Where will Bojan Bogdanovic settle in the Knicks’ rotation once at full strength?

New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) reacts during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are thrilled to have Bojan Bogdanovic and his fellow teammate Alec Burks in town for the second half of the 2023-24 NBA campaign. Bogdanovic’s arrival comes at the perfect time as the Knicks battle a plague of injuries that have ripped through their starting lineup and second unit.

While Bogdanovic will see a heavy workload prior to the All-Star break, which kicks off after the Knicks’ final game on Feb. 14. Once the roster returns to full health, there are questions as to how head coach Tom Thibodeau will divvy up minutes, and who will be the benefactors of his decisionmaking.

In his first game with the team, Bogdanovic underperformed in contrast with his brag-worthy season averages. He put up 11 points on 30% shooting from the field and 33% shooting from three in 33 minutes, failing to help the Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers as they fell 125-111 on the affair. Will this first impression cause him to lose favor over Burks, or the host of other guard/forward contributors vying for time?

Why Bojan Bogdanovic’s quiet debut is not a sign of things to come for the Knicks

The RotoWire staff (per CBS Sports) contextualized Bogdanovic’s slow start with the Knicks by highlighting this encouraging stat:

“The veteran forward has drained multiple three-pointers in 14 of his 16 games since the beginning of January, averaging 20.1 points, 3.3 threes, 3.0 boards, 2.3 assists, and 0.8 steals in 32.0 minutes a contest, but Bogdanovic may not see that kind of workload or usage once New York’s roster gets healthier,” RotoWire noted.

The fact that the veteran was able to dial in multiple attempts from downtown shows that a one-off game wasn’t even enough to hinder him from finding the bottom of the net altogether.

Pros and Cons for Bogdanovic playing with the Knicks’ starters and the second unit

When the Knicks get all their troops back at 100%, their starting lineup will be virtually cemented with Jalen Brunson, OG Anunoby, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. The only question lies with the two guard.

Coach Thibodeau has fluctuated with his deployment at the position for much of the year, first featuring now-Detroit Pistons guard Quentin Grimes as the starter before swapping him out for Donte DiVincenzo earlier in the season. Thibodeau has also moved Josh Hart around positionally, while Miles McBride has averaged 19.4 nightly minutes since Jan. 5 (and roughly the same prior to their injury bug metastasizing).

Bogdanovic is the best and most proven scorer of the bunch. He’s also the most efficient from outside. But, this could work both ways for him, as there are many mouths to feed in the starting lineup between Brunson, Randle, and Anunoby, and the Knicks’ bench has a void of volume scorers without Immanuel Quickley in town.

The Knicks are already an average team from distance, ranking No. 14 in three-pointers made (13 3PM) and three-point percentage (36.9%) per game this year. Should the Knicks see a regression in scoring or look inferior to top contenders in the East before the regular season concludes, Bogdanovic will likely find his way into the starting lineup. If the opposite comes to life, and Anunoby shows signs of taking the next step as a scorer, Bogdanovic may lead the Knicks’ bench as a top sixth man in the league.

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