OKC Thunder gain edge over Jazz with Bogdanovic injury news

Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz drives around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder during a game . (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz drives around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder during a game . (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

With Utah Jazz forward, Bojan Bogdanovic lost for the season it improves the odds of the OKC Thunder winning the first-round series if NBA action resumes.

On the night the NBA suspended play the OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz was about to tip off for a match that would determine who would reside in fourth by night’s end.

That match was postponed due to Rudy Gobert‘s positive COVID-19 test as he became patient zero for the NBA.

Entering the March 11th match the growing belief here at Thunderous Intentions was the Jazz was a perfect first-round opponent for OKC. Regardless of whether the Thunder finished with the fourth or fifth seed, our writing team felt confident the final result would find OKC making amends for the first-round upset loss two seasons ago.

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That said, a series between these squads would be highly competitive. Rising star Donovan Mitchell would pose ample issues for Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Steven Adams would need every bit of his talents to contend with two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.

Although Mike Conley has struggled to integrate into the Jazz system he was showing signs of meshing just prior to the suspension. Plus the Jazz offered two x-factor players who could light it up and score in droves via Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson.

The Jazz has arguably been hit the hardest during the suspension. Gobert’s initial positive test had far-reaching implications as star Mitchell also tested positive. The big man’s cavalier approach to the team warnings about the virus and subsequent mockery of them didn’t sit well with the public. And, reportedly this also caused some issues in the relationship with Gobert and Mitchell.

The Jazz went on a hot streak winning 15 of 16 games from December 11th through to January 14th. Those matches featured 11 lottery teams and three of the four other wins came versus the seventh and eighth-seeded Nets and Magic. The schedule segment after that period produced a more mediocre record of 13-11 with six wins and six losses against the seeded opponents.

Subsequently, Utah looked closer to a .500 team than their earlier record indicated. During the big win streak, Bojan Bogdanovic was critical to the winning margin posting an average of 21.4 points per game. He dipped slightly to 19.1 points per game through the last 24 games but was shooting a robust 41.7 percent from the perimeter.

So the news on Monday that Bogdanovic will undergo season-ending wrist surgery should have OKC Thunder fans eager to draw the Jazz in the first round if play resumes.

As per our FanSided sister site The J-Notes, writer Zachary Padmore notes the injury was sustained early in the season.

"The team announced that the injury was a ruptured scapholunate ligament. He suffered the injury during the early stages of the season."

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Clarkson joined the Jazz in December, playing in 10 of the games during the win streak and posted an average of 15 points per game. He improved to 15.8 points per game during the last 24 matches and was shooting 37.8 percent from deep on 5.6 attempts per game. The question is how the loss of the floor spacing Bogdanovic will affect his game as well as Conley and Mitchell.

Ultimately, this is terrible news for the Jazz who relied on Bogdanovic to provide secondary scoring behind Mitchell. Moreover, the small forward is an underrated playmaker for the Jazz and without him more will be expected from Joe Ingles who is the only other small forward on the roster.

Conversely, the Thunder stand to benefit from this situation and their odds of moving into the second round just got a big shot in the arm.

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