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Detroit Pistons Roundtable: Building blocks besides Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko

We’re back for the second question of this year’s Detroit Pistons Roundtable. Again, here’s the panel:

I  want to thank everyone listed above for participating. But I don’t want to hear just from them. Please post your answers to the question in the comments.  We can make this an even larger collection of thoughts about the Pistons.

Here’s today’s question:

If you had to build a team around a current Piston besides Rodney Stuckey or Jonas Jerebko, whom would it be and why? (Please note if you’d rather build around this player than Stuckey or Jerebko.)

Dave Pemberton, The Oakland Press

That’s a tough question. The Pistons in my opinion don’t have a franchise player, and that includes Stuckey and Jerebko. There is not one guy you can point to and say he’s the guy. With that being said, I think Ben Gordon is a player that should be in the Pistons’ future plans.

Despite his struggles this season, Gordon has a proven track record. I don’t believe the Gordon we have seen in 2010 is the real Gordon because I don’t think he is at full strength. He is playing through a groin injury and not getting the minutes he is accustomed so his numbers are down.

He can provide instant offense whether it be off the bench or as a starter. He also showed last season that he can produce in the playoffs. Let Gordon get healthy and I think you’ll see the player the Pistons thought they were getting when they signed him.

Chris Iott, MLive

If you are going to build a team for the long haul and build it around a player currently on the roster, Rodney Stuckey would be the logical choice. The Pistons think he’s the real deal, a special young player with a ton of upside. Whether he is worthy of that praise, well, time will tell. If it’s not Stuckey or Jerebko – and as much as I like Jerebko, I don’t think you build a team around him – your only option would have to be Ben Gordon. It has been a strange season for Gordon, but if the Pistons deal Richard Hamilton in the offseason, it would clear up a logjam at the position and make Gordon’s role more important. The Pistons are not writing off Gordon. Fans shouldn’t either.

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

I’m not saying I would try to start over from scratch, but I think of LeBron, Wade and Kobe as guys to build a team around. There are several solid pieces on the Pistons (Stuckey and Jerebko included). But they are just pieces, not cornerstones.

Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press

Slim pickings there. I suppose by process of elimination I’ll go with Ben Gordon, although he’s been a big disappointment in his first year here. But with so much money and so many years tied into him, there isn’t much choice. Gordon’s track record in the league shows he can score, and that can’t be dismissed after only one season. I’ll be very curious to see what he does next year assuming that A) he’s healthy and B) he’s the starter or is getting starter’s minutes.

Keith Langlois, Detroit Pistons

You have to at least be intrigued by Austin Daye’s potential. He’s never going to look significantly different that he did coming into the league – but if he gains functional strength, there’s every chance he’ll become a unique player capable of scoring in the high teens and up and holding his own defensively thanks to his freakish length. Will Bynum’s also a guy I’d like to have on my side.

Eli Zaret, Detroit Pistons

There really is no one to specifically build around. Even in the title season of 2004, they were considered a team without a star. The hope is they’ll get a top-5 pick this year who can be that guy.

Patrick Hayes, Full-Court Press

It’s probably a stretch, but I’d say Will Bynum. Bynum, more than anyone else on the roster, embodies the philosophy Joe Dumars built the championship with – a hidden gem with something to prove, fueled certainly by talent, but also carrying a significant chip on his shoulder. Bynum’s a guard version of Ben Wallace when it comes to energy, and he was the Pistons best player for a solid stretch early in the season. Now, that doesn’t mean I’d go out and lock Bynum up for $7 million a year, as Joe Dumars seems to want to do for everyone now, but if the Pistons re-sign him to a cheap deal (which is how they got Wallace), they could be getting a tough, energetic, lead-by-example guy who pushes people with higher pedigrees and bigger contracts for playing time, making the entire backcourt more competitive with each other and better in the games.

Justin Rogers, Full-Court Press

There isn’t a player on this roster that I would consider building a team around. The Pistons are a team full of complimentary players. I wouldn’t even build around a player like Stuckey or Jerebko. Stuckey is a second or third option at best. I just don’t see him developing to an on-the-court leader night in and night out. Jerebko is the type of player you want on any team, but you don’t build around hustle players. If pressed to answer, I’d go with Daye. He has plenty of potential, and he’s young. Of course that answer is equivalent to answering “C” straight down on a 100-question true/false test.

Natalie Sitto, Need4Sheed

That’s a difficult question. I can’t think of a player besides the two that can foot the bill right now. Rip and Tayshaun, are great players, but I think they’re both past the point where you would want to build around. The rest of this current configuration are more role players than anything.

If you put a gun to my head and I had to pick someone besides Stuckey or the Swede, it would  have to be Ben Gordon. His miserable season aside, I know what kind of player he is, and to be quite honest, I think he may be more suited to be a starter. We saw what he could do when he had the chance early in the season when Rip Hamilton was out. His defense is almost non-existent, and he tends to turn the ball over, but he can put up 30 if you need him to and hit the big money shot all in the same game.

Brian Packey, Detroit Bad Boys

I really don’t think the Pistons have anyone, besides maybe those two, that are worthy of being built around. They have a lot of pieces that could be key to a contender, complementing pieces, but not center-pieces. Depending on how he develops, though, Austin Daye could potentially become one of those types of players.

Kevin Sawyer, Detroit Bad Boys

Ben Gordon is the guy you have to think about building around. His contract is untradeable, and he has a lot more talent than he displayed this year. Keep in mind that Stuckey and Jerebko are only a couple years younger. I think Stuckey will be a late bloomer, and will eventually gel with Gordon, but Jerebko’s ceiling seems to be Anderson Varejao. You don’t build around Anderson Varejao.

Mike Payne, Detroit Bad Boys

Right now, we’re a building without a foundation. Detroit doesn’t have that one player on this team that can score efficiently and prolifically, draw double teams and defend the other end of the court. If Detroit gets lucky and can snag DeMarcus Cousins or Evan Turner in the draft, ask me again in June?

Jesse Murphy, Pistons Nation

I don’t see any of these guys as players a GM could center a team around. Guys like Stuckey and Jonas can be very important pieces to the puzzle, but I just don’t see them as "the guy". Unless Joe can pull off a miracle trade the Pistons will need to be lucky and acquire a franchise-type guy in the draft. Because I don’t believe we have the team and we sure don’t have the money to lure someone in free agency that will right the ship.

Jon Young, Flagrant2

I would go with Austin Daye. He is only going to get stronger and come into his body more. Once he figures out how to use his height he will be a threat. He can post up on most 3 guards at 6’11 and if a big man is guarding him they have to account for his three-point shooting. He has natural jump shot. He could really benefit from playing behind Tayshaun for another year or two. I don’t think he will ever be as good at driving as Prince but if he could learn his baby hook he would become a mismatch nightmare. Daye still has a big upside and lots of potential. With that being said I would much rather build a team around Stuckey or Jerebko.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

I nearly said Ben Wallace, which should say something about the sad state of this team. He’s 35 and only a year removed from serious injury. But he’s still productive and would instill an attitude I’d want my team to have.

But my answer is Will Bynum. He’s so productive, and I love how he improved from last year. Before his ankle injuries, Bynum had become a much better all-around player – not just a scorer. He’s still regaining his form, but it doesn’t look like his early-season play was an aberration.

He has a lot to prove, and he plays like it. There are varying opinions about whether clutch stats are relevant, and honestly, I have mixed feelings. But I can see Bynum plays without fear when the game is on the line, and I know I like that.

He also plays point guard, which might be the most important position in the NBA right now. (I’d still say center, but you can make the case).

A hidden Bynum bonus: because he hasn’t played much in the NBA, he’s a young 27.


Like with the first question, please post your answer in the comments. I’d like this roundtable to involve everyone reading, too.


  • Apr 8, 20109:51 am
    by brgulker


    I’m curious why Rodney was left out of the conversation by default, seems like Dan is assuming people would all answer Rodney for some reason. Rodney’s not a franchise player, never will be. He’s a second fiddle at best, and if he’s your second fiddle, your first one had better be LBJ.
    The Pistons have three categories of players: 1) Overpaid, veteran role players. 2) Young, promising players on rookie contracts. 3) Ben Wallace.
    You can’t build a team around any of that, at least not if you want to win.

    • Apr 8, 201010:23 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      I didn’t take the question as meaning guys you can build a team around. I took ‘building blocks’ to mean guys who could be key contributors on a contending team, and I think Stuckey and Jerebko both fit that criteria. Not necessarily in the roles they are in now, but they definitely seem like players who could help a winning team significantly. Same with Bynum — I think his attitude and effort with which he plays the game put him in that category.
      All of that assumes that all three get extended to very reasonable deals. If Stuckey signs an extension for like $10 million a year, then I think you take him out of that category.

      • Apr 8, 201011:38 am
        by brgulker


        That makes sense. Maybe I’m reading “building blocks” wrong in the first place.

      • Apr 8, 201011:55 am
        by Simon


        I’m a little surprised that you selected Will Bynum from our team to be the…” guy who could be a key contributor on a contending team.”
        I’m the exact opposite, i think bynum is the most replaceable guy on our roster, especially if he asks for too much. A guy like mike james for the vets min would suffice and we wouldn’t lose much.
        The most important thing for us is not to identify WHO to build around, but what Philosophy to build around. Defensive? Offensive? Up-tempo? Half-court?

      • Apr 12, 201011:21 am
        by Dan Feldman


        Patrick understood the question how intended it. That’s my fault for not wording it well.

        But I also think it speaks to how most GMs and fans view how a team should be built. Get a superstar, then add pieces. Well, if there are no stars available, as is the case in this scenario (and would be even if Stuckey and Jerebko are available), why force it? Wouldn’t you be better off taking the best role player you can get, then look for the star later?

        One other thought: This is why Dumars’ no-superstar plan is smart. Every other team is looking for a superstar. There’s tons of competition to get one. Dumars has the marked on very good players cornered.

  • Apr 8, 201011:57 am
    by Jesse


    There is no one on this roster to build around, not even close. You cannot build around Ben Gordon; he isn’t a leader. All Gordon can do is shoot, and when his shot isn’t falling he’s pretty useless, he’s as much a franchise player as Danilo Gallinari is. I’m shocked that anyone would even think for a second that Austin Daye even had a glimmer of a franchise player him….shocked. Being a franchise player is sooooo much more then having potential, how about the mental aspects of carrying a team day-in and day-out? Anybody see that in Austin? Same goes for Bynum, $7 million a year? Good God! In today’s NBA? With a new CBA coming? In this economy? With the financial mess the team is already in? For a 6 ft, back-up, shoot-first pg? Bynum isn’t worth more than $3 mill a year, especially to this team, he provides nothing they don’t already have.

    • Apr 12, 201011:24 am
      by Dan Feldman


      I think Bynum could provide what Jason Terry does for Dallas. Terry makes bout $10 million per year, and you don’t really hear his name in the list of most overpaid players.

      Bynum for $3-4 million a year would be a bargain, and I think Detroit has a good chance to get him for that.

  • Apr 8, 20101:26 pm
    by nuetes


    Let’s face it the Pistons don’t have good players. Gordon is stuck here so you have to hope he can figure it out. Daye has a higher ceiling than anyone on the team, including Stuckey – who 3 years in, lets face it he doesn’t have that much higher to go. The future of the franchise basically comes down to can you develop Daye, can Gordon regain his touch, and can the Pistons hit on a good player in the lottery, and also develop said player, something they’ve failed to do on most occasions.

    • Apr 12, 201011:25 am
      by Dan Feldman


      I think whether Gordon regains his touch (it looks like he has) and Daye’s development are big for this franchise. And they could end up a 1-2 good enough to carry this team.

      But Stuckey is far from a finished product. He’s still very young, and he’s improved each year. Show a little patience.

  • Apr 8, 20104:00 pm
    by jcdugger


    I must like Austin Daye a lot more than most people.
    Sure, the guy is raw…he needs quite a bit of work on the court and in the weight room.  But how could you look at him and NOT be intrigued?!?  A 6-11 Small Forward with long arms, jumping ability and can run like a gazelle.  He’s a talented kid too…and only 21 years old.  Not a back-to-the-basket player by any means, but he scores easily down low on put-backs and cutting to the basket.  No Small Forward will be able to handle him down-low or on the boards in a couple of years, especially if he gets into the gym.  Tack on the fact that he can hit the 3-ball and you have quite a player on your hands.
    Just imagine if he works hard the next 3 years and bulks up a little.  (This entire opinion hinges on Daye working VERY hard on the court and in the gym.)  Let’s assume he does work that hard…in 3 years we will have a beast on our hands!  Who’s going to cover him if he bulks up and proves he can hit the 3 consistently?!  At 24 and more mature…a guy with that size, that talent, who can hit the 3 and get on the boards…he would be lethal.  He wouldn’t be Tayshaun 2.0, he would be Tayshaun 5.0!
    Even with Stuckey and Jerebko…Daye is the one player on the team I simply wouldn’t trade.  I might be in the minority, and Daye will have to work hard, but I can see him playing in a few All-Star games if the ball bounces the right way for him (works hard, doesn’t get hurt, etc).

    • Apr 12, 201011:30 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Right now, the things we worry about rookies all check out for Austin Daye. He’s tall and long. He has a nice shot. He’s a good dribbler. He can pass well. He’s a decent rebounder. He’s shown great flashes of potential.

      But what happens when he starts meeting that potential? Will he meet our next set of expectations? I don’t think he has the maturity or mindset to be a dominant player. When those issues become important, we’ll see for certain. Or maybe by then, he’ll have changed.

      I like what he brings. I just don’t have a lot of faith in him to capitalize on it.

  • Apr 8, 20104:29 pm
    by Big Rick


    I don’t really feel that we have any true franchise players that you would feel confident building your team around. I think we have quite a few assets and if I had to take 5 players to nominate for the future then it would be Stuckey, Daye, Gordon, Charlie V. and J.J. 

    If I had to choose someone outside of Stuckey, or J.J then I feel Charlie V. would be a keeper. I think if you put him (healthy) next to a dominant big man whether it’s on the offensive or defensive side of the ball then he would flourish.

    • Apr 12, 201011:27 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Besides injuries, one thing that really Charlie Villanueva this year was the amount of time he played with Ben Wallace. Wallace would’ve helped with a lot of Villanueva’s deficiencies, but they didn’t play together much.

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