Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic named to 2019 FIBA World Cup All-Star team

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AP

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic named to 2019 FIBA World Cup All-Star team

On the Sacramento Kings, Bogdan Bogdanovic is the fourth or fifth name in the pecking order.

But at the recently concluded 2019 FIBA World Cup, the Kings reserve wing was the talk of the tournament.

In eight games for Serbia, Bogdanovic averaged 22.9 points on 55.6 percent shooting from the field. His 183 total points were the most scored by any player in the global tournament held in China.

For that, Bogdanovic was named to the 2019 FIBA World Cup All-Star team.

Bogdanovic was joined on the team by Magic guard Evan Fournier, Suns guard Ricky Rubio, Raptors center Marc Gasol and former NBA player Luis Scola.

The Kings and their fans are hoping Bogdanovic can carry his strong play into the 2019-20 NBA season.

[RELATED: Can Bogdanovic bring stardom back to Kings?]

After finishing with a 39-43 record last season, the Kings have aspirations of making the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Sacramento is expecting big things from De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and Harrison Barnes.

But if Bogdanovic emerges as another star, the Kings would be tough to deal with on a nightly basis.

Can Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic bring World Cup stardom back to Sacramento?

Can Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic bring World Cup stardom back to Sacramento?

Serbia finished off their 2019 FIBA World Cup run Saturday morning with a 90-81 victory over the Czech Republic. A fifth-place finish is not what the Serbs were hoping for when they entered the field in China. It was a disappointing showing for a team that came into the tournament with visions of gold.

Losses to perennial international powerhouses in Spain and Argentina proved to be the undoing of Serbia, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Sacramento Kings wing Bogdan Bogdanovic. In fact, the 27-year-old has been the talk of the tournament, despite his team’s early exit.

For the tournament, the smooth shooting guard averaged 22.9 points, 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 28 minutes per game. During his team’s eight contests, Bogdanovic knocked down 35-of-66 (53 percent) attempts from behind the arc and ran an incredible +100 overall in the plus/minus category.

Bogdanovic was the star of his team and possibly even the MVP of the tournament. He took ownership of his team and put on a show. More importantly for his team back in the NBA, he escaped the tournament without injury and looks ready to take another big step forward in his third season in the league.

It’s possible Bogdanovic will need to take it easy through training camp and the preseason schedule as he recovers not only from the World Cup, but the extreme travel schedule. He’ll fly to Sacramento and then back to India in the first week of October for the Kings’ preseason matchups against the Indiana Pacers.

The Kings have undoubtedly kept a close eye on Bogdanovic throughout the tournament to ensure that he returns to the States in good health, and they have to love what they are seeing on the court. Luke Walton is still learning his players, but like everyone else in Sacramento, he has to wonder if Bogdanovic can translate his international success to another step forward with the Kings.

This is the third straight summer Bogdnaovic has come to the Kings after playing in international competition. His rookie season in the league, Bogdanovic looked worn out early in the year as he adjusted to a new league. In his sophomore season, Bogdanovic missed 11 of the first 12 games after sustaining an injury during the EuroBasket tournament, undergoing knee surgery at the start of camp.

Now fully healthy, Bogdanovic will enter camp competing for minutes in a crowded rotation in Sacramento. The early plan is likely for Bogdanovic to be a key component in the second unit. He’ll have an opportunity to be an offensive leader of the group with veterans like Cory Joseph, Trevor Ariza and Nemanja Bjelcia flanking him.

How good can Bogdanovic be? It’s a question the Kings are anxious to learn.

He’s often drawn comparisons to former San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili, who spent years coming off the bench for Gregg Popovich’s club. Like Bogdanovic, Ginobili continued to star in international play as well as with his team in the NBA.

Prior to his third NBA season, a 27-year-old Ginobili led Argentina to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. That experience appeared to work as a catalyst for the player Ginobili became in the NBA. 

He would go on to make the All-Star team for the first time during the 2004-05 season and he became a vital member of a perennial championship contender in San Antonio.

The Kings can only hope that Bogdanovic will have a similar career trajectory to Ginobili’s. With any luck, his latest experience in World Cup play will give him the confidence to be a more assertive NBA player and to take ownership of the Kings like he has with the Serbian national team.

[RELATED: How Luke Walton could use Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield this year]

Sacramento could use a player that can score at will and makes his teammates better. They have seen flashes of this from Bogdanovic, but they need more.

There is an outline of what Bogdanovic can be. He’s a long way away from a real comparison to Ginobili, but if he can be the player he was for Serbia, he can be a difference-maker for the Kings.

Warriors' Draymond Green wants to play for Team USA in 2020 Olympics

Warriors' Draymond Green wants to play for Team USA in 2020 Olympics

The FIBA World Cup did not go as planned for Team USA.

After losing to France in the medal round Wednesday, the Americans doubled down on a disappointing performance and lost to Serbia on Thursday, ensuring they'll finish no better than in seventh place in the tournament. Granted, Team USA did secure a 2020 Olympic bid days earlier, but given the expectations, there's no debating that the American result was an utter failure.

Team USA had the most talent in the tournament, but not its most talented roster. That's because numerous superstars turned down the opportunity to compete on the international stage, preferring rather to recuperate and prepare for the upcoming NBA season.

In the aftermath of the loss to Serbia, sports talk shows immediately began wondering which stars, now understanding their necessity, would participate on the 2020 Olympic team. One of those stars -- Golden State's Draymond Green -- has already thrown his name into the hat.

"I do hope to play, and I think a lot of guys will want to play," Green said Thursday on CNBC's 'Power Money.' "The schedule this year was a little treacherous with the games that was in America, and also the travel to Australia, which is why I think a lot of guys dropped out. You know, a long ways to China. It was just a lot, and it also leads right into the season. Those guys will be coming back in the next couple days and we'll be two weeks away from training camp."

[RELATED: Draymond knows 'no one' will want to see Dubs in playoffs]

There's no question the Americans could have used Green in the World Cup, but from the sounds of it, the only reason they won't have his services in the next international competition will be if they don't want him.

"I think you'll see a lot of guys participating next year in the Olympics," Green continued, "and I hope to be one of those 12 guys."