Both veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic and veteran guard Monte Morris will miss the contest.
Monty Williams says Bojan Bogdanovic and Monte Morris will not play on Wednesday. Says everyday they “get closer,” but the vets won’t play in the season opener.
— Mike Curtis (@MikeACurtis2) October 22, 2023
Bogdanovic appeared in 59 games for the Pistons last season, and he was one of the team’s best players when he was in the lineup.
The 34-year-old averaged 21.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in the 2022-23 campaign while shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from beyond the arc.
With Bogdanovic out, it’s possible that rookie Ausar Thompson, veteran Alec Burks and youngster Jaden Ivey will see more playing time. It’s unclear exactly how the rotation will change for Pistons head coach Monty Williams.
The Pistons acquired Morris this offseason. The veteran point guard gives the team another option behind Cade Cunningham, who missed a majority of the 2022-23 season with an injury.
The Pistons can also play Ivey and former lottery pick Killian Hayes at the guard spots.
Detroit was one of the worst teams in the NBA last season, and the squad may have a hard time finding offense without Bogdanovic in the lineup.
After Cunningham (who played just 12 games) and Bogdanovic, only Ivey (16.3 points per game) averaged more than 15 points per game for the Pistons last season.
Thompson, who was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, could help make up for that, but it may be a lot to ask the rookie to fill Bogdanovic’s shoes scoring the ball on Wednesday.
The Heat, who made the NBA Finals last season, would love to start off the 2023-24 campaign with a win. The team lost a couple of rotation pieces in Gabe Vincent and Max Strus this offseason, but it should be among the best teams in the Eastern Conference again this season.
The Heat and Pistons played three times in the 2022-23 season, with Miami winning two of those matchups. The Pistons’ lone win came on the earlier side (Dec. 6), but Miami won the final two meetings of the campaign.
It will be interesting to see who steps up for the Pistons in the opener.