Bogdan Bogdanovic didn’t need to score much as his Serbian national team opened 2014 FIBA World Cup play with an 85-64 win against Egypt on Saturday. Group A, or the Group of Death as it’s known, isn’t named so because Egypt is supposed to be competitive, but it was nonetheless a solid start for Serbia and the Phoenix Suns’ 27th draft pick.
Bogdanovic scored just three points and went 1-for-3 from the floor. In his 22 minutes of play, he added four assists, a steal and a block while posting a team-best plus-23 plus-minus. Four Serbian teammates scored in double-figures, led by Milos Teodosic’s 15.
Things don’t get easier for Serbia, which turns around to play France on Sunday. Though Tony Parker isn’t available for the French, the squad will clearly be challenging for a medal and is likely to get out of the Group A play that also includes Spain, Brazil and Korea. France’s group of bigs in Rudy Gobert, Ian Mahinmi and Boris Diaw could be trouble, but for Bogdanovic, it’ll be the potential matchup with Nuggets guard Evan Fournier that will be the thing to watch. That, and Blazers swingman Nicolas Batum could match up on the young Serbian guard if he’s deemed a threat — Batum locked in on Slovenia’s Goran Dragic during last year’s EuroBasket tournament.