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Bojan Bogdanovic has best shot at being Nets starting guard

Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic talks to the media

Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic talks to the media during the fourth day of training camp in East Rutherford, N.J. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In only a matter of weeks, Bojan Bogdanovic's new teammates have become familiar with his sweet shooting stroke.

Same goes for the 6-8 Croatian's distinct attire. Such as his staple dressed-up look that features him tying a sweater around his neck.

"You know how that Euro thing is. It's always going to be an attention-grabber," Nets guard Jarrett Jack said Saturday. "They always got their little flair going and you know it always adds an element to the locker room for us to talk about."

Bogdanovic soon may become a topic of conversation elsewhere, too. As in around the league, given that he's currently on track to be the Nets' starter at shooting guard.

With coach Lionel Hollins indicating that he has no desire to tinker with the game-opening unit he's been using this preseason (once Brook Lopez returns from his sprained right foot), Bogdanovic appears entrenched in the backcourt opposite Deron Williams.

His combination of size and skill makes him an intriguing option, an appealing piece Hollins can use in a variety of ways.

"I've always said he was a basketball player, and he's shown that," Hollins said. "He doesn't run around and chase the ball. When he's open, he takes the shot. But he also can post up, which he got a lot of opportunities in China to do. He's just a basketball player. I don't know who said he was [strictly] a shooter."

"I liked him because I thought that he could come in, make the transition because he was a good basketball player."

Trying to assimilate himself into a new role on a new team while doing it in a new country hasn't been easy for the 25-year-old, who was born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He admittedly struggled with many of the little things early on.

Such as getting used to the difference between the NBA's ball and the one he played with overseas, the three-point arc being farther from the basket, the NBA's larger court and more set plays than he was accustomed to.

But it's all coming together for Bogdanovic. "I feel much more comfortable now, especially because I've played a lot of minutes," said Bogdanovic, who suited up for Fenerbahçe Ülker in the Turkish Basketball League the previous three seasons. "The guys have supported me, especially the veterans and our best players."

"So I feel really comfortable. First couple of days, I didn't feel like that. But day-by-day, I feel much better. This is a big opportunity for me [that] Coach is giving me. So I have to play good and get better and better every game to take this opportunity to play the minutes that he has for me."

Bogdanovic considers himself lucky because he has countryman Mirza Teletovic to show him the ropes. In all facets. Call them Teletovic Tips.

Take one of the offensive philosophies of Teletovic, who just loves hoisting up shots from the perimeter.

"From the corners in the NBA, the distance is shorter," Teletovic said. "So it's easier to shoot it when you are tired from the corners. So there's lots of things, little details.

"Just go to the corner."

Teletovic was almost like a real estate agent for Bogdanovic, too, instructing him to get a place in New Jersey near the Holland Tunnel. The breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline from Bogdanovic's apartment, as evidenced by the picture he posted on his Instagram account, proved he listened. Maybe Teletovic should get a commission.

"When he came in, he asked me what's the best place for me to live, where to buy furniture,'' Teletovic said. "Just certain things like when you go to the game, how much time do you need to get there, which way do you go? There's a lot of things that I had to experience by myself. But I think I can help out a lot with that.''

Similar to the way Bogdanovic wants to prove he can lend a talented hand to his teammates, living out a scenario he's been thinking about since bursting on to the European scene at an early age.

"This is my dream,'' Bogdanovic said, "was to come and play in the NBA. And now I feel very happy and proud every day to be here and come into practice, especially to play for Brooklyn.''

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