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Trade Idea: If the top six picks go as expected, it might be wise for the Pistons to trade out of the first round, and Ty Lawson would be great bait


Pistons receive:

  • Ty Lawson (8.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.0 blocks, 0.7 steals)
  • Coby Karl (4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.4 steals)

Nuggets receive:

  • Chris Wilcox (4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.4 steals)
  • No. 7 pick in 2010 draft


Data from ShamSports.com

Pistons receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14  2014/15
Ty Lawson $1,546,560 $1,654,440  $2,544,529 $3,610,686 $0
Coby Karl $854,389 $1,091,100 $0 $0 $0
Total $2,390,949 $2,745,540 $2,544,529 $3,610,686 $0

Nuggets receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Chris Wilcox $3,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
No. 7 pick $2,331,700 $2,506,600 $2,681,400 $3,405,378 $4,566,612
Total $5,331,700 $2,506,600 $2,681,400 $3,405,378 $4,566,612
  • Team option
  • Qualifying offer
  • Fully unguaranteed if waived on or before Aug. 15
  • Would hold value of $0 for trade purposes

Pistons’ perspective

Yesterday’s Kings-76ers trade killed my Pistons-Kings idea. Pistons followers seem split on what the trade means about Detroit’s chances of getting DeMarcus Cousins with the seventh pick.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press believes Cousins is more likely to slip. I know Patrick Hayes of Full-Court Press thinks the Kings will take Cousins.

Put me firmly in the this-makes-Cousins-slipping-to-7-less-likely camp. The Kings’ net change in centers is zero. Plus, by swapping Spencer Hawes for Samuel Dalembert, the Kings have a safe option at center. I think that means they’d be more likely to take the risk on Cousins.

A trade similar to original idea with Francisco Garcia instead of Andres Nocioni could still work. But Garcia has an extra year on his contract, so that wouldn’t be as appealing to Detroit.

A move with Sacramento, Philadelphia, Minnesota or even New Jersey is still possible, but the Kings-76ers trade means the Pistons are more likely to stay at No. 7, so let’s discuss what that means.

The rumors have been rampant that Detroit wants to move up to get Derrick Favors or Cousins. But I want to introduce the trade-up corollary:

If the Pistons really are keen on moving up (and I think they are), that indicates they’re not particularly high on anyone likely to be available at No. 7. Maybe they’re just that infatuated with Favors and Cousins. But in all likelihood, that’s only part of the puzzle.

After Favors, Cousins and Greg Monroe, there seems to be a pretty significant drop in big men.

Cole Aldrich, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson, Ekpe Udoh and Hassan Whiteside represent the next tier of bigs, and they’re likely to go between Detroit’s pick and the next 10 to 15 picks. In my opinion (and because we don’t have much indication about what the Pistons want – other than they probably aren’t high on Davis – let’s stick with my opinion), there isn’t much to differentiate the value of those five players.

Aldrich is the safe pick. Whiteside has the upside (hey, that rhymes). Davis, Patterson and Udoh fall in between. But their values (odds of success multiplied by upside) all seem similar.

Unless you like one of those guys well above the rest, if you’re the first team to draft one of them, it’s not a great pick. But if you get the last of the group, that’s probably good value. Unfortunately, the Pistons position at No. 7 dictates they’ll probably fall on the low-value side of that scale.

If the first six picks of the draft are John Wall, Evan Turner, Favors, Wesley Johnson, Cousins and Monroe, who would Detroit take? The consensus next-best player available is Al-Farouq Aminu. But another combo forward isn’t ideal, and Aminu doesn’t exactly exude the toughness Joe Dumars says he wants.

So, what are the options?

Maybe Detroit could trade down to a team that wants Aminu or another forward (like Cameron Haywood). Or maybe the Pistons could trade down to a team that has its sights set on a particular second-tier big man. But as I said before, that doesn’t seem likely.

So, that leaves one more option: trade out.

Finally, to the actual trade I’m proposing.

Chad Ford reported the Nuggets have been offering Ty Lawson for a top-10 pick. I’ve previously used this space to champion trading for Lawson, so I won’t rehash it all here.

Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company isn’t a fan of trading Lawson, but understands this would be a win-now move. If the Nuggets are looking for an immediate impact, Jeremy thinks Aldrich is probably their target (and I agree).

The most common trade partner mentioned with the Nuggets is the Pacers, who hold the 10th pick and desperately need a point guard. A trade with the Pistons would mean Denver would have to pay the pick more, which could be a slight drawback.

But given that the Jazz may lose Carlos Boozer in free agency, they could target Aldrich at No. 9. So, if the Nuggets want Aldrich, they’d be safer trading with Detroit than with Indiana.

Wilcox would also offer more size for the Nuggets, who are looking for depth down low. His expiring contract could help facilitate another trade, too.

The Pistons would waive Karl, and given his dad coaches the team, Denver probably isn’t in too much danger of him signing elsewhere (assuming the Nuggets want to keep him, and I think they do.)

Nuggets’ perspective

From Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company:

From a Nuggets fan’s standpoint obviously the seventh pick is more exciting than the tenth pick, but ultimately Denver will be targeting the same player regardless of which pick they acquire. I would be concerned about what additional assets the Nuggets might be forced to give up to pull off a swap with Detroit.

I believe Lawson would be a good fit for Detroit. The knock on Lawson is his lack of size.  Most observers believe his small stature equates with poor defender, but that is not the case. As you would expect, he moves well laterally and can stay in front of his man. I was also impressed with how well he fought over screens, especially for a rookie. Obviously, he can be taken advantage of in the post by larger point guards although he is strong and does a good job fighting for position.

Offensively, Lawson is known as a fast paced player, and he does excel in transition. He is also very effective in a half court game, which makes him so valuable as a point guard. His perimeter offense was much better than expected. Even so despite his strong percentages (according to Hotspots on NBA.com, he shot at least 40% from every section of the floor save two, both were behind the arc and he still shot 33% from those two areas) he is a tentative shooter. Part of that is due to the fact he prefers to pass than shoot. It was announced Tuesday that Lawson will be on the Nuggets summer league roster and he was quoted as saying he wants to work on being more assertive.

Lawson is a 22-year-old point guard with a great feel for the game and tremendous ability who played very well as a rookie. He is already a legitimate starting point guard and I am excited to see how much better he can become. The Nuggets may have come out of the Billups for Iverson deal better off than the Pistons. If this trade becomes a reality, it might not make up for that transaction, but I suspect the tables will be turned.

My response

Jeremy’s analysis just intensifies my desire to get Lawson. I’ve written Detroit should be more focused on a big man than a point guard this summer, and I still believe that.

But Lawson would give the Pistons a quality backcourt, and Dumars has talked about how important that is to him.


This trade depends on whether the Pistons value any of the second-tier big men above the rest, and who knows whether they do? But if they don’t and Lawson really is available, in my mind, this trade is better than reaching at No. 7.


  • Jun 18, 20107:39 pm
    by nuetes


    Ugh. Yeah unfortunately if the top 6 picks happen to be the top 6 players then the Pistons are stuck with a choice of Aminu or Davis (who you failed to mention). I’m basing this off of an article Chad Ford did concerning draft tiers where he labeled Monroe, Davis, and Aminu in tier 3 based on GM and scout interviews. He mentioned the only other 3 players to crack a top 8 by any team were Henry, Udoh, and Babbitt.
    I’m not necessarily sold on Lawson becoming a good PG in the nba. If the choice comes down to Lawson, Aminu, or Davis is it an easy one? I’m not confident any of them will be real good players, but they do all have the ability.

    • Jun 18, 20107:41 pm
      by nuetes


      scratch that. Davis (who i failed to notice you mentioning).

    • Jun 18, 20109:36 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Nuetes, I agree, it’s not necessarily an easy choice between Lawson, the second-tier bigs and Aminu. My preference would be Lawson, who showed last year he’s at least a viable NBA player.

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    • Jun 21, 20107:36 pm
      by ron z.


      There is no way I’m giving up the #7 pic for ty lawson,I would rather try to trade for collison,not involving the 7th pic.

      • Jun 22, 201010:42 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        Ron, how are the Pistons going to trade for Collison without involving No. 7?

  • Jun 18, 201011:01 pm
    by Jared DetroitRed


    Please stop with the Lawson talk, he was a nice rookie who proved he was fast and good in spot when Billups was out… Ummm when Billups was out didnt Stucky win a Orlando seriese as a rookie in Billups place? If the Kings take Cousins which I think they have no thoughts of doing, Nelsons not taking a PF he will take a SF to replace Jackson.. So Detroit will take Monroe…..

    • Jun 19, 20103:54 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Jared, what makes you think the Kings have no thought of taking Cousins? And Don Nelson could be fired any day. The Warriors aren’t necessarily making a pick to accommodate his system. And Stephen Jackson played power forward for them, so if they’re looking to replace him, they could take Monroe.

      • Jun 19, 20101:54 pm
        by Jared DetroitRed


        Kings are looking for a SF that can light it up from reports… Their love for Cousins came about to really try and get more from the Pistons in a Deal… before the Pistons/kings trade talks, All the talk from Sac was about Monroe… G.S. draft pick will be Nelson’s choice and it wont be a player who’s at his bets in the half court… And to My point Jackson a SF played PF for Nelson and they will draft a player that can play both..

        Why do you think Lawson is the Savor for us at PG, sorry he hasnt done anything to say he is better then Stuck… When playoffs came Lawson was on the bench with no pt his rookie year, Stuck was in the game and started… People say stuck is not a PG… Stuck does whats needed… everyone hurt so you want me to score ok I will… like when he hit D.Rose up for 40 points..
        You want Lawson, then take Sherron Collins in the 2nd round

        • Jun 22, 201010:49 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Jared, Monroe had a great workout for the Kings. That’s why they’re more interested in him than they were earlier.

          I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about who’s calling the shots for the Warriors.

          Lawson doesn’t have to be better than Stuckey for this trade to make sense. Lawson would allow Stuckey to play more shooting guard, the position he played best last year.

          Collins isn’t as good a shooter as Lawson. And Collins’ weight issues worry me.

  • Jun 19, 20108:54 am
    by tads


    So pass up a possible starting center for a guard that may be able to start one day.  Kind of like a guy who is stranded in the desert trading his bottle of water for a bag of sand.  Yes, Ty Lawson might be a good point guard, but how good can any point guard be when our front line is even weaker this year than last.  Why start a huge battle for point supremacy between Stuckey and Lawson while giving up on having a frontline with any impact.

    • Jun 19, 201012:27 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Tads, let me spin it another way: so pass up a possible starting guard for a center that may be able to start one day?

      Ty Lawson isn’t a bag of sand. And if you’re stranded in a desert, how big a help is a bottle of water? You’re just delaying the inevitable. I’d say Lawson is $100. If you’re stuck in the desert, not a huge help. But if you make it out, it’s nice to have.

      And if the Pistons did this trade, it would probably mean Stuckey would become a combo guard in the long-term — playing point with Ben Gordon and the two with Lawson. It wouldn’t be a battle for supremacy.

  • Jun 19, 20109:49 am
    by xerowattbulb


    This is a terrible idea.  It would make much more sense to draft Udoh or even take a gamble on Whiteside than trade for Lawson.  Why bring in Lawson to play with Hamilton, Stuckey, Gordon and Bynum (meanwhile this trade would also eliminate bringing back Atkins, another bad idea) and continue to be shallow in frontcourt depth (ESPECIALLY if Wallace doesn’t come back) and have Jerebko continue to play out of position?  Haven’t the Pistons helped the Nuggets enough in the last couple years without stupid trade ‘ideas’ like this one even being discussed?

    • Jun 19, 201012:31 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Xero, yes, the roster would become even more unbalanced. But can you say for certain the Pistons have the backcourt pieces necessary to win a title right now? Until you can, I believe you go after the best players available.

      Also, you can’t make decisions for your franchise based on how it affects Chucky Atkins. I love the guy, but you just can’t.

  • Jun 19, 201011:26 am
    by Tom


    I have to agree that this is a terrible idea. It doesn’t matter if Joe values one of the mid-tier big men over the others. They are all big men and Lawson is not. I would argue that it Lawson is no upgrade at all at the PG position, I have a very hard time seeing him as a major upgrade but even if you argue he is, we still need a big man much much more than a PG and they are much harder to come by.
    Further, and I’m not certain I agree with this one but I’m ok with seeing it play out, I don’t think Joe has even the slightest inkling of having anyone other than Stuckey play pg next year.

    • Jun 19, 201012:35 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Tom, actually Vince Ellis’ sources said the Pistons are looking for a starting-caliber point guard.

      And your argument about big men being harder to come by is the biggest reason I oppose this trade. I haven’t seen all the workouts, but the crop of second-tier big men doesn’t really impress me (at least at the seventh pick). But if the Pistons like one of them, they should definitely draft him instead of making this trade.

  • Jun 19, 201011:51 am
    by nuetes


    Its not a terrible idea because you have to start looking for viable long-term solutions here. All positions included. Now whether Lawson is an upgrade to Stuckey or all that viable is debatable. I’m just not a fan of this we have to take a big man strategy. A mediocre big man isn’t going to get us anywhere. Look at how much talent we lack compared to the Celts and Lakers. The gap is wide. Our backcourt right now is not good enough to win a championship no matter how good the frontcourt is. We need high caliber players, not mediocre ones.

    • Jun 19, 201012:41 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Nuetes, I think you hit the nail on the head. The Pistons are far from being a title contender, so they need upgrade wherever they can.

      The one counter I might make is (and plenty of people will disagree) I believe Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon could become good enough to be the starting backcourt on a title team. That team would have to have a very good frontcourt, obviously. So, taking risks to add the right frontcourt players might be worth it.

      • Jun 19, 20101:58 pm
        by xerowattbulb


        I don’t understand.  This is a team with many needs.  So why would a mediocre backcourt player be better then drafting a frontcourt player that could be mediocre but could ALSO have potential to be good?  Where is Lawson going to get all those minutes to become great?  From Bynum or Stuckey (since, again, Atkins doesn’t have a place on the team if this trade goes down)?  There’s no minutes at SG.  There are a TON of minutes available in the frontcourt, where a rookie could potentially develop.  And before we write off Atkins, isn’t he EXACTLY what a team like this needs?  He showed that he was a great influence on the team last year, and this year’s team will probably be even younger.  I’d rather have Atkins and rookie 4 or 5 than Lawson and some MLE guy that hasn’t worked out for some other team.

        • Jun 22, 201010:53 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Xero, why don’t you think Lawson has potential to be good? If this trade happens, I don’t think Will Bynum would be re-signed.

          Your development argument makes sense — as long as the rookie big can develop into something. If there isn’t a player the Pistons are confident will develop into a reliable starter, it just doesn’t work.

          And I like Atkins more than the next guy, but as a rebuilding team, the Pistons can’t evaluate potential moves with him in mind.

          And why do you say the MLE signee will be someone who didn’t work out for his previous team? Five years, $33.6 million should get a solid player.

  • Jun 19, 20103:36 pm
    by brgulker


    Wilcox is a fantastic add-on to any trade we do, and good value will be available at the 7th pick to help us INSIDE, which is where our greatest need is.
    Giving up the rotation big man we’d be giving up and the best filler contract in order to get Ty Lawson seems like a way too much (even though Lawson’s a nice PG, for sure).

    • Jun 22, 201010:56 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Gulker, I know you’re usually on point. But you can’t say no to a trade because it involves giving up Chris Wilcox (or Chucky Atkins, Xero). I get that he has value as a filler — but that’s exactly what he is here. A trade like this is why you have him.

      And part of the suggestion of this trade is if the Pistons don’t believe a rotation big man will be available at No. 7.

  • Jun 20, 20107:51 am
    by Zeiram


    Hey Dan,
    as long as we are talking trades, what about Rip+scrubs for Al Jefferson? If the Wolves take Favors as rumored the have to trade either Jefferson or Love and it´ll be propably Jefferson. They´ll be in need of a veteran wing scorer just like Rip. What do you say, like that possibility? Is it going to happen?

    • Jun 22, 201010:58 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Zeiram, the rumors are the Nets will take Favors. So, he wouldn’t be available for Minnesota. I don’t think the Timberwolves would have any interest in that trade. Jefferson is way more valuable than Hamilton.

      • Jun 24, 201011:05 am
        by Zeiram


        Yeah didn´t meant favors, meant cousins of course. Anyway I´ve heard a similiar rumor but with tayshaun instead of rip. Which makes sense cause rip is untradeable but wouldn´t be as good for the pistons. I´d still do it though.

      • Jun 24, 20101:47 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        I’ve heard two different version of the rumor. One was Prince for Jefferson, which I’d probably do if Jefferson passed a physical. The other was Prince and 7 for Jefferson, which isn’t even close.

  • Jun 21, 201010:24 pm
    by blake


    why is NOBODY even discussing a slight possibility of signing Lebron? If we signed Lebron could we argue that it would be worth it to reach at number 7 for a big man or even better, with Lebron, we could afford to give up Tayshaun and move up to take a player with a ton of potential…Let’s face it Joe D needs to call Lebron and say “Okay, Lebron Detroit is a great sports town, and with you here the Pistons would be THE show in town, so isn’t it time that King James came HOME TO THE PALACE?” we need to atleast be trying to pull the trigger on a big name free agent. Didn’t we trade Billups to gain cap space for this offseason? what good was that trade if we don’t do what we intended?

    • Jun 22, 20103:35 pm
      by Zeiram


      Umm because we used that cap space for charlie v and bg. There is no money for LBJ left…

      • Jun 22, 20108:49 pm
        by blake


        if they used all the cap space from Chauncey on Gordon n Villanueva, they’re retarded. Trade away your best player to gain cap space to spend on two back ups? FAIL

        • Jun 22, 201010:59 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Blake, I don’t think Gordon and Villanueva were signed to be backups. Maybe the moves haven’t worked out, but that doesn’t mean they were misguided at the time.

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