Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will undergo season-ending wrist surgery, which could result in a significant hit to the team’s title hopes if play resumes.
Before the NBA season halted due to the coronavirus pandemic back in March, the Utah Jazz found themselves as the four-seed in the Western Conference and appeared to be a dark horse candidate for a postseason run. However, news broke on Monday from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that starting forward Bojan Bogdanovic would be undergoing season-ending wrist surgery from an injury suffered in January.
The likelihood of the NBA season returning has been in jeopardy for a lengthy period, and if it were to resume, Bogdanovic’s absence would be a significant blow for the Utah Jazz. In the first year of a four-year, $73 million deal, the 31-year-old forward averaged career-highs in points and assists, with 20.2 and 2.1 respectively, while having tied his career-best with 4.1 rebounds per game.
With his shooting averages having consisted of 44.7 percent field goal shooting and an impressive 41.4 percent from behind the arc, Bogdanovic sparked some much-needed offense for his new team.
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The Jazz initially expected Mike Conley to be the third option on this team alongside Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but he declined significantly, having had his worst season since 2011-12. With Conley having struggled, Bogdanovic stepped up immensely for this team and solidified himself as a lethal scoring option for them.
At full-strength, this Utah Jazz team might have been a four-seed, but they still remained very underrated. The Jazz were certainly not the favorites to come out of the Western Conference, but could undoubtedly have proved troublesome down the road in the NBA playoffs for opposing teams, had they happened when originally scheduled.
With Bojan Bogdanovic now set to miss significant time with his right wrist surgery, the Utah Jazz could be in trouble if the NBA does indeed resume this season. Without their second-leading scorer, the only one besides Donovan Mitchell to average 20 or more points per game, there will be a significant void that needs filling in their offense.
Bogdanovic contributed a significant amount of offense for the Jazz this season, as he was one of two players in the league to average 20 or more points while shooting 40 percent from 3-point territory and 90 percent on free-throws. The other was Khris Middleton of the league-best Milwaukee Bucks, not bad company at all.
Next in line on the small forward depth chart for Utah is Royce O’Neale, who averaged 6.3 points, and Georges Niang, who averaged 5.8 points per game this season. With neither of them having been prolific scorers, the Jazz could find themselves in a problematic situation offensively.
Still, even without Bogdanovic, the team should not be ruled out entirely from a postseason run, as this roster is fantastically crafted from top to bottom. This injury could open more minutes for Jordan Clarkson, who was on a tear offensively before the season halted, and seasoned veteran Joe Ingles.
The Jazz could still undoubtedly be a postseason team without Bogdanovic in the starting lineup, but without the 31-year-old, it is hard to imagine they could make that dark horse run many projected before the season. If the remainder of the NBA season indeed gets canceled, this surgery will all be worth it as the forward would likely be ready to go by the time that next season starts, whenever that might be.
With Bogdanovic locked up for 3 more years, this surgery should not be of significant concern long-term. If he returns healthy next season, the Utah Jazz could be in the same position, if not better, to make a real title run.