With news breaking that the Minnesota Timberwolves have acquired their backup point guard, Monte Morris, all eyes are now on obtaining a sharpshooting wing.
One name that has been linked to the Wolves is the Atlanta Hawks' Bogdan Bogdanović. Let’s take a look at how he ranks statistically amongst his peers and compared to the current roster.
Bogdanović excels as a 3-point shooter. Looking at overall 3-point shooting talent (combination of shot quality, shot creation, and shot making), he is in the top five amongst all 300-plus off-ball wings with a 3-point shot talent score of 0.9. Amongst off-ball wings on the Minnesota roster, Nickeil Alexander-Walker is the highest at only 35th with 0.05 shot talent.
Bogdanović is also one of the most heavily guarded wings on the perimeter (see below chart, only the Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson is less open on the perimeter). Were he to play for the Wolves, the Hawks guard should see more open looks, especially when he shares the floor with Anthony Edwards and/or Karl-Anthony Towns.
If he doesn’t get the open looks, that means the defense is choosing to limit his shots instead of clogging the paint and helping on Minnesota stars Edwards and Towns' drives, which will help tremendously with spacing.
Comparison to the Wolves' current wing/guard depth
One of the best advanced metrics for measuring overall performance and value is the LEBRON index, a creation of bball-index.com.
"“Put simply, LEBRON evaluates a player’s contributions using the box score (weighted using boxPIPM’s weightings stabilized using Offensive Archetypes) and advanced on/off calculations (using Luck-Adjusted RAPM methodology) for a holistic evaluation of player impact per 100 possessions on-court.”"- bball-index.com
Bogdanović’s offensive LEBRON has been significantly higher than all of Minnesota's current wings nearly every season of his career.
Unsurprisingly, the tradeoff with Bogdanović comes on the defensive end. He ranks last amongst the Wolves' wings in defensive LEBRON. However, he is much closer to average on defense, whereas on offense he is a clear positive outlier.
Looking at the full package, he is first in LEBRON amongst the comparison group.
Moreover, despite his defensive limitations, he is fourth amongst all 300-plus off-ball wings in steals per 75 possessions and first amongst the comparison group, displaying his ability to make plays on the less glamorous end of the floor.
A big contributor to these steals is his ability to defend and disrupt the perimeter passing lanes.
Bogdanović knows how to position himself within a defensive scheme to disrupt passing lanes whenever possible. This is important for the Wolves, as many players opt to look to perimeter shooters when they are met by the stifling Rudy Gobert in the paint.
The weakest part of his defense is his isolation defense, but as you can see Jaden McDaniels and Alexander-Walker more than make up for that.
This team is in dire need of help from the bench on the offensive end. The Wolves are shooting over 39 percent from deep, second in the NBA. However, their 3-point volume is low, at only 31.5 per game, 27th in the league. Adding a shooter like Bogdanović would help get the volume up without sacrificing efficiency.
Bogdanović fills a needed role as a superb 3-point shooter, floor spacer, and opportunistic defender. If the Wolves have the capital to acquire him, then it should be a no-brainer. His $18.7 million cap hit will prove tricky if they do try to add him to the roster, and without first-round draft capital, they could be outbid. Nonetheless, his exceptional fit on this roster makes it worth pursuing.