Bojan Bogdanovic wore a brace on his surgically repaired wrist for all of a game or two before scrapping it because he hated how it felt. Since then, he’s had kinesiology tape on in various applications. But he hates that, too.
Still, he’s willing to try a lot of things if they’ll more quickly help him get comfortable on the basketball court again.
“I don’t like any tape on my body, [but] I’m just trying to figure out what works best for me mentally and then for my wrist, as well,” Bogdanovic said. “We’re trying to tape my wrist a different way every single practice to find a way. I’m still more confident, more comfortable without anything, but still, I got to protect it.”
As the second-year Jazz forward has struggled with his shooting and scoring in the early going of this season — he’s down about 7 points per game, 7% on field goals, and 6% on 3-pointers from his 2019-20 marks — many Jazz fans have wondered if permanent physical issues now exist following the surgery Bogdanovic had to repair a torn ligament in his shooting wrist.
Coach Quin Snyder said the problem is not with Bogey’s wrist (“I don’t know how well everybody’s informed on this, but the surgery was a success, there is no risk of damage,” he said. “They’ve stayed on top of that the whole time, so he’s not in harm’s way in any situation.”), but with his mind.
“Anybody that comes back from injury, there’s a psychological component that’s involved. You have to overcome that,” Snyder said. “And then in his case, not having played for as long as he did may be the biggest thing. There’s an acclimation period, learning to play through soreness.”
And it’s certainly been a halting, sporadic process to this point.
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After hitting 5 of 9 from deep and scoring 23 against the Thunder, he went a combined 3 for 17 from the field and 0 of 8 beyond the arc in scoring nine total points vs. the Suns and Clippers. He torched the Spurs for 28 points on 10 of 13 overall and 6 of 7 from the 3-point line, then notched a combined 10 points on 4-for-17 shooting against the Nets and Knicks.
He knows the results he wants are not there yet, but he’s trying to remain patient and encouraged.
“The way I’m shooting the ball right now, you can see by the percentage that it’s not what we all expect and are expecting,” Bogdanovic said. “But I’m still confident that I’m going to start to play better, shoot the ball better.”
He also pointed to his declining free-throw rate, and how he’s been chasing bailout fouls from refs on his post-ups rather than more directly pursuing baskets.
“I think that I am looking for a call more than I’m trying to be aggressive,” Bogdanovic said. “I have to change that, I have to attack the rim. And then if calls happen, they happen. But I cannot wait for referees to give me something that I don’t deserve.”
In the meantime, everyone on the team has his back.
Snyder noted that “nobody’s more supportive of him than his teammates and myself and the coaching staff.” And center Rudy Gobert said no one wants him to stop shooting.
“I think the main thing for him — and for all of us — is just to stay confident, especially as a shooter,” Gobert said. “And he knows better than anyone — some games you’re not going to make shots, but regardless of if the shots go down or not, you’ve got to keep doing what you do.”
Snyder, for one, is convinced that Bogdanovic has the fortitude to work his way through these struggles.
“He’s about the toughest guy that I’ve been around as a player,” Snyder said. “… He’s a competitor, he’s a talented player, and I think over time, he’ll be back to where he wants to be. And if he’s not there right now, he’s still pretty darn effective, [even] not being where he will be in another month. He’s further along than he was a month ago. So that’s a process that takes place, and it’s not an easy one.”