Analyzing Bojan Bogdanovic's and Alec Burks' struggles with the Knicks: How can they adjust?

The Knicks were declared winners of this year’s NBA trade deadline after acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks in a trade with the Detroit Pistons. Five weeks later, that seems silly.

Starting a four-game road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers, the usual characters were factors in a double-digit win. Jalen Brunson led the way with 45 points. Josh Hart was up to his usual stat-sheet-stuffing ways with 15 rebounds, and Donte DiVincenzo knocked down two triples.

Another now-common occurrence for this Knicks team is Bogdanovic and Burks having quiet nights. Against Portland, Bogdanovic scored five points on 1-for-6 shooting in 14 minutes. Burks matched that scoring output but played just four minutes.

The Knicks have seen little from either player. Bogdanovic has been inconsistent. He’s experienced solid performances.

In wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s recorded at least 20 points. But in Tuesday night’s 106-79 victory against the Sixers, he was scoreless in 22 minutes and played 12 minutes against the Orlando Magic three games ago.

Burks is shooting just 31.3 percent from the field and 28.1 percent from the three-point line. He has played more than 20 minutes just twice with the Knicks since the trade and has not cracked more than 12 minutes in the past seven games.

What’s concerning is that the Knicks have been shorthanded for much of Bogdanovic and Burks’ brief tenure. One would think, with Julius Randle and OG Anunoby out for this key stretch, that Bogdanovic would’ve been a key cog in the rotation. But that hasn’t been the case.

Instead, Hart has played at least 40 minutes in 11 of the last 13 games and big man Precious Achiuwa has soaked up more playing time. Miles McBride has passed Burks in the backcourt rotation, too.

It’s not a complete surprise that Bogdanovic and Burks have experienced some difficulty receiving minutes in the Knicks rotation. The two players are probably the weakest defenders in the rotation right now.

It’s clear that head coach Tom Thibodeau prioritizes defense and rebounding over perimeter spacing. And neither player has been lights out on offense to justify a full commitment.

Throughout his career, Bogdanovic has proven he can operate in many different ways. He can be a spot-up shooter, a screener, a post-up threat against mismatches and an occasional ball handler out of the pick-and-roll.

Outside of DiVincenzo, Bogdanovic is the team’s best off-ball threat. He rarely has been used as a screener in any of the Knicks’ actions, and the Knicks don’t run off ball screens often enough to get him open looks.

He’s struggled to drive into the teeth of the defense. His drives per minute are down and his field-goal percentage on drives has declined since the trade, according to NBA Stats. He’s also turning the ball over constantly.

The Knicks offense is an adjustment for Bogdanovic. He rarely runs pick-and-rolls for a New York squad that heavily relies on isolations and dribble handoffs to create scoring opportunities. He has run more isolations with the Knicks than he has in Detroit, and that’s not his strength.

According to NBA Stats, he’s scoring just 0.64 points per possession on plays defined as isolations with the Knicks. Bogdanovic would be better suited putting the ball on the floor less and being put in more catch and shoot situations.

Burks rarely attacks the paint and doesn't go to the free-throw line as much as he did earlier in his career. Any offensive success he has is tied to him being able to make shots from the perimeter. According to Basketball Reference, just 7.8 percent of his shots come near the rim.

It’s still early, but the returns on the trade are not looking great. Bogdanovic (39.5 percent career three-point shooter) and Burks (38.3 percent) have not shot the ball as well as they have in the past.

Some of these issues would be resolved if they simply just make shots. But there are ways the club could make the game easier for them to adjust to and make an impact.