The Detroit Pistons have a more balanced roster after the trade for Bojan Bogdanovic, but plenty of questions about the rotation still remain.
The biggest one will be whether Bogdanovic is going to start, and if so, who is going to get pushed the the bench. Coach Dwane Casey has a tough job this season and not much time to figure it out, as training camp starts next week.
Prior to the trade for Bojan Bogdanovic, this was the starting lineup most thought we would see, though this certainly wasn’t set in stone:
- Cade Cunningham
- Jaden Ivey
- Saddiq Bey
- Marvin Bagley III
- Isaiah Stewart
The big issue with this is that neither Stewart nor Bagley III are really power forwards, so putting Bogdanovic in the starting five makes sense. It’s no guarantee that he is going to be there, but if he is, who is going to get pushed to the bench?
Detroit Pistons: Marvin Bagley III to the bench
The most likely candidate is Marvin Bagley III, who is not a power forward (despite so many people putting him there) and would be a better fit with the second unit as the center.
Bringing him off the bench would allow him to do what he does well, which is score in the post, and he would benefit Killian Hayes by giving him a lob threat to work with in the pick and roll.
If MBIII starts, he’d likely be the fourth scoring option, which negates his strength, as he is not going to be happy running up and down the floor if he is not getting regular touches. He can get those off the bench and won’t be tasked with guarding the other team’s best big.
Isaiah Stewart to the bench
There are many fans who don’t believe that Isaiah Stewart is a starting center in the NBA and that Bagley III or even Jalen Duren should start in his place.
I honestly think Stewart’s defensive versatility is being underrated at this point, but I’ll play along.
Moving Stewart to the bench would give the Pistons a dynamic starting five offensively, as every guy in it would be able to score. It would be tough to double Bagley III in the post when he is surrounded by Cade, Ivey (or Burks), Saddiq and Bojan, a threat that Stewart does not provide.
Beef Stew does seem out of place in this group from an offensive standpoint, though the defense in the starting five would be even more suspect without him in it. It’s hard to imagine his role in the offense unless he starts knocking down shots, as he is not a post threat, nor good in the pick-and-roll.
There are arguments to be made for either guy, and it really comes down to offense vs. defense, so this will likely be decided in preseason and training camp as coach Casey tries to figure out how these pieces best fit together.