The Detroit Pistons made a somewhat surprising move yesterday, trading Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee for Bojan Bogdanovic of the Utah Jazz.
The move was surprising mostly because of the cost, as it seemed like Utah could have gotten a better package for a very reliable player who could have undoubtedly put one of the contenders over the top.
But he’s headed to Detroit instead, a move that signifies the Pistons aren’t tanking and will at least try to make incremental improvement next season. Whether that happens is yet to be seen, but if it doesn’t Detroit still has a nice trade asset in Bojan Bogdanovic, who they could flip at the deadline for assets.
The trade gives the Pistons a more balanced roster, as they had too many centers and not enough forwards, which this move should help.
Many people believe that Bogdanovic will instantly be inserted into the starting lineup, though that is not for certain and there are plenty of possibilities for coach Dwane Casey. In fact, there are still as many question marks around the starting lineup and depth chart as there was before the trade, maybe more.
Of course, the Pistons could just put Bogdanovic on the bench and run with the starting five that many had pencilled in before the trade:
- Cade Cunningham
- Jaden Ivey
- Saddiq Bey
- Marvin Bagley III
- Isaiah Stewart
We may still see this group to start the season, but the starting lineup and depth chart will be fluid, and coach Casey can try a lot of different combinations to see what works.
For the purposes of this, I am just going to look at the 10-man rotation, but Nerlens Noel and Jalen Duren will also be involved, fighting it out for minutes as a third center and guys like Kevin Knox and Cory Joseph will make their case for minutes as well.
Possible Detroit Pistons’ starting lineup and depth chart #1
Here is the group I would like to see when the season begins:
- Cade Cunningham/Killian Hayes
- Jaden Ivey/Alec Burks
- Saddiq Bey/ Hamidou Diallo
- Bojan Bogdanovic/ Isaiah Livers
- Isaiah Stewart/Marvin Bagley III
This starting five allows the Pistons to spread out their shooting, keeping two shooters around Hayes, MBIII and Hamidou in the second unit. It allows Cade and Ivey to start the season together and start building the chemistry that will hopefully lead to an All-Star backcourt.
It also breaks up the Stewart/Bagley III front court, which has huge question marks, as neither guy can really shoot and neither of them is really a power forward. I would be happy to never see Stewart or MBIII trying to play the four.
The downside to this is that it leaves Cade and Ivey without a real lob threat in the starting five and leaves the Pistons pretty slow at the forward position, as neither Bey nor Bogdanovic are great at defending quicker small forwards.
But Detroit has plenty of other options.