The Detroit Pistons have arguably been the most miserable team in the NBA this season, averaging a total of one win per month. The roster features plenty of young and unproven talent, with Bojan Bogdanovic being the obvious man out of Detroit’s long-term plans.
If the opportunity presents itself, should the Sixers seriously pursue him? Let’s discuss.
When it comes to dissecting Bojan Bogdanovic, it starts with the valuable floor spacing and shot making he provides. He takes and makes a healthy share of three-pointers, shooting 40.8 percent on 7.4 attempts per game this season. Over the past five years, he hasn’t attempted less than six three-pointers per game. He’s not just a good shooter, he’s a good shooter on massive volume.
Bogdanovic is also capable of getting a basket when defenses chase him off the perimeter. He’s not quick enough to get by defenders with ease, but you can count on him to get a midrange bucket and finish around the basket well enough. Offensively, Bojan’s skillset would fit any team — which is why the asking price of him has been so high since his arrival in Detroit.
As far as potential fit with the Sixers, Bojan might be the best. Joel Embiid had some of his best two-man game success with JJ Redick, a high-volume perimeter shooter, which suggests he could replicate that success with a player like Bojan. The Sixers have been a very hand-off heavy team this year, and Bojan could fit right into that action.
Contractually, Bojan’s deal is extremely team-friendly. He’s on the books for $20 million this season, and has a partial-guarantee next year with $2 million of his $19 million salary guaranteed. You could simply keep him aboard or use his salary in a potential trade later on down the road.
Bojan’s $20 million makes him an easy player to match salary for as well. For example, you could do Marcus Morris Sr. and another small contract (Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House, Jr., Jaden Springer, etc). Detroit could also take Tobias Harris’ contract if they package Bojan with another player such as Monte Morris. There’s several easy routes to salary matching to be found here.
If the Sixers are targeting a “safe” player that they know would work here this season, it’s harder to find someone better than Bojan Bogdanovic.
Did you know Bojan Bogdanovic is going on 35 years old? Most people don’t, as he came into the league later in his career than most. Shooters can have lengthy careers in the NBA (cc: Redick), but there’s valid concern on how much he has left in the tank. He also hasn’t played “meaningful” basketball in over two years — which isn’t an indictment on Bojan but rather the situation he’s in.
While I think Bojan’s shooting can last a few more years minimum, I’d have more questions on the defensive end. He’s never been a “lock-down” guy, but he also never got played off the floor during his tenure with the Utah Jazz. He’s only gotten older since then, and I’d imagine most people aren’t a fan of him chasing around Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, Franz Wagner or other wings in a playoff setting.
Defensively, his fit with Tobias Harris would certainly be a question. I wouldn’t classify either as a “bad defender”, but I would be far from confident in their abilities to defend well consistently together. Obviously, this concern wouldn’t be a big deal if Harris was a part of a theoretical trade.
The final aspect for the case against a deal for Bogdanovic is with the acquisition cost it would take for Detroit to make a deal in the first place. They’re a bad team, and reportedly in the market for win-now talent. Last season, they were reportedly asking for two first-round picks, which seems steep for a nearly 35-year-old role player. Factoring everything in, and Detroit would likely command a package with win-now talent and draft compensation.
Bojan Bogdanovic’s shooting and team-friendly contract make him an intriguing target. However, his defensive fit with Harris causes valid concerns, and his best days very well might be a thing of the past. It’s hard to ask any player to go from playing on the league’s worst team to one of the best in the matter of a few weeks or months.
There’s always a right price for any player, but Troy Weaver will need to work some serious magic to right the Pistons’ sinking, burning ship. If history has suggested anything, it’s hard to imagine the Pistons coming down on their extremely high asking price.
Is Bojan worth the call? Absoutely. But I’d have much more interest in the other Bogdanovic in Atlanta.