How Bojan Bogdanovic will help Cade Cunningham make a leap

Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) passes the ball away from Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) passes the ball away from Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons are only going to go as far as Cade Cunningham takes them this season, which is why they are hoping he makes a huge leap in his second year in the league.

The Pistons helped that cause along by trading for Bojan Bogdanovic in a move that was a huge win for Detroit.

Bogdanovic is set to be an unrestricted free agent in a loaded 2023 free-agent class, so trading for him now also gives Detroit a leg up on retaining him for the long term.

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His addition was good for the present and the future and there are many ways he is going to help Cade Cunningham make a big leap this year.

Detroit Pistons: How Bojan Bogdanovic is going to help Cade Cunningham

The space

The most obvious way Bojan is going to help Cade is with his 3-point shooting, as he has been one  of the best long-range shooters in the league over his career and is a guy defenses have to respect.

This should open up driving lanes for both Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey to go to work, and Bojan will make teams pay when they decide to double team, which will be a big change from last season.

Bogdanovic and Cunningham are likely to play the majority of their minutes together if coach Casey decides to stagger Cade/Ivey and Bogdanovic/Bey so the two are going to build chemistry and really play off each other’s strengths.

The pick-and-roll

Both Cunningham and Bogdanovic can shoot over the top of defenders, but they are also guys who can punish smaller players in the post when there are switches. I expect we are going to see a ton of Cade/Bojan pick-and-roll with the goal being to to get a smaller defender on one of them

Bogs is known for his shooting and takes most of his shots from 3-point range, but he is also a very good post player who is going to make defenses choose their poison in the pick-and-roll.

When bigger defenders switch onto Cade he is going to blow by a lot of them and when he’s confronted with a small guy on the switch, he can just back him down to one of his sweet spots.

Bogdanovic’s offensive versatility is going to make life a whole lot easier for Cade Cunningham and is also something he can learn from, especially when it comes to posting smaller guys and moving without the ball to get in position for 3-point shots.

The pro

Bogdanovic is a respected pro with a high basketball IQ who is known as a fierce competitor who wants to win.

And he has.

Bogdanovic has been a key part of some very good teams and will bring all of that experience to a team that is mostly a bunch of guys who have never sniffed the playoffs in the NBA.

He’s the type of player who will lead by example, which will be great for young guys like Cade and Ivey, who can learn from his experience and see first hand how to be a successful professional in this league.

The fun

Count me as one fan who is eager to see this team play, as they are going to be a lot more fun to watch with Bogdanovic in the lineup. The Pistons relied heavily on Cade to do most everything on offense last season, and it often led to a predictable, slow offense that really didn’t start to open up until Jerami Grant got hurt.

Grant was a bit of a ball stopper and the Pistons were actually much better offensively without him in the lineup. That shouldn’t be the case with Bogdanovic, who thrives off the ball and should allow Detroit to play more up-tempo and infuse more ball movement into the half court.

They are going to be able to run out a clutch-time lineup that has Cade, Bey, Burks, Bogdanovic and Stewart, so Cade will be surrounded by shooters and have plenty of room to create, which is what he does best.

This should be a lot more fun to watch and a lot more fun for the players as well. Having fun builds chemistry which leads to more winning, and I actually think it’s an underrated part of success, as you rarely see miserable teams winning a lot of games.

No offense to Kelly Olynyk or Saben Lee, but they weren’t really going to provide any of these benefits for Cade Cunningham, who was probably jumping up and down when he heard about this trade.

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