Indiana Pacers: Bojan Bogdanovic’s ascent reflects 3 franchise mistakes

Bojan Bogdanovic (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Bojan Bogdanovic (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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While Bojan Bogdanovic is no longer donning an Indiana Pacers uniform, I still closely monitor the beloved Croatian with the Utah Jazz, presumably just like most Indy fans. After all, the sweet-shooting scorer was a big part of the team’s success in recent years, serving as one of the catalysts of the franchise towards rediscovering its competitive spirit.

From 2017 to 2019, Bogey, as we fondly call him, was a constant breath of stability to a core that was naturally and due to injuries, inadvertently, reshaping in multiple ways. Initially brought in to fill in the starting small forward role brought about by the tumultuous exit of former franchise centerpiece Paul George, most fans, including me, most likely never expected that his subtle entrance would yield ecstatic results.

Bojan Bogdanovic lit a fire for the Indiana Pacers in the not-so-distant past

In his first season, aside from an airheaded Boston fumble, Bogdanovic was a perfect complement to Victor Oladipo’s abrupt rise to stardom. As the team’s resident gunner, he embraced the bigger role and recorded career-highs across the board. In the playoffs, he eked out a memorable performance in Game 3 against Cleveland. While they eventually succumbed to the eventual East champs, the season was a bright sign of things to come for Indiana.

In his second season, Bogdanovic took it to another level. As the secondary option, he recorded an impressive 18.0 points per game on a tremendous 49.7/42.5 shooting split from the field and three-point range. The Pacers were poised for what seemed like a deep playoff run, going as high as 32-15 in the season, until a brutal injury to Oladipo left Indiana dangling as the team limped towards the finish line and were eventually swept out of the first-round.

As the Indiana Pacers aptly revamped the roster, the prized Croatian left for greener pastures in Utah, with his improvement on a steady momentum. Now in his fifth playoffs, Bogdanovic is one of the leaders bannering the Jazz’s title aspirations. Seeing Bojan succeed is pleasing to the eyes, but in retrospect, his ascent as a two-way player reflects some  franchise mistakes that got the Indiana Pacers currently stuck in the middle. Here are three of them.