↓ Login/Logout ↓
Schedule/Results
↓ Roster ↓
Salaries
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Pistons achieving best case for season, not surprisingly, has a lot to do with Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond

Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated recently highlighted the best and worst case scenarios for each Eastern Conference team. Here was his take on the Pistons:

Best case: Andre Drummond shows enough flashes that he looks like the early steal of the 2012 class, Greg Monroe has enough double/doubles to be on the fringes of the All-Star discussion and Brandon Knight progresses as you would expect a second-year point guard to progress. (Charlie Villanueva deciding to retire would be great, too.)
Worst caseDrummond looks more like a project than an impact player, Knight doesn’t become a more efficient scorer and the veterans (Villanueva, Corey Maggette, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey) take on too many responsibilities, stunting the younger group’s development in an ill-conceived playoff push.

Pistons fans might not want to hear this, but this team is better off being bad than good, as the young talent base (Monroe, Knight, Drummond) is solid but shy of excellent and the rest of the pieces are way too expensive and/or meaningless on a middle-of-the-road team. This is still talent-acquisition time. Detroit owes its 2013 first-round pick to the Bobcats if it’s not a lottery pick; keeping that pick, considering the roster landscape, would be far preferable to squeezing in as the eighth seed. The good news is that Drummond brings a watchability factor that has been absent over the last three seasons, all of which ended in the lottery. Good or bad, he will have you asking, “What will he do next?”

I actually agree with Golliver’s point in that final graph. Although as a fan I’m certainly rooting for the team to make the playoffs, it might be best for the team in the long-term if they stay in competition for that final playoff spot in the East all season but ultimately fall short so that their first round draft pick stays here.

27 Comments

  • Oct 29, 201212:10 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    I respectfully disagree.

    I think the Pistons biggest next move should be a free agent, not a #10-14 pick in a draft that’s even weaker than last years.

    Making the playoffs and having unproductive players expire makes room and creates attraction for a free agent that fits.

    They’ve got 5 rookies this year, they don’t really need one next year. They need Josh Smith or some other star that wants to be a foundational piece on an up and coming team. Its a team sport, players see things like that. The only real way to prove that they’re up and coming is to make the playoffs unexpectedly.

    I’d love for them to make the playoffs, get an undervalued pg in the 2nd round, get Josh Smith or a good trade that they really want. 

    • Oct 29, 20121:09 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “I think the Pistons biggest next move should be a free agent, not a #10-14 pick in a draft that’s even weaker than last years.”

      Why can’t it be both? And keeping that draft pick doesn’t even mean they have to use it. It could be an asset used in a deal for a talented veteran player. 

      • Oct 29, 20121:14 pm
        by Chris N

        Reply

        PH, I guess I’m not seeing the benefit of a picking up a draft pick over getting into the playoffs this year.  Can you elaborate a bit more?

        • Oct 29, 20121:33 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          See below. But the gist of it is keeping a lottery pick is an asset, whether they draft a player for themselves or not. They can use it in a trade too. Sure, seeing the team in the playoffs would be great. I’m totally OK if they make it. But they’re still in a talent acquisition phase, and a first round draft pick is a good asset to have if you’re in the market for more talent.

      • Oct 29, 20121:24 pm
        by vic

        Reply

        I think the up and coming factor is pretty big. Free agents need to want to play for your team.

        A team that just made the playoffs with 3 major players only in their 2nd or 3rd year, starts to draw more attention. Versus a lottery team with a #12 draft pick.

        Despite all the talk about weather and markets – basketball is still a team sport. Guys want to stack their team and pick the best teammates like in a pickup game. An up and coming team is more attractive.

        • Oct 29, 20121:34 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Well, having the ability to pay is also huge factor. Not many teams will be in that position. And if the Pistons have a collection of assets, along with cap room, it also positions them to do a sign and trade and potentially offer more money to specific FAs.

        • Oct 29, 201210:24 pm
          by TheDude

          Reply

          I agree wholeheartedly, and I wish more people could see this

  • Oct 29, 201212:42 pm
    by Chris N

    Reply

    Not sure I understand that line of thinking.  If the Pistons challenge for a playoff spot but ultimately fall short of capturing one, they’ll retain a draft selection which is likely to be a late, late lottery pick.  What’s the benefit here?  They’ll be able to add yet another inexperienced talent that they’ll have to figure out how to plug into an already strangely composed roster.  Were this off-season to be similar to the previous two (i.e. little in the way of cap flexibility, a moratorium on taking on salaries) I’d begrudgingly agree with you.  

    But this off season is the first in a few years where the Pistons have an opportunity to boldly change their roster both in terms of their mental outlook and talent level.  If they are able to make the playoffs, they cross a threshold.  They go from being a team of upstarts to a team on the move – a team with expectations heading into next season.  Its the difference between going 12 rounds and losing by decision and going 12 rounds and winning by decision.  Both tell inform you that you have things you need to work on for your next fight, but one tells you that despite your flaws, you’re headed in the right direction.

    The Pistons need to improve their talent base, absolutely, but I think just as important is that they need to see themselves as a team capable of turning the corner and becoming a playoff-capable team. Perception among fans, media and potential free agents is impacted by a playoff birth.  Sponsors treat playoff bound teams differently (especially small market ones) than they do lottery bound teams.

    With all that said, the odds are fair that the Pistons will once again return to the lottery at the end of the year, but I don’t think that will be in their best interests.

    • Oct 29, 20121:14 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “If the Pistons challenge for a playoff spot but ultimately fall short of capturing one, they’ll retain a draft selection which is likely to be a late, late lottery pick.  What’s the benefit here?”

      Has the team not had a good run of finding talent in the late lottery?

      “They’ll be able to add yet another inexperienced talent that they’ll have to figure out how to plug into an already strangely composed roster. ”

      Who says they have to add the player, necessarily? The late lottery pick is an asset. Either they use the pick in an offseason trade (or possibly sign and trade, since they’ll be pursuing players in free agency) or Dumars continues his run of finding useful prospects in the draft.

      Teams looking to unload veteran players in trades want two things in return: draft picks and/or players with upside on rookie deals. I don’t get how adding this hurts the Pistons at all?

      “The Pistons need to improve their talent base, absolutely, but I think just as important is that they need to see themselves as a team capable of turning the corner and becoming a playoff-capable team”

      If they are competitive for that spot all season and come up a bit short, doesn’t that accomplish it still? They get the experience of playing meaningful games in the spring, but ultimately fall just a bit short. Then they keep an asset that (small chance) turn into a top three pick if they win the lottery, could be used as trade bait or at the very least could add another solid prospect to their mix to reload next season and build on what they did this year. 

      • Oct 29, 20121:29 pm
        by sop

        Reply

        It’s worth mentioning that there is no late lottery shooting talent on the wings this year’s draft. That is unless your certain Otto Porter, Michael Carter-Williams or Be McLemore are better deep threats than Singler. (Yes you’re supposed to be asking “Who?”)

        • Oct 29, 20121:32 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Like I said, I’m not so much lobbying for the Pistons to get another late lottery player. But the pick itself is still an asset that they can use to improve.

          The Pistons need more talent. I’m not saying they’ll find it in the draft, but if they have a lottery pick this year, it does give them more options to acquire that talent. 

          • Oct 29, 20122:14 pm
            by vic

            I get what you’re saying about having an extra asset for a sign & trade. 

            I’m thinking more about straight unrestricted free agent signings, and josh smith.

            Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry are good options too though maybe for sign & trades. 

        • Oct 29, 20125:54 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          It’s worth mentioning that we have only a very vague idea of what sort of talent will be in next year’s draft. It is just much too far away. Things change… a lot.

  • Oct 29, 201212:43 pm
    by Nick

    Reply

    Who would they trade for a player like Josh Smith, if they push and make the play-offs it isnt going to be because of a vetern player on there squad pulling a career year. it will be because they all worked well together, so if we have to trade off one of those pieces to add a piece that might not fit or cause a shake up. I dont see a reason for that.

    • Oct 29, 20121:01 pm
      by Chris N

      Reply

      Perhaps you trade a guy like Stuckey?  Final year of his contract, just hitting his prime years.  I’m not saying that they should trade him, just suggesting that might be someone they put out there.  Atlanta has  Jeff Teague, Lou Williams and Devin Harris in their backcourt, but could definitely make use of someone with Stuckey’s skill set.

       As for the Pistons, Josh Smith would give them the multi-skilled stretch four that Joe D has wanted since Rasheed Wallace left town.  That Smith is ultra-athletic and just hitting his prime is also a bonus.  Smith would allow the Pistons to set up a bunch of line-up problems.  Drummond and Smith give you a very athletic, defensively aggressive combo.  Monroe and Smith would really allow the Pistons to spread the floor offensively.  And conceivably, Smith could play some at the three could really cause nightmares for the opposition.

      This is all conjecture of course.  The Hawks cap space is looking pretty good these days so unless Smith is  pushing to get out of town or has a number way higher than what Atlanta wants to pay, I don’t see him necessarily leaving the Hawks.

    • Oct 29, 20125:55 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      People aren’t talking about trading for Smoove, but about signing him outright as a FA.

  • Oct 29, 20122:20 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    Smith is not a stretch four. He can’t shoot the 3- or play the 3. good player, but not a stretch four.

     

  • Oct 29, 20122:46 pm
    by DasMark

    Reply

    I don’t understand the argument here? Which worst-case scenario is best for them? 

    Having any first round pick is an asset. Tons of all stars, and great players have been picked in the teens by smart drafting teams. You don’t have to have a top 5 pick to get talent, Detroit is an example of this. Monroe was drafted 8th, and has been the most productive player from that draft. 

    Detroit will compete, and let the record fall where it may. If they lose the pick in a draft where the players entering are considered weaker than years past, oh well. Nothing can be done now. 

    Detroit’s future (as the team is currently constructed) will depend on the internal growth of Knight, Stuckey and Drummond. Blowing through all their cap space this summer will only hinder them when the three players mentioned above are up for contract extensions. Monroe is going to get a max deal next year. Knight will likely see something around 9 million if his game continues to expand and mature, and if Drummond can do in the regular season what he did in the preseason, he will be another max contract in waiting. 

    Tying up A+ money for a B- player to come to Detroit this summer is what got the team in its current predicament. And for the record, why on Earth would Josh Smith come to Detroit? WHY? He has a better team in Atlanta.  

    • Oct 29, 20125:59 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Why would he come to Detroit? Detroit at this point has more upside in the next several years, he has been rumored to want to be in Motown before, and by far the most important, money. It’s usually about money. If Atlanta pays him top dollar, he probably won’t leave. If Detroit gives him a better offer, I’m sure he would at least strongly consider it. What he is worth is another matter altogether. And I don’t know your grading scale, but I would not call a perennial fringe all-star a B- player.

  • Oct 29, 20124:40 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    Speculation on the Pistons future cap situation:
    Monroe $15m, Starting in 2014-15 season.
    Stuckey $8-9m, continuous.
    SF Free agent, $15m, starting in 2013-14 season.
    Knight $9m, starting in 2015-16 season.
    Drummond $15m, Starting in 2016-17 season.
    Adds up to $63m – a lot for a starting lineup, but ok if it’s a contender.

    Having Drummond on a rookie contract until 2016 is huge. They can sign a starting SF next summer, or trade for one this season, and not have to pay that SF and Drummond at the same time for another 3 years. After they amnesty CV next summer and have some contracts expire, the books are very clean, except for Prince’s contract. And Prince’s contract is gone after 2014-15 – before they have to pay Knight or Drummond. 

    With the state of the Pistons cap and contract status next summer, they MUST get someone good at either point guard or on the wing. Worrying about paying Knight and Stuckey and Monroe and Drummond big contracts all at the same time isn’t a serious worry, in my opinion. If, in four years, the pistons are looking at:

    Monroe and Drummond worth max deals
    a SF worth a max deal
    Knight and Stuckey both quality starters worth around $9m per season

    Then HOORAY we have a title contender – and potentially a really scary one with that frontline duo. The only problem is if the money is spent on players who aren’t worth the contract.

  • Oct 29, 20126:30 pm
    by David

    Reply

    I just don’t seem to understand the reasoning behind signing Josh Smith. Many pistons fans including myself see Drummond and Monroe as the future in the front court. Why sign him to a max contract that becomes a liability in the last couple of years because his game is based on pure athleticism and that will go downhill after he reaches his 30′s. the pistons do not need to invest max contract money into the frontcourt. As most haves have noted star power on the wings, hopefully at the 3, is the biggest need and Josh Smith’s skill set isn’t suited to play 30+ minutes a night at SF.

    • Oct 29, 20128:04 pm
      by TheDude

      Reply

      I agree. I keep hearing Josh Smith talk. The thing is people, when trading expiring contracts you can get someone who makes more sense for this team.

      • Oct 29, 20129:52 pm
        by David

        Reply

        I believe the Pistons will be best served to add a playmaker/fring all star via trade than overpay for either Josh Smith or Paul Millsap

        • Oct 29, 201210:29 pm
          by TheDude

          Reply

          Indeed, and clear up all the expiring deals, and guys with no business on this team. We can essentially free up the bench for people like Singler, JJ, and English, Slava and a backup PG to make it 10 regular guys in the rotation. Middleton could beat out English, I’m not sure if they are both going to make it.

          • Oct 29, 201211:26 pm
            by David

            I know that everyone loves the thought of a Knight Stuckey Jerebko Monroe Drummond starting five, but I think JJ’s true value is at the backup 4. With Singlers 3 pt shooting and classic “glue guy” overall skills I would be content if he played just as many minutes as Tay. Singler would be a very valuable asset off the bench once we have a dynamic scoring 3. I actually like Middleton over English. I don’t see English becoming the next Afflalo even though I’d love it. I agree with you, a distributing backup PG is essential and I’ve never been a fan of Bynum.

        • Oct 30, 201210:29 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          The downside to adding a big time player via trade is that, unless that player is on a terrible Joe-Johnson-esque deal, big time assets will have to be surrendered to acquire the player. Teams aren’t just trading away even aging stars (like Pierce or Nash) for nothing/expiring contracts, much less very good players who almost certainly have several productive years left.

      • Oct 30, 201210:54 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        There are several reasons for the Josh Smith talk, mostly because he is seen as one of the best FAs likely to actually consider switching teams and because, for a number of reasons, he has long been on Pistons fans’ radar.

        I am just one of the commenters on this site who would like to see the Pistons make a run for Smoove, so obviously I can’t speak for all of them. But I would not want Dumars to offer Smith a max contract. Something more in the range of $12M/yr seems reasonable, but not the max. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that either with max dollars or around what I proposed, under the current CBA, the deal would only run 4 years. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Smith starting to decline in the last year of that deal, but that his production would not fall off a cliff for another season or three.

        As for the positional concerns, I wouldn’t get too hung up on those. You need at least three guys in your frontcourt rotation anyway. I do believe that Smith could play well as a SF. But he is best suited to the PF. It would seem that you believe his contributions would suffer more than I believe they would by spending much time at the SF. But that is immaterial, because, even if he is spending just 10 min/gm there (and if he were on the Pistons, I’d expect him to play SF 10-20 min/gm), that already allows Monroe, Drummond, and Smith to each get over 35 minutes. And that is if everyone stays healthy. If one of them is injured, the roles of the other two expand further.

        Also, I love what I’m seeing from Drummond. But, as I have yet to see it in the regular season, I’m not yet quite ready to call him a sure thing to be a long-term part of the core. But let’s say he is. And for some strange reason Smith, Monroe, and Drummond don’t mesh well. Guess what? All three guys would have plenty of interest around the league and I’m sure a trade could be struck.

        Finally, if the Pistons need another big time piece for their core, who do you recommend? Obviously, if the Pistons threw max deals at Howard and Paul and one of them took it, that’s be awesome. But short of those two, the FA crop isn’t overwhelmingly strong. Millsap and Jefferson probably have more compatibility issues than Smoove. Iguodala would be nice but he seems less likely to move than Smith. Most other good FAs will be RFAs meaning Dumars would definitely have to overpay to get them (as opposed to guys like Smith who he might have to overpay to get). Of those RFAs, the ones with much interest to Pistons fans tend to be Harden (who Houston would definitely match any offer to) and Paul George. I don’t think George is worth a max deal, but I wouldn’t be enraged about his being extended one (again because of the just 4 years). I also don’t know if Indiana would match that, but I’m leaning toward the idea that they would. So that leaves the hope that financial distress forces Memphis or Indiana to dump Gay or Granger and that they get no better offers than just expiring contracts and maybe Jerebko/first round pick.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your Ad Here