no surprise that as the Jazz have gone from playoff contender to title contender, Bojan Bogdanovic joined the roster. He’s been the key to unlocking the talents of Mitchell and Gobert and vital to the success of Snyder’s offensive and defensive philosophies.
He averaged 18.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on the season, shooting 45.5% from the floor and 38.7% from three-point territory. He also moved up to fifth all-time in Jazz history with 550 made three-pointers, just 139 behind Gordon Hayward for the fourth spot.
What makes him the perfect complement in many ways for this Jazz team is that he’s a player who doesn’t care about recognition.
In a day and age where individual accolades typically take prominence over team success, Bogdanovic is the outlier. He’s someone who loves the game of basketball, just wanting to play and help Utah in whichever way he can.
So while Mitchell and Gobert get all the headlines, Bogdanovic is the player who makes all of it possible.
Whether off the dribble or on the receiving end of the pass, his elite shooting is essential for both of Utah’s all-stars. It forces defenses to spread the floor, allowing Mitchell to easily get into the paint and find Gobert for easy dunks. Defensively, his size (6-foot-7, 225) and footwork allow him to defend multiple positions, allowing Gobert to do what he does and roam the paint like an animal.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 3, 2022
With Utah’s season on the line, his greatness is why Snyder drew up a play that put the ball in Bogdanovic’s hands. Although his three-pointer would come up short and the Jazz’s season came to an end in game six of their first-round series with Dallas, the shot itself was one that Snyder would choose every time.
“Bojan (Bogdanovic) is as clutch a player as you’ll see. … You’ve seen him hit big shot after big shot,” Snyder said. “There’s no better guy to have take that shot. … Everyone in the locker room would want him to have that shot at that time.”