DBB on 3: Figuring out Bojan Bogdanovic’s fit with Detroit Pistons

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Well, this came out of left field.

With training cam right around the corner, Detroit Pistons GM Troy Weaver struck again, trading Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee to the blowing-it-up Utah Jazz for veteran sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic. The DBB crew dove into analyzing the trade and figuring out the fit:

1. First things first, what are your thoughts on the Detroit Pistons trading Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee to the Utah Jazz for Bojan Bogdanovic?

Sean Corp: This is perhaps the most patient trade of Troy Weaver’s tenure, and maybe not coincidentally, I think it also represents the most lopsided “win,” if winning a trade matters at all. Not that he’s been fleeced before, but he’s certainly aggressive, and he’s certainly not shy about sending out value to get what he wants. This trade is a little different. It feels like sitting back and taking advantage of a situation that presented itself. The Jazz were motivated to cut money and tank, and the Pistons had a surplus of pieces at positions where minutes were firmly committed elsewhere and a glaring lack of depth and shooting at the power forward position. Enter Bojan Bogdanovic who solves both those issues and also represents an expiring contract (saving Detroit at least $3 million off next year’s cap), and it didn’t cost him any draft assets. This is nothing short of a clear win of a move by Weaver.

Lazarus Jackson: Big fan of the trade. It fixes A: The lack of shooting around Cade (Bojan is a consistent high-30s % shooter from downtown) B: The Big Man Glut (One fewer big = more minutes for the remaining guys) C: The Wing Deficit (now the Pistons CAN play Isaiah Livers and the like instead of being COMPELLED to play Isaiah Livers because they don’t have any other consistent options on the wing).

Ben Gulker: I like it! It addresses the most obvious roster need – shooting, gives the Pistons another desirable asset at the trade deadline, frees up even more money for the summer of 2023, and doesn’t sacrifice future assets.

Brady Fredericksen: I totally understand why Danny Ainge would deal Bogdanovic, but… for Kelly O and Saben? That’s odd. I’m down with it. It helps the Pistons and Jazz — Detroit gets a shooter and legitimate scorer to utilize as a starter or off the bench, and Utah gets an Ainge favorite in Kelly O and gets worse as they prepare to tank for Victor Wembanyama.

Justin Lambregtse: I think it’s an absolute win. Acquiring a nearly 40% shooter from deep who scored 18 points per game on a 50-win team should cost you more than a couple guys who probably won’t be playing much. Yes, he’s not great defensively, but his floor spacing is very valuable.

Chris Daniels: I like it but wouldn’t get it for Utah even if Danny Ainge weren’t running the show, the man who just got a gazillion picks and assets for Gobert and Mitchell. Could this be a part of a larger, multi-team deal still getting ironed out?

Kyle Metz: I absolutely love this trade! The Pistons just got a wing/forward who can shoot for a guy they were likely going to cut and another who isn’t as good and plays at a crowded position. This move balances the roster, brings even greater flexibility to the rotations, and adds another vet with playoff experience to aid the development of the young core. The additional $3M in likely cap room this summer it creates is just the sprinkle on top. This might be the best trade in terms of net value of Troy Weaver’s tenure.

Steven Pelletier: Good trade that I THINK has two big reasons behind it. #1 spacing so Ivey and Cade DO NOT have to one of the primary floor spacers. And #2 this is someone who can be flipped again at the deadline to teams needing more shoot in the playoffs with an extra 1st.

2. Bogdanovic has been a staple for some of the Utah Jazz’s recent contenders as a floor-spacing forward. How do you see him fitting with the Pistons?

Sean Corp: See floor, stretch floor. See ball, shoot ball. Wash, rinse, repeat. Bogdanovic is a capable veteran who represents the biggest mix of high volume and high efficiency from 3-point land since … Chauncey Billups? Outside of Saddiq Bey’s rookie year, no Piston has multiple seasons of at least 450 3-point attempts and at least 38% from 3. And no player since Mr. Big Shot has three such seasons as Bogdanovic has. He’s going to instantly earn Dwane Casey’s trust, he’s going to be relied on to shoot a ton of perimeter shots, he has the chance to really open up the floor for Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes. It could be a surprisingly big move for Detroit, which is not usually the case for a “minor” trade in September.

Lazarus Jackson: …as a floor-spacing forward? He can do more; he can post up smaller guys and handle a little in PNR / iso situations, but the biggest thing he adds to this team is another option defenses have to honor on the weak side of a Cade Cunningham PNR.

Ben Gulker: Hand in glove. No need to over analyze this one. It’s a great fit.

Brady Fredericksen: He fits anywhere. He can start at the four — where he played almost exclusively last season — or come off the bench and give them some pop. I’d prefer he is a starter so Cade Cunningham has more room to operate, but I think he fits in either role. I’ve said for years that this team needs a bucket-getter. Bojan’s shooting and overall scoring prowess is exactly that. Frankly, I don’t see a huge overall drop in basketball production from Bogdanovic and Jerami Grant. Sure, they sacrifice some defense, but in turn get high-level shooting and scoring.

Justin Lambregtse: I see him filling the same role, without the contender part. He likely isn’t around when the Pistons are contenders, but he is useful now. I’m not sure whether he starts or comes off the bench, but whatever happens, he will help space the floor and provide scoring punch.

Chris Daniels: He’s another starting caliber vet (along with Burks) whose floor spacing is more proven than the outgoing Olynyk. Should be great as a starter or off the bench.

Kyle Metz: Bogdanovic can move between wing and forward positions while providing floor spacing and good enough defense to not be played off the floor. His presence allows Casey to roll out fewer lineups where Bagley, Stewart, Duren, and Noel are having to play next to each rather than with a more natural power forward. It also gives him the freedom to move Burks into the starting lineup, if Ivey struggles early, without completely sacrificing spacing in the second unit. Finally, as stated in the last question, Bogdanovic will bring playoff experience this young team can glean from as they start to push for those opportunities in the near future.

Steven Pelletier: Stretch 4 with little to no D. Bojan will turn 34 this season.

3. Does trading for Bogdanovic change your ultimate outlook on the Pistons’ ceiling as a team this season?

Sean Corp: The Pistons might win one or two extra games, but the real value lies in the clarity it creates within the roster and the anticipated roles of those expected to get minutes. It means the Pistons will be less reliant on playing a center out of position (see Bagley, Marvin or Stewart, Isaiah) and it also means the team won’t be absolutely reliant on players like Bey and Isaiah Livers to take a huge leap and hold their own among the league’s bruising power forwards. It helps the young players fit into their roles, play to their strengths by complementing their weaknesses and adds a reliable veteran to help a young roster through the ups and downs of a season. What’s not to love?

Lazarus Jackson: No. I still think this team COULD make the play-in, but it’s more up to the bottom of the East playoff picture than what Detroit accomplishes this season. What I expect Bogdanovic to do is make the wheels spin a little faster when things are going well, to make things easier in a Cade Cunningham starting lineup.

Ben Gulker: I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would have struggled with the initial 28.5 over/under from Vegas. But now? I think anyone who bet the over should be feeling pretty good. Chasing the play-in still seems unlikely without some giant leaps from some of the young guys, but adding Bogdanovic certainly makes the team better.

Brady Fredericksen: I’ve been bullish on this team’s ceiling all summer. Most of that stems from my expectations for Cade to take a star-type turn, but the addition of Bojan adds fuel to the fire. I’m not sure they’ll be a 43 win team in the Play-In Tournament, but I think if things go well and they hang onto these vets, they could flirt with 35-40 wins. Adding good players around your growing core of Cade, Saddiq Bey and Jaden Ivey is not a bad thing. And, hey, if this doesn’t lead to wins, you can find a contender who’s willing to buy on Bogdanovic. It’s a win-win.

Justin Lambregtse: I don’t think it changes things much. The Pistons are probably going to play the young guys with a few of their useful veterans and see what happens. Maybe they surprise people and fight for a play in spot. Or they are still bad and flip Bogdanovic at the deadline and get a high pick.

Chris Daniels: He’s immediately a better player then Olynyk so it would seem to suggest a win or two boost minimum, more if he clicks and that helps accelerate the development of the young guys. But overall my main question is how long will he stay a Piston?

Kyle Metz: I think it has to. He is unquestionably better than the players who were sent out. He plays a position of need and has a skill set that was not only scarce on this team, but one that every team in the league covets. I expect at least 3-5 more wins. But even if those extra wins don’t come, I think the way they play will look a lot more like a good team than it would’ve before this trade.

Steven Pelletier: The MotorCade still tuning the engine and suspension. It’s all about helping the youngins grow imo. Bring in a vet that doesn’t need the ball in his hands to let Cade and Ivey cook. Second year and rookie year guards still equal 20-30 wins. Go look up KD and Russ’s first year together. Their second year was pretty good tho…

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