The Detroit Pistons finished as one of the worst teams in the NBA last season at 23-59, but the Pistons can take solace in the fact that one of the most promising young players in the NBA in Cade Cunningham plays for them. Nonetheless, barring a gigantic leap from Cunningham, the Pistons appear to be destined for the bottom of the standings yet again, but that did not prevent them from making moves to improve the team, acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee.
The rationale behind the trade was clear: Bojan Bogdanovic is one of the best shooters in the NBA (making 550 threes over the past three seasons) and he will make life easier for Cade Cunningham and the rest of the Pistons via the sheer threat of his jumpshot. And Bogdanovic, who averaged 18.1 points per game last season, is looking forward to helping the 21-year old franchise player achieve his limitless potential, especially as they get used to each other's tendencies.
“Cade is the franchise player. He’s a great guy, and a great player,” Bogdanovic said, per the Detroit Free Press. “Putting me next to him, he’s going to have more space to operate. I’ve (been) here just a couple days, so we will learn about each other.”
After a rough start marred by inefficiency and turnover problems, Cade Cunningham began to show the promise that made him the 2021 first overall pick after the All-Star break, averaging an impressive 21.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists on 45.7% from the field in 20 games.
Cunningham's three-point shot still comes and goes, and he still coughs up the ball at an alarming rate, but he should find life easier in his second year with Bogdanovic in town.
In addition, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey is confident that Bojan Bogdanovic and Cade Cunningham will hit the ground running together, especially after seeing how invested Bogdanovic is in the project.
“One thing about Bojan, we got him on Friday and he’s in Croatia. He flies cross country and he’s here for our first team meeting Sunday night for a team dinner. That says a lot about how he feels about Detroit,” Casey said. “[Bogdanovic] was out there talking to guys, telling them what to do, how to do things. You cannot put an amount on that, and that’s why he’s valuable to us right now.