A 1-4 start is nothing to write home about for the Detroit Pistons. It is the third year in a row that the team opened up the first five games with just a single win. In five games, there has been some good for the Pistons and a lot of bad. The bench unit continues to struggle, and team defense is also a major weak point, ranking 26th in the NBA in defensive rating.
One of the most significant bright spots for the Pistons in this young season has been the play of Bojan Bogdanović.
Bogdanović is not the focus of opponents’ defensive game plans, that honor goes to Cade Cunningham. However, Bogdanović has taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him with the opposing defenses keying in on Detroit’s star guard. At 23.2 points per game, Bogdanović leads the Pistons in scoring. The veteran forward also posts averages of 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Bogdanović has more than made up for the departure of Jerami Grant in the scoring department. The 33-year-old is not the defender that Grant was, but his scoring efficiency is exceedingly superior to Detroit’s former power forward.
Through five games, Bogdanović is shooting 53.3 percent from the floor on 15 attempts per game. More impressively, he is shooting 51.2 percent from beyond the arc on 8.2 three-point attempts per game.
The veteran forward has shown he can create for himself and shoot efficiently off the dribble or by attacking the rim. Bogdanović is shooting 61.9 percent off drive attempts. On pull-up three-pointers, he is shooting 47.1 percent off a team-leading 3.4 attempts. He is a dangerous off-ball shooter as well. Bogdanović is currently shooting 56.5 percent on 4.6 catch-and-shoot three-pointers per game.
Bojan Bogdanović is on pace to shatter Saddiq Bey’s single-season three-point record.
In the 2021-22 season, Saddiq Bey broke the Detroit Pistons’ single-season three-point record after sinking 211 three-pointers in 82 games. Bey broke Allan Houston’s record of 191 from the 1995-96 season.
At Bogdanović’s current pace of 4.2 made three-pointers per game, the 33-year-old could break Bey’s record in just 51 games. If he manages to keep up this pace for an entire 82-game season, Bogdanović would make around 344 three-pointers by the season’s end.
It is not completely out of the question for Bogdanović to keep the high shooting numbers up. Will he finish the season shooting above 50 percent from beyond the arc? It is hard to imagine a world where he does. Eventually, his shooting is bound to come down to earth, at least a little bit. However, Bogdanović can certainly shoot above 40 percent from three this season, as he has done it three times already.
While Bogdanović’s shooting percentages are bound to fall at least somewhat, he is still in line to have a historic shooting season for the Pistons. As long as he continues to attempt between eight and 10 three-pointers per game, he will shatter Bey’s three-point record.
Bojan Bogdanović should make an appearance in the Three-Point Contest this season.
If any Piston has a chance to make an appearance at the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities this season, it will be Bogdanović. Of course, Jaden Ivey, Cunningham and the other Pistons’ young players are easy options to play in the Rising Stars game. In the other events, a Bogdanović appearance in the Three-Point Contest is the only likely scenario.
In his previous 10 seasons, Bogdanović has never made an appearance in the Three-Point Contest despite shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc in three consecutive seasons. The volume has never been there for Bogdanović before now. Only once before this season has the 33-year-old averaged three or more made three-pointers per game.
With the green light as one of Detroit’s go-to scorers, Bogdanović has the opportunity to make a serious case to compete in the three-point competition at All-Star Weekend.
How long will Detroit hold on to Bogdanović?
By all indications, Pistons’ GM Troy Weaver intends on retaining Bogdanović’s services beyond just the 2022-23 season. The 33-year-old is a good veteran presence and his steady shooting will remain valuable once this team is ready to turn a corner. However, this season does not appear to be the year for Detroit to take that next step.
Bogdanović may be in Detroit’s long-term plans at the present, but once the trade deadline nears, things could be different. A contending team offering up a future first-round pick or two to acquire Bogdanović could be enticing enough for Weaver to part ways with his sharpshooting forward. A future first-round pick from a team like the Los Angeles Lakers could be extremely valuable down the line, especially an unprotected one.
Should that be expected? No. Is it a possibility? Yes.
Shedding Bogdanović could help position the Pistons in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. Although, they could very well find themselves in that position whether Bogdanović is traded or not.
So long as Bogdanović is content with playing in Detroit, it makes sense to retain and extend him, for the right price of course. A one or two-year deal with a team option attached would be ideal for Detroit. Bogdanović is getting up there in age, so a long-term deal is not particularly desirable.
That is an issue for the Pistons to face in the offseason. For now, it will be interesting to see just how long Bogdanović’s hot streak can last.
(Featured Image Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports)