Troy Weaver sent a message Thursday: Forget the lottery.
it’s time for Detroit Pistons to become better. Let’s see if game play is possible.
That is the expectation now that the team’s general manager has been replaced by veteran winger – and bowler – Bojan Bogdanovic.
No, this is not an ultimatum by Weaver or team owner Tom Gores. But it’s another reminder that Weaver won’t be slow to “reclaim” the franchise, as he calls it.
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Getting Bogdanovic should make the Pistons better.
What is the price?
This will depend primarily on Kid Cunningham’s development. But also, Isaiah Stewart, Bey’s friend, Jaden Ivey, and Marvin Bagley III evolved.
If nothing else – and nothing! The 6-foot-7, 33-year-old striker will make more room for the younger kids who are here to help teach. Although, Bogdanovic does more than just make three-pointers.
He can stand from the middle of the range, where he digs with glass. He can attack paint when you get close, where he’s a good sneaker. He can make passes to dribble, no matter how deliberately he does it.
He’s been an efficient and well-managed offensive player for a good team for a while. He also has interlude experience.
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And while he likely won’t boast playoff experience this season, the ingenuity and ingenuity he’s shown in the playoffs over the years should help him educate the Pistons’ locker room in NBA ways.
All that cost Weaver was Kelly Olnyk and Saben Lee, two strong reserve players who struggled to shoot. Oh, and some cover space this season.
The success rate this year is $5 million or so, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. But next season, Bogdanovic’s salary – $19.6 million – will go off the books, giving the Pistons more cover space.
One of the reasons Weaver has gotten so much space over the past year has been to take reasonable swings like these, sucking up nearly $20 million without worrying that it would conflict with future plans.
If Bogdanovic maintains his health and makes 3 throws – and other plays – as he has done anywhere else (he fired 38.7% from outside the arc last season), he raises the ceiling for the Pistons. His presence should also aid the development of Cunningham, who will now have more options to take off on the wings.
Whether or not Dwane Casey starts Bogdanovich, he’s sure to mark a portion of his minutes with Cunningham and Ivy. Bey should be spending a lot of time on the court with Bogdanovic as well.
It’s no secret that Weaver favors sport, speed and defense as principles of his team building philosophy. However, he is not stubborn either. He knows that his team has struggled with shooting over the past two seasons.
Casey will have more options for the match against the teams. He could play small (relatively) with Stewart starting in the middle and Bay and Bogdanovic on the flanks. Or he could go strong with Bagley at the center and Stewart up front.
And while Bogdanovic is not an over-the-top defender and can be weak on the substitution, he is a fighter, and that competitive spirit will complement what the Pistons showed late last season when they were in good health.
Would adding Bogdanovic Pistons cost another high pick? It may be. But maybe luck as well.
Besides, franchises that get a lot of interest in lotteries tend to stay in lotteries – Important, Sacramento – Because it’s not a sure way back to fit.
Finding a floor-tilting squad maker, such as Cunningham, and then finding secondary squad makers that surround it is the perfect way to build. Look at Milwaukee, or Boston, or Miami, or Memphis – all teams with main cast and very good supporting teams.
Pistons have the lead. They might even have their co-star in Ivy. They have promising supporting players in Bey and Stewart, although it’s too early to say what they might become.
It is likely that Bogdanovich is long gone by the time this young core fully reveals itself. However, if all goes well, the veteran bowler will have a role in the revelation.
At some point, young teams need to savor a bit of a win. And while Bogdanovic’s arrival won’t propel the Pistons to 50 wins, he could swing a half-dozen matches this winter.
Those games are important. What also matters is that the incoming team has a general manager who knows how to do the kind of move Weaver did on Tuesday.
Trading with Bogdanovic before this season makes the Pistons more balanced and more competitive in a deep Eastern Conference. A similar move two or three years from now could send the team a deep run into the playoffs.
With this trade, Weaver has shown that he will be ready when and if that happens.