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Joe Dumars’ triumphant return puts focus on what’s next, especially for Brandon Knight

"One day it might hit me. I might get in a position where it’s time for me to win one more (championship)," Prince said. "To go to a contender-type team. I might go to Joe that day and say ‘it’s time for me to move on’ and play that route but now is not the time."

-Tayshaun Prince earlier this month

"I’ve got the question [from NBA teams], ‘Am I a true point guard?’ " Knight said. "And obviously my answer is yes. I think I was able to prove that this past season as I developed into a guy who can facilitate and run a team."

-Brandon Knight in June 2011

***

Two weeks ago, more brazenly than ever, Tayshaun Prince was dictating the terms of his status in Detroit. Yesterday, he left The Palace “shocked” after the Pistons traded him and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jose Calderon.

After years of failed experiments – Allen Iverson as game-changing scorer on a balanced team, Rodney Stuckey as point guard, John Kuester as head coach, Charlie Villanueva and Daye as revolutionary stretch fours, Prince as team leader – Joe Dumars restored faith in his ability as general manager with a forceful reminder that he can make the cold decisions necessary to build a successful team.

In one fell swoop, Dumars upgraded the current roster and improved the salary structure. All it took was trading a player he’s clearly fond of, a move many thought Dumars was incapable of making. Now, who knows Dumars’ limits? After this great trade, he has the momentum – and mandate – to make more changes.

The Pistons have a new rotation to set and more cap room to use this summer. This trade is not an end, but it provides the means for greater solutions.

There’s a hole to fill at small forward and the means to acquire a more traditional shooting guard this summer, but the biggest question comes at point guard. Is this trade at all an acknowledgement that Brandon Knight might not be the point guard of the future in Detroit?

Knight, to date, has failed to become a starting-caliber NBA point guard in what might be another of Dumars’ misguided experiments. Does Dumars want to move Knight to shooting guard? Does Dumars want to make Knight a backup? Does Dumars want to trade Knight? Is Dumars even considering any of those plans?

I’ll get back to those questions, but first, I want to address three things I feel confident this trade will accomplish:

Cure a culture of complacency

The trade is a much-needed shakeup that immediately restores faith in Dumars, whose approval rating had definitely fallen below 50 percent. Any spike in support is definitely fleeting, the temporary joy of a recent move.

But let’s not ruin this moment. We haven’t had many like it lately.

It’s been nearly four years since the Pistons made a good trade, nearly seven years since they made a good trade that acquired a valuable asset and nearly nine years since they made a good trade that acquire a valuable player.

Last good trades:

  • Feb. 16, 2009 – Alex Acker and a second-round pick for a second-round pick
  • Feb. 21, 2008 – Primoz Brezec for Juan Dixon
  • Dec. 14, 2007 – Nazr Mohammed for Primoz Brezec and Walter Herrmann
  • June 28, 2006 – Maurice Evans for Cheikh Samb
  • Feb. 15, 2006 – Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo for Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick (Rodney Stuckey)
  • Oct. 31, 2005 – Ronald Dupree for a second-round pick
  • Feb. 19, 2004 – Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter and two first-round picks for Rasheed Wallace and Mike James

I’m convinced that if every current NBA general manager were assigned a random different team, trading would occur at a frenzied pace. But in reality, over time, GMs shed players they don’t want and accumulate players they want, which leads to stagnancy. The effect is two-fold. One, GMs are shopping players they like. Two, GMs are negotiating for players their counterparts like.

The effect is especially true for someone like Dumars, who’s had a dozen years to craft the Pistons in his image. Dumars rushed to re-sign Prince, Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko after the lockout showed how much he’d believed in the roster he’d assembled – as if Kuester were the only problem.

But this trade shows Dumars is moving on, and if he sees progress the rest of this season, that could propel more changes. Stuckey (trade), Villanueva (amnesty or trade), Jason Maxiell (free agency) and Will Bynum (free agency) could all be on their way out within the next six months, and in all likelihood, that would be for the better.

Promote Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe

Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are the future, and Prince – due to both his style of play and lengthy contract – poisoned progress. Calderon is the antidote.

Calderon is a pass-first point guard who will run pick-and-rolls with Drummond and Monroe and throw proper entry passes to Monroe in the post. At 31, Calderon is a defensive liability, but hopefully that will mean more playing time for Detroit’s best shot blocker, Drummond.

Unlike the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette trade, this isn’t only about the expiring contract the Pistons are acquiring. This is more like the Allen Iverson trade – except Detroit didn’t trade an MVP candidate, didn’t blow up a winning team and didn’t acquire a malcontent – in that the Pistons are getting a player they believe can help now before a long-term decision must be made in the summer.

The rest of the season will serve as an audition for, not necessarily Calderon specifically, but a traditional point guard. If these Pistons, especially Drummond and Monroe, click with someone like Calderon, acquiring a traditional point guard should become a priority. Maybe that means drafting Trey Burke. Maybe that means re-signing Calderon. There will be time to evaluate.

And if Calderon’s style doesn’t make a difference with this group? The Pistons can let him walk and try again for a player who better complements Drummond and Monroe.

Put Tayshaun Prince in a better place

When the Pistons re-signed Prince, I wrote the decision was largely driven by Dumars’ desire to keep a player he was comfortable with on a personal and professional level, and I stand by that. But I also wrote it was possible Dumars, in addition to hanging onto a prized player a bit longer, gave himself a chance to reverse course later:

Acquiring good players is difficult, and teams rarely (and usually wisely) allow good players just to walk away. Keeping a good player for fair cost makes even more sense.

If Prince continues to produce at a high level, the Pistons could decide on him from a position of power later – trading him if they want to rebuild or keeping him if he’s helping the team win. Right now, Prince, had the upper hand, because he could use 30 teams for leverage against each other.

That turned out to be the case. Once Dumars had the leverage, he traded Prince, but he also did Prince a favor.

The Grizzlies are a great fit for Prince. They emphasize defense, play at a slow pace, have major minutes available for Prince – and win. Prince hasn’t won a playoff game in five seasons, and he deserves for that to change.

I’m rooting for Prince in Memphis, and I’ll be watching their playoff games closely.

The Unknown: Brandon Knight

Knight clearly believes he’s a point guard, but Prince seemed to believe he could decide if and when the Pistons trade him.

Dumars gave Prince a chance to prove his viability with this rebuilding Pistons team, but it never really meshed. I suspect Dumars will continue to give Knight a chance at point guard, but the big question is, for how long?

Knight is only 21 years old, and there’s plenty of time for him develop the court vision he’s been lacking. But, if Calderon plays well this season, how long can the Pistons wait on Knight?

Fairly or unfairly, Knight’s timer to learn the point guard position should accelerate, because Calderon’s expiring contract will necessitate a quicker decision.

I suspect we’ll see Knight play both point guard and shooting guard the rest of this season, getting minutes with and without Calderon, in an effort to collect as much information as possible. If Knight is the point guard of the future, the Pistons must determine that before re-signing Calderon or drafting a younger version. If Knight is the shooting guard of the future, the Pistons must determine that before investing in another one this summer. If Knight is neither, that would be helpful to know, too.

If, at some point, it comes to telling Knight he’s not the point guard anymore, that won’t be easy. I’m sure it would leave Knight shocked.

But now, more than ever, I trust Dumars is willing and able to make that call.

74 Comments

  • Jan 31, 201310:01 am
    by Oracle

    Reply

    Very exciting summer coming up.  Teams with lots of cap space:  Atlanta, Cleveland, New Orleans, Detroit, Utah.  Not a lot of “destination” spots, there.  Should be very interesting.

  • Jan 31, 201310:04 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    If Zach Randolph and Mark Gasol stay healthy, Tay could win it all this year with Memphis. The grizzlies are a really good team, and small ball is way overrated.

    As a matter of fact, I hope they win it all, because if they do it will make the pistons stay the course on the game plan of winning with BIGS and smart players, rather than all Iso-based scoring and small ball. 

    So In a weird kind of roundabout  way, Tay stil has an opportunity to help the Pistons by winning in Memphis. 

    • Jan 31, 201310:28 am
      by CNA5

      Reply

      “I’m convinced that if every current NBA general manager were assigned a random different team, trading would occur at a frenzied pace. But in reality, over time, GMs shed players they don’t want and accumulate players they want, which leads to stagnancy. The effect is two-fold. One, GMs are shopping players they like. Two, GMs are negotiating for players their counterparts like.”
       
      This is pretty profound.  I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement.
       
      “The rest of the season will serve as an audition for, not necessarily Calderon specifically, but a traditional point guard. If these Pistons, especially Drummond and Monroe, click with someone like Calderon, acquiring a traditional point guard should become a priority. Maybe that means drafting Trey Burke. Maybe that means re-signing Calderon. There will be time to evaluate.”
       
      At first glance, I didn’t understand what this trade was about.  The Pistons are unlikely to land a top tier free agent.  Now that you mentioned that, it’s clear-  Dumars considers Monroe and Drummond his core.  It’s all about finding pieces that suit them.
      I’ve never been convinced that you MUST have a pass first PG to win.  But, maybe these guys do.  And, if these guys are your core, you need to find players that complement them and they can help as well.
       
      Excellent post.  I’m excited to see where this is going to go now.

    • Jan 31, 201310:29 am
      by CNA5

      Reply

      Oops… mixed replies.
       
      Good point Vic.  If Memphis gets decent backcourt play, their size is impressive.

  • Jan 31, 201310:22 am
    by vali

    Reply

    Hi guys,
    I’m a Raptor fan but more than that a big Jose fan. I really, love the analysis of this article and I can tell you right now -in Jose- , you’ll get  a very good PG and a wonderful human being. Jose is NOT an impact player but rather a facilitator who thrives in a system with lots of PnR. His defense deficiencies can be easily be masked with a shot blocker because he knows how to drive the opponent in an area where help will come. It will be interesting to see how he will mesh with a new team since this is his first trade. I’m sure it will be a period of audition for both Jose and the Pistons vis-a-vis of each other. Having said that, the rumors in Spanish press is that he’s considering returning home unless a very good deal will come along. however, he was /is the consummate pro and you will not have any trouble in the locker room with him.
    Wishing you and Jose lots of success and I truly hope Colangelo gets fired rather sooner than later; I just hate this guy…lol

    • Jan 31, 201311:48 am
      by frankie d

      Reply

      @vali
      thanks for the note.
      i tune in to watch the raptors, often, just to see what amir is doing.
      i’ve watched plenty of games where calderon just dominates with pick and rolls with amir.
      he is truly amazing to watch when he runs it with a big – like amir – who rolls hard to the rim.
      he makes amir look like an all star.
      i am really looking forward to seeing what he is able to do with drummond.
      it should be a real treat.
      pistons fans have not had a point guard like calderon for a long, long time.  even chauncey was not the pick and roll maestro that calderon is. 

      • Jan 31, 201311:59 am
        by vali

        Reply

        As a matter of fact, I noticed that  Amir looked either pissed or “lost” last night. I truly hope he will still have touches in our new improvised “offense”

        • Jan 31, 201312:15 pm
          by frankie d

          Reply

          well, i would bet that life will be a lot harder for a guy like amir without calderon setting him up for all those easy buckets right at the rim.  i always thought that amir’s play always was less effective unless he was on the court with calderon.
          amir will definitely miss calderon. 
          i don’t think pistons’ fans realize how good calderon is on the pick and roll and how important a skill that can be, when you have a guy like amir…or drummond. 

  • Jan 31, 201310:26 am
    by hoophabit

    Reply

    It’s a good move all around.  Tay really should view this as a kindness.
     
    Knight is a mystery as he hasn’t developed much consistency.  When he’s hitting the long ball and the floater he looks like a real weapon, but then he’ll go through streaks where he can’t throw it in the ocean and (odd for such a reportedly smart guy) stupidly dribble in trouble time and again.  If he can’t become more consistent he won’t be much help at either guard spot.
     
    In any case, Piston guard play has been pretty bad so far this year, and having someone who can run a team will help them evaluate the rest of the talent.
     

    • Jan 31, 201312:06 pm
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      That’s it right there for me.  I could live with Knight if he controlled the dumb turnovers he makes night in and night out.
       
      CB wasn’t the worlds greatest passer either but he didn’t turn the ball over and that makes a huge difference when running a team.

  • Jan 31, 201310:26 am
    by Haan

    Reply

    Good stuff, Dan.  An immediate question concerns how the guards will be combined this season.  I think Knight’s ultimate role is as 6th man, where he could be quite valuable a la Jason Terry.  Playing Stuckey next to Calderon makes sense to me, but then you’d have a miniature backup guard set in Knight and Bynum on the second unit.

    • Jan 31, 201310:43 am
      by apa8ren9

      Reply

      Hopefully there will be a reduced role with Bynum.  Calderon can play just as bad defense as Bynum but is a superior decision maker.  I thing there will be more Calderon and less Bynum, unless there is an injury.

      • Jan 31, 201312:19 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        unfortunately, bynum will probably be odd man out.  i imagine the starters will be calderon and knight, with stuckey as 3rd guard.  and english as the 4th guard.
        it should be clear that bynum and stuckey cannot play together.  they are too similar.  bynum’s outside shooting is just too erratic, and his domination of the ball works against stuckey.
        love bynum and wish him well, but he has always been – except for short stretches – the odd guy out on the roster.
        here’s hoping detroit can trade him for something of value.
         

  • Jan 31, 201310:45 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    Bk can learn from calderon… Bk can shift to sg… i think we need to know what happens with stuck and bynum next? I like calderon,, he is a poor man’s steve nash… 

    To me.. We need to move stuck before the deadline… My ideal guy to bring with will be jennings or tyreke Evans… 

  • Jan 31, 201310:47 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Great Article…it provided a great unbias perspective…

    My feeling is Trade Knight….not because i dont believe in his talent, but because this system is not built for player like him….

    I can argue this point until my face turn blue…

    Monroe
    Maxiell
    Prince
    Singler
    ……………is NOT easy line up to play with especially as a young developing PG… none of those player make it easy…

    theres no spacing, no balance and no conststency in that line up….

    Now with Calderon….

    Monroe
    Maxiell (maybe Drummond)
    Singler
    Knight

    Theres Balance, Spacing which creates the potential for consistency

    However, that same spacing , and balance Knight never had a chance to play with…

  • Jan 31, 201310:49 am
    by mixmasta

    Reply

    Great analysis DF. 
     
    I’m just glad that things look clearer with this trade and JD is back in his game!

  • Jan 31, 201310:51 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Knight WILL Make it Easier for Calderon ….

    Also, people forget… the Raptors offense spreaded the floored and relied alot of 3 point shooting, and athlethic players ….

    that not Detroit offense

  • Jan 31, 201310:54 am
    by RandomGuy313

    Reply

    With regard to Knight, I always hearken back to my comparison of Jrue Holiday with him. Until this year, the comparisons in age, body type and style of play have been eerily similar. It has taken four years for Jrue to put it together and he has taken off.

    A lot of issues that I see with Knight is that everything seems so mechanical; you could almost see the gears moving in his brain when it comes to entry passes, alley oops, and running the pick n’ roll. He does not have the feel right now, but I believe his work ethic to get better and the time in this league will make him an asset.

    What we have now, is a above average defender, who can hit threes, drive to get himself buckets, and the court vision to see what he needs to do but lacks the fluidity and certainty to execute. 

    I do not think that Calderon coming here will have adverse effects for Knight. I thought in Orlando Knight and Bynum played rather well together. Add to Bynum’s game the consistency Calderon gives you, the Pistons offense will be better for it in the short term.

    • Jan 31, 201311:02 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      Doug Collins is one of my favorite coaches and, he is one of the best father figure type coaches in the league…

      He is another coach that gets the max out of a players skill set… Getting guys to play hard is easy… but getting the most out of their skill set…it takes time and patiences…

      • Jan 31, 201312:16 pm
        by jamesjones_det

        Reply

        Right on, Doug is one of the best player development coaches ever IMO.  I wish we could get a coach of his caliber with this young squad.

    • Jan 31, 201312:31 pm
      by Keith

      Reply

      It is notable that Jrue still isn’t terribly efficient, and his game really picked up when the scheme gave him a lot more opportunity to be himself and be creative with the ball. Our system was barely kind to PGs when Billups was here, and he was a a whole lot better than Knight/Holiday. I think Calderon will run the sets we have better, but until we start really maximizing our individual skillsets instead of our coach’s schematic ego, it’s hard to say how much we will be better.

  • Jan 31, 201311:01 am
    by Steve

    Reply

    Understandable to have criticism for Knight, but let’s not forget that he’s a 21 year old player who has only had a season and a half of NBA experience. 

    • Jan 31, 201311:21 am
      by Steve K

      Reply

      Agreed. I’m not saying Knight is untrade-able. But it would be a shame to see Knight demoted in favor of someone like Stuckey. I have much more faith in Knight on the floor. Stuckey’s inability to finish at the rim, plus his inability to hit a 3, makes him tough to watch. Knight is better on both fronts. Let’s pair him with Calderon and see how it goes.
      Now is the time to experiment.
       
       

  • Jan 31, 201311:21 am
    by Andrew

    Reply

    People seem to be really hard on Knight. I’ve watched all of the games this year, and he isn’t where you would ideally like him to be, but the talent to play PG is there. I don’t think people realize just last year Jrue Holiday had a very similar season to the one Knight is having now, almost identical. And many had the same questions about Holiday and whether he had the feel for the position. Knight can turn the corner, but he also has to have a coach that wants to turn that corner with him. Frank has to tailor this offense to Monroe and Knight’s strengths, they are the best ball players on the team right now. Next year when Drummond has another year under his belt will be right with them. These three are most important to the Pistons and Knight at SG would be a waste of his talents and the Piston’s time. If Frank doesn’t want to change then there is no reason to keep Knight, but he will be very good somewhere else at PG if a coach is willing to work with him. 

    • Jan 31, 201312:55 pm
      by CNA5

      Reply

      I think this is more of a trial to see what Monroe and Drummond like.  I agree with you that it’s too early to say Brandon Knight is not a PG.  But, Knight’s more of a scoring PG- not a pass first variety.
       
      Calderon will give Dumars enough information to see what his young bigs prefer.  I honestly have no idea whether they’re better suited to play with a scoring PG or a pass first one.  That’s why it will be a good trial, even if Calderon doesn’t stay or have too many defensive deficiencies.  It will give a good indication if Knight is a piece moving toward building a championship team.
       
      I agree with your sentiment.  Knight’s talents probably aren’t best served at being a full time SG.  This franchise is tied to Drummond and Monroe now.

  • Jan 31, 201311:26 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    “”"Frank has to tailor this offense to Monroe and Knight’s strengths, they are the best ball players on the team right now. Next year when Drummond has another year under his belt will be right with them. These three are most important to the Pistons and Knight at SG would be a waste of his talents and the Piston’s time. If Frank doesn’t want to change then there is no reason to keep Knight, but he will be very good somewhere else at PG if a coach is willing to work with him. ”"”

    CHECK THE IP ADDRESS!!!! ITS NOT ME!!!!

    @ANDREW!!!! EXACTLY!!!!! someone finally post comments who watches the same games I do…

    This a generic offense, but a offense that plays towards our best players Strenghths…

    • Jan 31, 201311:27 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      This a generic offense, NOT a offense that plays towards our best players Strenghths…

    • Jan 31, 201311:42 am
      by Andrew

      Reply

      There is a lot not to like about the offense, but I think to prove to people he can be a PG of the future he needs to control his turnovers. That is one thing he can control and hasn’t. Hopefully having a player behind him he will step up his game. I’m not convinced Calderon is a match made in heaven like everyone else, defensively he will infuriate Frank all game. 

  • Jan 31, 201311:33 am
    by Ryank

    Reply

    Can Singler be our small forward of the future?  I have been critical of what happens on the floor while he’s in the game, but take a look at the +/- column and it’s hard to say he’s not impacting the team in a positive way.  He’s been playing out of position chasing 2 guards…some night chasing Ellis around the court.  As a small forward, he’ll see the average foot speed of his defensive assignment decrease which will likely help him a lot.
     
    Singler has a nice all around game…he’ll never be a star at this level, but Tay was never one either.  Dependable small forward play; if he can provide that and Joe D can fill in the gaps around him with guys who have game changing skills, Singler might be the answer.  Toss Middleton to the scrap pile, or is he going to be a rotational player someday…backing up Singler?
     
    Knight is not a point guard.  It would be a huge step to go from terrible to average; and you can forget about going to terrible to above average or even to a star level.  Knight is a scoring guard.  Maybe he can fill that role within an offense that is focused around Monroe and Drummond (if Drummond learns to make free throws). 
     
    Potentially $30 million of cap space.  Do the sign Josh Smith to a max deal this summer?  Wow, superstar money to a guy who’s not a superstar.  Who else does all this cash go to?  I hope Joe doesn’t spend it on one way players who can only fill a specialist/scoring roll like he did last time.  Value is key…can Joe D find a Billups and get more bag for his buck?
     
     

  • Jan 31, 201311:41 am
    by mixmasta

    Reply

    You guys should check this out : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNb8kqmxO7I
     

    • Jan 31, 201312:13 pm
      by lisa

      Reply

      This was on TV last night, almost looked staged. Prince should get this guy a new jersey.

  • Jan 31, 201311:46 am
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    This trade gives Dumars sooo many options now.  Im not sold on knight as pg as well, I hate to give up on him and he turns to a good pg with someone else.  Its taken conley a while, holiday some yrs, billups in the past some yrs, etc.  There is a long track record of pg’s breaking out and figuring it out later in their career.  I do think at the end of the season we will have a good idea as you mentioned dan to know how the rest of the team handles a pass first pg.  I think these set of bigs will be the best calderon has ever played with.  I look for monroe scoring numbers and fg% to go up and to’s down.  If calderon can be kept in the summer for 5-6mil 3yr deal, i say keep him and knight as well.  Let knight get more experience and see if he can take over after calderon, knight would still just be 24.  
    *
    Dan do you think that this trade was part of Joe’s master plan?  Like when he traded bg to clear cap space this year, did he have a eye toward a trade like this to create even more space?  I read so many times that gm’s have already discussed trade scenarios and wait for the time to excute it.  Seems that Joe has a plan here. 
    *
    Would not be surprised to see another trade come down the pipeline as well, looking to recoup some draft picks.  Stuckey anyone?  
    *
    Would definitly like to see a future article looking at teams capped out and what players they may make available in a salary dump.     

  • Jan 31, 201311:47 am
    by Maeby

    Reply

    Marcus Smart > Trey Burke

    • Jan 31, 201311:53 am
      by frankie d

      Reply

      if smart can improve his shooting…yes.
      if he remains the iffy shooter he is presently…no. 

  • Jan 31, 201311:49 am
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    Does Brandon knight remind anyone of Kenny smith?   Just crossed my mind about him. Both good shooters, not the best distributers, but good players and kenny won a a couple of rings as a starting pg.  Just needed the right talent around him, plus a dominant big.  idk, just a thought.

    • Jan 31, 201312:21 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      kenny was an excellent ballhandler.  he just was not a great decision maker and looked for his shot too much.
      knight’s erratic ballhandling and his tendency to dribble himself into trouble is a huge problem.  he is not in smith’s league as a ballhandler. 

  • Jan 31, 201311:56 am
    by Corey

    Reply

    My theory on Knight, and I admit right up front this is speculation:

    We’re told that he’s very smart, super high GPA, etc… I believe that he’s suffering from being too cerebral a player. He’s used to THINKING his way through things. He has a hard time getting his mind to shut off enough to let him play naturally and reflexively. He doesn’t flow, because his brain is getting in the way. By the time he figures out what the next play should be, it’s too late.  So he makes the pass a moment too late, and the opportunity is gone, and it’s a turnover.  When he’s allowed to be more of a scorer, that’s more natural to him, and he plays more reflexively. 

    For some people, it can be hard to get the brain to quiet down and let you act spontaneously. But this CAN BE LEARNED. I went through the same thing in martial arts training, and if this is Knight’s problem, he can learn to overcome it.  And if he does, he could be a really good point guard.  He has all the physical tools. 

    All that said, I’m excited about watching Knight try to learn it as the BACKUP point guard and part-time shooting guard for the rest of this year.

    • Jan 31, 201310:39 pm
      by Tony

      Reply

      Your hypothesis is not that well thought out.   Most really intelligent people can see situations 2 to 3 steps ahead.  Great Chess players (most are very intelligent) see the board 5 to 6 moves ahead.  Knight might be very smart but his intelligence does not transfer onto the hardwood.  

  • Jan 31, 201312:12 pm
    by LT

    Reply

    dan, i would consider Trey Burke as a Scoring PG. From this article i am inferring that you see him as more of a pas first guy. can you please elaborate ?

    • Jan 31, 201312:25 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      agreed.  burke is a scoring point. 
      the big thing about burke, imho, is his assists to turnover ratio.  it is outstanding.  and it indicates that he is a guard who can distribute and make outstanding decisions.
      in fact, i’ve been arguing for a point guard like burke, and calderon is almost the perfect model for that kind of guard.
      excellent shooter from 3 point land.
      great decision maker.
      excellent assist man.
      outstanding t/o to assist ratio.
      maybe dan was describing burke in that fashion because dumars has always publicly stated that he didn’t think a guard of that sort was really necessary.   dumars has always stated that he preferred combo guards.  
      this trade seems to be a tacit admission that he’s been wrong. 

      • Jan 31, 201312:38 pm
        by Keith

        Reply

        My main issue with Burke is that he looks short and doesn’t have great quickness. Defensively, I think he’s going to struggle mightily, and may look a lot like Calderon in his career. That said, this would still be a great tryout for such a player. Our PG doesn’t need to be a passer only, that’s silly. If the opponent knows he’s only going to pass, they’ll lay off and stay in the lanes. You want a PG that can score efficiently on top of passing to keep defenses honest.

  • Jan 31, 201312:17 pm
    by lisa

    Reply

    Great piece. Gives me better understanding of trades and the underpinnings of what goes on and how teams work. Great post too! Enjoyed reading them.

  • Jan 31, 201312:21 pm
    by Jay

    Reply

    I really don’t wanna trade knight. He’s just playing with slow, ball hogging players with the first unit. For example, you have the Isotayshaun offense, Maxiell can’t hit a jumper usually, Monroe usually takes a few dribbles in the post before he shoots, and Singler just isn’t a knock down shooter when he’s open yet. I’m sure he’s gonna learn a lot from Calderon, in terms of patience,picking his shots, etc. Give him some more time…same things were said about Chauncey early in his career before he turned into Mr. Big Shot. We need Knight to continue the growth with this team. Knight’s committed and still learning…as shown with his work habits, loyalty etc. Keep him, y’all

  • Jan 31, 201312:24 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    Amateur GM time:

    I like the idea of resigning Calderon for 3 years at mid-levelish money. 3 years is a sweet spot for piston free agent contracts, as they would expire just before Drummonds $15m/year contract extension would kick in. So they need at least one 3 year contract this summer, to avoid tax down the road.

    The full plan will of course depend on draft positioning, and who they think is best available at their slot. But I see them drafting either a PG (Smart or Burke) or a wing (McLemore, Shabazz, or other).

    If they get a top pick and draft a wing, then they should:
    1 – Resign Calderon for 3 years
    2 – Sign Millsap for 3 years
    3 – Sign either Mayo (4 years, if they drafted a SF) or Iguodala (3 years, if they drafted a SG)

    If they draft a PG, then they should:

    1 – Sign Mayo (4 years)
    2 – Sign Iguodala (3 years)
    3 – Sign Millsap (3 years)

    Assuming them can get all 3 for around $30-32 million per year. Iguadala and Millsap are known quantities, excellent players, and 3 year $10m/year contracts would be reasonably safe, if they can get them for that.

    Sending Stuckey away as part of a sign & trade for one of these players would easily clear the space to make all 3 signable. Sending stuckey away in a trade may make it possible to sign Calderon, Mayo, Millsap, and Iguodala. Sound crazy? If they can trade Stuckey away in one of the signings, we’re talking $35M+ in available cap space. It’s possible. Assuming of course that we amnesty CV. PLEASE!

    At the start of next season, the roster could look something like this:

    (Draft a wing option)
    PG: Calderon, BK
    SG: Mayo or top draft pick, English, Stuckey unless traded away
    SF: Iguodala or top draft pick, JJ, Singler, Middleton
    PF: Monroe, Millsap
    C: Drummond, Kraftsov

    I’m picturing Monroe actually playing half PF and half Center, with Kravtsov getting only spot minutes in the normal rotation.

    or
    (draft a PG option)

    PG: BK and top draft pick, in some order
    SG: Mayo, English, maybe Stuckey
    SF: Iguodala, JJ, Singler, Middleton
    PF: Monroe, Millsap
    C: Drummond, Kravtsov

    or
    (Trade Stuckey and sign all four of Calderon, Millsap, Mayo, Iguodala)

    PG: Calderon, BK
    SG: Mayo, BK (backup at both spots – he’s a combo guard in real life, after all)
    SF: Iguodala, JJ, Singler, Middleton
    PF: Monroe, Millsap
    C: Drummond, Kravtsov

    … and this lineup still has an opening for playing time for a lottery pick guard.

    Additional thoughts:

    We need Millsap, not Josh Smith – Millsap can hit the 3 and spread the floor, meaning he can play with Monroe and Drummond at the same time, when desired.

    Iguodala may not hit the 3 well enough, not sure what his 3pt percentage is this year. Monroe and Drummond will need shooters around them – which is why I like having Calderon, Mayo, and Knight as the guard rotation, even with the size issues. If we can draft a 2 or 3 that can really shoot it, this team could be on the way next year.

    This team has been lucky enough to get potential stars with mid-lottery picks (Drummond and Monroe) so what we need in free agency are quality veterans with the right skills to round out the roster. But I mean quality, not overpriced mediocre players like Okafor.

    I’ll be slightly sad if we make the playoffs, and lose the chance to add one more cheap, quality player through the draft. On the other hand, that’s some more cap space to make the Calderon/Mayo/Iguodala/Millsap group signing more possible.

    Q: Is there a mid-priced free agent SF available this year that can really hit the 3?

    • Jan 31, 201312:44 pm
      by dziubz

      Reply

      Corey, no WAY that Iguodala signs for 10mil a season. He’s got almost 16mil on the table if he wants it

    • Jan 31, 20131:59 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Why would you pay Paul Millsap $10 million to come off the bench behind Drummond? And I’m not sure how familiar you are with his game, but he’s not a good 3pt shooter. He attempts less than 1 per game. He’s not there for floor spacing, he’s there to rebound and get points in the paint. Check his zone FG% for the last 30 days:
      http://vorped.com/bball/index.php/player/shotchart/932-Paul-Millsap

    • Jan 31, 20132:35 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Ok, let’s face reality. There’s no way you could sign Calderon, Mayo, Iguodala AND Millsap, even if you amnesty Charlie V. Calderon will get $8 million, Mayo is worth $10 million but will probably get overpaid at $14 million or better, Iguodala has a $16 million player option, so you know he’s not taking less than that, and Millsap will probably get another $10 million. That’s almost $50 million, and you’ve only got $33.

      With $33 million you could take a run at a high priced guy like Chris Paul and still have enough for a couple decent pieces, or you could go after a couple mid-range talents like Calderon and Mayo and still have enough for a solid bench player or 2. Keep in mind the Pistons are probably losing this year’s 1st round pick.

      As far as reasonably priced wings that can hit the 3?
      Kyle Korver – 47 3PT%, making $5M
      Mike Dunleavy – 48%, making $3.75M
      Martell Webster – 41%, making $1.6M (he’s legit too, with 3.6 attempts per game)
      J.J. Redick – 40%, making $6M (although he’s a 2 and should get at least $8M)
      Nick Young – 38%, making $5.6M
      Francisco Garcia – 37%, making $6M
      There are a couple guys I like that wouldn’t qualify for that list, but here they are:
      Kevin Martin – 43%, making $12M (he’s more expensive, but more rounded offensively)
      Corey Brewer – 33%, making $3M (the 33% is low, but he’s really dangerous at the corner 3, hitting about 40% from there and plays really good D)

  • Jan 31, 201312:34 pm
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    Great start to improving the team.  Hopefully it will give some more playing time to JJ & English.  If we keep losing by 20-30 points a night, maybe them and Slava will keep getting minutes.  Even if we got nothing in return for this, I would still concider it a positve for the Pistons.  Just removing Daye & Prince let’s them see what they have with their younger players and know where they need to pick someone up in free agency, drafts or additional trades.

    Only other player I think that needs to go for sure is Stuckey.  We have seen what he can do for a long enough period of time to know what he is.

  • Jan 31, 201312:36 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    my nightmare is that joe d is saving his money to try to sign josh smith.
    there have been plenty of rumors about smith here in detroit and my guess is that it doesn’t generate out of thin air.
    i’d bet that joe has had the same kind of crush on smith that he had on iverson and has just been waiting to get a chance to pounce.
    smith is poison.
    he’s a tweener who will never be happy playing the role he should play, and he’ll distort whatever team he is on as a result.
    sorry, i just don’t have any use for a career 28% 3 point shooter who likes to jack up 3 pointers when his explosive arse should be down on the block destroying guys who can’t get anywhere near him once he starts making his move.
    what was the saying about a great, but dumb athlete…
    million dollar talent, ten cent head.
    no thanks. 

    • Jan 31, 20136:56 pm
      by D_S_V

      Reply

      I was toying with the idea of a Smith-Drummond 4-5 combo in my head. Hopefully while getting a blue chip 1,2,3 for Monroe. Gotta say, I kinda liked it.

  • Jan 31, 201312:42 pm
    by dziubz

    Reply

    So this was obviously a huge win for Dumars, but the ONE problem I see with it is that if this Calderon experiment “works” and the pistons make the playoffs, all this talk about drafting a point guard is irrelevant because we won’t have a first round pick next year! Still hoping for playoffs here, but I think we could get some real talent even if it’s at the 15 spot (read: trey burke).

    • Jan 31, 201312:47 pm
      by Reaction

      Reply

      That is what I’m worried about too.. even if we make it into the playoffs this year we would  probably get swept out. We should really be looking to deal Calderon or Stuckey by the trade deadline to teams like Boston etc who need a PG. I think we should go with a full on youth movement. 

      • Jan 31, 20131:22 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        as much as i like calderon, that might be the best move to make.
        it might be easier to trade calderon for…say a first round choice, plus, than tay.
        i do think, however, that the team will improve pretty dramatically, with calderon at pg.
        how that will translate into w/l’s remains to be seen. 

      • Jan 31, 20131:56 pm
        by sebastian

        Reply

        Reaction, I have been thinking the same thing: Dealing Calderon, quick, fast, and before the trade deadline.
        I really believe that Stuckey represents value for US in two ways: 1) as a 6th man, Bully Guard, where he can split time with the starting PG and SG and is that player that can come into games – run the offense, get to the line, while getting opposing players in foul trouble and helping to set-up OUR defense, after his frequent trips to the line; and 2) Stuckey comes at a considerable discount, next season only guaranteed $4.5 million of his current contract, as he will be playing for another contract he may prove to be more effective, while playing for a new contract.
        Yes. Deal Calderon, while his value is at its highest, There are teams that can use his services, while being able to trim $10 million from their respective salary caps.
        Look, Pistons Pals, somebody is going to have to go. There are currently 4 PGs on the roster and no true SG or SF.
        What about Calderon to Boston for Jeff Green – http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=9wh8yqe?
        or
        Calderon and Singler for Josh Smith – http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=awgxgzf.
        Each of the above trades could then create a starting SG spot for English.
         
         

        • Jan 31, 20133:16 pm
          by G

          Reply

          I’d argue there are 2 PGs on the roster – Calderon and Bynum, and 3 shooting guards – Knight, Stuckey and English, and Stuckey can’t shoot all that well.

    • Jan 31, 20132:59 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Dealing Calderon would be stupid. He’s a $10 million expiring contract. The Calderon for Jeff Green deal is flat out ridiculous. Green is locked up to make $9M a year through 2016 and he’s got a WAY below average PER. He’s basically Jonas Jerebko, only worse and more expensive.

      The Josh Smith deal makes no sense. What would the Pistons gain by sending out 1 expiring contract and Singler for another expiring contract? We’d be renting Josh Smith for a few months so we could MAYBE make the playoffs and give Miami or New York a tough series? Not to mention this deal makes LESS sense for Atlanta, since at the moment they’re a mid-to-lower tier playoff team and this deal would make them considerably worse.

      • Jan 31, 20133:19 pm
        by sebastian

        Reply

        All good points G. I must admit, I am not a fan of Calderon taking minutes from the core of OUR roster.
         

        • Jan 31, 20133:36 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Who is he taking minutes from? Knight will play SG where he belongs and Stuckey sucks, so he’ll be on the bench where HE belongs. Your first trade idea basically guarantees Boston will finish ahead of us, so no playoffs AND it ties up a ton of salary in a mediocre player, turning a lot of cap space into a little.

          I know we need a decent SF but that’s probably going to have to wait until the off season, unless one can be had for Stuckey. Stuckey is worse than redundant at the moment, he’s a detriment.

        • Jan 31, 20133:58 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Personally I like the idea of picking up Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, JJ Hickson, and maybe re-upping with Bynum. You probably wouldn’t even have to amnesty Villanueva. Martin gives you a legit SG with range, Brewer gives you solid wing defense & a corner 3, and Hickson gives you a good big off the bench.

          • Jan 31, 20134:35 pm
            by Crispus

            I like Redick better than Martin, a less dynamic scorer, but just as good a shooter and a much better passer.

          • Feb 1, 20131:06 pm
            by G

            I like Redick also, except he’s a SG and Martin is a SF, and I think SF is the greater need. Both are awful defenders but I think Martin has a slight edge.

      • Jan 31, 20133:43 pm
        by frankie d

        Reply

        i’d definitely trade calderon for draft picks or if i could get a very good young player on a cheap contract.  say a sullinger.  not that boston would ever do that trade.  but a very good young player on a rookie contract is worth more, imho, than 10 million in cap space.
        if some team could take on calderon and toss detroit draft choices and a player on an expiring contract, i’d do that also.
        again, i’d take a very good, cheap young player, or first rounders over the cap space.
        cap space is fools gold.  unless you use it to acquire cheap young players.   the worst thing teams do is overpay mediocre talent in free agency.  having 30 million in cap space will probably tempt joe d to do exactly that.

        • Jan 31, 20134:38 pm
          by G

          Reply

          I can agree with some of that. I doubt Boston would offer up Sullinger for Calderon and one last title run, but if they did I’d jump on that. I think you’re nervous about cap space because of the way Joe D used his last time he had any, but cap space is for more than signing cheap young talent. There’s plenty of moderately priced to slightly expensive talent out there, and cap space is good for that.

          At some point you have to start to go for it. If you stay constantly in the rebuilding phase (where we’ve been since 2009), you’re never going to get anywhere. The ’04 team was built with 2 REALLY good drafts picks (Joe had a lot of bad ones, Pistons traded away the pick that became Josh Smith, then there’s the whole Darko thing), a couple REALLY good trades – the Grant Hill sign & trade being the cornerstone, the Rip Hamilton deal filled in the middle, then the ‘Sheed trade being the capstone, and getting Billups in free agency.

          This team will have to be built differently from the ’04 team. One of the main reasons the ’04 team was built through trades was because Joe D didn’t have very many good drafts. He drafted Cleaves with the 14th pick in ’00, Rodney White with the 9th pick of the ’01 draft, and of course Darko & Delfino in ’03. My guess is this team will largely be built on draft picks and free agents, and the draft picks are already on the roster.

    • Jan 31, 20134:37 pm
      by Crispus

      Reply

      If we flip Calderon ——> Scott Machado SCOTT MACHADO SCOTT! MACHADO! 10 DAY CONTRACT NO RISK

      • Feb 1, 20138:21 am
        by G

        Reply

        Not sure if you’re joking but if you are, that’s pretty funny

  • Jan 31, 20132:34 pm
    by The Rake

    Reply

    No question this was the best trade JD has made in some time. Additionally, it will indeed serve to see what we have in BK. His youth is on our side, as is his reported work ethic. The core of BK, AD and GM in any sense is tantalizing. Still, the thought of landing a local product like GR3 or Burke in the draft is not only exciting, but could also prove problematic, particularly for Knight. Hmmm.

    I do wonder however, if Frank is the person to lead this team. He’s never really proven he can be a successful long term coach in the NBA and this is a critical juncture in the future/development of this franchise. We need to start going with the full youth movement, forget about even trying to win. The playoffs do much more harm than good for us this year, however remote that chance might be. Losing our lottery protected pick only to get hammered by Heat in first round is pointless.

    I think we watch to see how the guys develop for another  35 games and see if Frank looks like he is doing the right thing. Not sure how attractive a destination Detroit will be to FAs, with him as HC and with a spotty economy and barren fan base. We have to have some fear that JD will make poor choices in the FA market as he did before, to essentially get us into this mess in the first place.

    Let’s go, the season (and offseason) just got that much more interesting. (Good post BTW)

  • [...] At PistonPowered, Dan Feldman rejoices in a rare Joe Dumars trade that actually helps the Pistons: After years of failed experiments — Allen Iverson as game-changing scorer on a balanced [...]

  • Jan 31, 20132:40 pm
    by The Rake

    Reply

    One more thing, I dont see Pistons amnestying CV31 in the offseason, unless that money would play a crucial role in acquiring a special talent this offseason (which Im not sure it will). Now that JD has made this move, and knowing how A-they dont want to pay someone to play elsewhere and B-the value of expiring deals in the NBA is gold, I think he stays around, rides pine for most of the year and then they try to move him at deadline next year for either a draft pick, a good piece for a playoff push, or some other scenario. I loathe CV, he’s an albatross, but amnestying him in the last year of his deal makes the least amount of sense, unless it prevents the signing of a true building block/difference maker type of guy. FInally, we will have to pay Monroe soon enough, so we also have to be cognizant of that. Peace.

    • Jan 31, 20132:58 pm
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      Yeah, than he plays the whole first have while the team tries to showcase him for a trade.  Just dump him.

    • Jan 31, 20133:25 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Totally agree about the Charlie V amnesty thing. The way I see it, they should wait to see how the money breaks out. If they can sign everybody they want without using the amnesty, then they should. I’m HOPING they have to use the amnesty though, because that means they’re out spending money on hopefully some decent talent (instead of whatever it was they did in 2009)

      • Jan 31, 20133:56 pm
        by Corey

        Reply

        I believe the amnesty decision has to be made during a specific week early in the off-season. Which means they won’t necessarily know what their options will be (cost for specific free agents) when they have to make the decision.

        • Jan 31, 20134:47 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Good point. Last year’s free agent signings kicked off on July 1st and the amnesty deadline was July 16th I think, so orchestrating everything in 2 weeks is probably out of the question.

  • Jan 31, 20134:05 pm
    by Crispus

    Reply

    I think we have footage of Joe D coming out of his stupor:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY9eRkdIeuk&t=0m55s 

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