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Detroit MLE Dreams: Udonis Haslem


Position: Power forward

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 235 pounds

Years pro: Seven

Age: 30

What he brings


  • Haslem is an excellent defender, even against bigger players. He can hold his own in the post and defend the pick-and-roll. Ben Wallace is the only player on the roster who can do both.
  • Already a quality rebounder, Haslem had his best rebounding season last year.
  • He has a solid mid-range spot-up jumper. He also finds ways to get open inside without the ball, and when his teammates find him with a pass, he usually converts.
  • He appears to be a solid team guy, coming off the bench without complaint last year.


  • He has probably peaked as a player.
  • For being a quality defender, he doesn’t create many turnovers.
  • The Heat ran him off a fair number of screens last year, possibly to keep him involved in the offense. After catching the pass, Haslem typically shot quickly, often missing, according to Synergy.
  • He can’t put the ball on the floor.

How he fits

Very well.

Haslem doesn’t create his own offense, unlike many of Detroit’s key players. And he’s an excellent defender – again, unlike many of Detroit’s key players. Haslem would help the Pistons with many of their deficiencies without adding skills they already have in abundance – which sounds pretty ideal.

The fit isn’t perfect, though. Haslem plays power forward – a crowded, yet underwhelming position for the Pistons. But Charlie Villanueva and Chris Wilcox might be the only two Pistons whose ideal position is power forward.

Villanueva is certainly more talented than Haslem (and Wilcox might be, too, but that’s less relevant). Having a reliable alternative to Villanueva’s wild swings in production would be great directly – and indirectly, it might help Villanueva focus and become a better player.

It’s not ideal, but Haslem can hold his own at center, too. He’s certainly not another Wilcox, who despite being two inches taller than Haslem, was eaten alive while playing center last year. I’d prefer the Pistons sign someone who’s a little more adept at playing center, but Haslem is hardly a liability there.

In other words

Surya Fernandez of Hot Hot Hoops:

Strengths – Solid defender, energy guy who rarely plays out of control or is turnover prone, has a good knack of being at the right place for rebounds, reliable free throw shooter and midrange jumper. Even played center for an entire season which shows how much heart he has. Championship starter in 2006 and has considerable playoff experience.

Weaknesses – Still has a limited offensive game apart from his midrange jumper. Undersized for his position. Shouldn’t be asked to create his own jump shot. Will get a fair amount of shots blocked around the rim because of his size and footwork. Could learn a few fake moves so his offensive game wasn’t so predictable.

Should command about as much as he’s made in his last contract ($6-7 million) and has said he might consider a hometown discount for the Heat.


With LeBron James and Chris Bosh (and Mike Miller!) joining Dwyane Wade in Miami, Haslem could be the odd man out. For him to stay with the Heat, he’d almost assuredly have to take a minimum contract. A Miami native who played collegiately at Florida, he may take less money to stay with the Heat – but a minimum contract is quite the drop.

I expect to him at least test the market. Returning to Miami for the minimum will always be on the table.

The Pistons have shown interest in Haslem, according to Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News.

Because of his solid, yet low-upside game, Haslem might be the perfect type of free agent for the Pistons – someone worth the full mid-level exception who might not get better offers anywhere else.

I’d be a little concern about paying Haslem $7.6 million when he’s 35, but it’s not outrageous.


Haslem would bring a toughness and energy similar to that of Matt Barnes. And he’d do it at a position of greater need (assuming Tayshaun Prince isn’t traded).

Although Haslem is 30, he’s only spent seven years in the NBA. For a guy who’s played deep into the playoffs, there isn’t that much wear and tear on his body.

Haslem would be a nice, safe signing – and that just might be what Detroit needs.



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  • Jul 9, 20106:08 pm
    by DD3


    Definitely a NO! Do not grab another undersized player! We need a CENTER! We need a PG we need more athletic wing players. We are NOT a good enough team to gamble on Udonis Haslem or Matt Barnes! Man I love my Pistons & the Prince Jersey I am currently wearing, but unless we can get rid of Prince & Rip, we are going to be a bad team for a long long time!

    • Jul 9, 20109:13 pm
      by weezie


      AGREED!!! Haslem is older than dirt. Sorry Homes!
      Sheesh! Can we get somebody who can still run?!

    • Jul 12, 20105:59 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      DD3, what free-agent center do you want? Haslem can hold his own at the position.

      And dumping Prince and Rip won’t help much. They still have value. It’s important to get something in return for them.

  • Jul 10, 20101:10 pm
    by David


    Hold up – wait a minute!!!! I know we need a point guard, I know we need a center – but those 2 positions don’t grow on trees!!!! Name a serviceable young center that can defend that’s available for trade….I thought so – NONE!  If we can’t get a center – we need someone that can help Ben defend the interior (one game last year – I think 62 points in the lane)?!  I think Haslem is a good fit with Ben. We will be a bad team fro a long time if we continue our attempt to get younger without the assistance of quality vets! Dumars I see what you are trying to acomplish -you’ve got a 5 year plan. Keep goin’ to work and Go Pistons!!!!   P.S. I don’t see youth movements this side of the Thunder and the Bulls making the playoffs – and now even the Bulls have some seasoned Vets! That’s what wins championships – not young, not all old – but a mixture of the two – that’s called a Team!

  • Jul 12, 20106:07 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    David, I’m with you. Getting someone like Haslem will make the Pistons better in the short term. If they’re better in the short term, guys like Prince and Hamilton will have more trade value. And that’s how you get a center.

    I also don’t think Dumars looks at this as a five-year plan. A five-year plan involves a youth movement. I think he’s on a one-year plan to make the playoffs next year, then re-assess.

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