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Pistons roundtable: Offseason priorities

The (somewhat) annual Pistons roundtable has returned. Each day this week, our panel of Pistons writers will answer a question about the Pistons – all in one place. Please add your answers in the comments.

What is most important for the Pistons this off-season?

Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press

The top priority is getting a scoring wing. It remains a challenge for them scoring in the half court. It’s unlikely they’ll get that guy through free agency. But they could use one of their young pieces (Greg Monroe and/or Brandon Knight) along with the more than $25 million under the salary cap to engineer a significant trade.

Mike Payne, Detroit Bad Boys

Not blowing money on the wrong players.  It was bad in 2009 and frustrating in 2011, but if they do it again this season during Greg and Andre’s reign, it’ll be tragically wasteful.  The team needs to save what they can and spend on the right free agents, guys like Brandan Wright and Jose Calderon.

Phil Fattore, Pistons 101

Spending the near $30 million in free agent dollars is important, but there aren’t many names worth “big money” contracts. The Pistons need an athletic small forward who can stretch the floor, opening the lane for Andre Drummond and Monroe. With forwards like Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo coming out, a strong lottery pick is the most important thing for the Pistons.

Daniel Poarch, Life on Dumars

The most important thing next year is going to be putting the young guys in a position to succeed. Drummond and Monroe are going to be the focus, along with Brandon Knight and whomever they land in the lottery, and the Pistons’ offseason direction should be to build around them as centerpieces. Hopefully, this means more than 20 minutes per game from Drummond next year.

Eric Stafford, Life on Dumars

Not letting Dumars give money to players like O.J. Mayor or J.R. Smith. We all remember the infamous off-season where he severely overpaid veteran players Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. I’m just hoping we don’t get a repeat of that. Just fill the roster with short-term contracts and let the young players get the run they need.

Thom PowellLife on Dumars

Subtlety will be key. Last time Joe Dumars had this much cap space to work with, the Pistons were saddled with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva’s contracts. Detroit needs to find players that fit definite needs, rather than guys with big names or contract year flukes. I’m hoping they steer clear of O.J. Mayo and Brandon Jennings and pursue guys like Gerald Henderson or Andre Iguodala. Also, don’t re-sign Jason Maxiell.

Natalie Sitto, Need4Sheed.com

Detroit has cap space and a lottery pick, if they don’t dramatically move players and draft well they’re going to have a repeat of the last few seasons.  Detroit is not a place where big time players want to come, so a big trade will mean big things.

Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered

Don’t repeat the mistakes of 2009. If you aren’t terrified by the thought of Dumars having money to spend on a free agent market that isn’t overwhelming with talent (assuming the Pistons aren’t in the running for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard), you haven’t been paying attention. The Pistons are still saddled with an awful contract from the summer of 2009, and they had to give up a first-round pick just to shed the other. They have a promising young duo, a still intriguing prospect in Knight and a couple of serviceable role players in Kyle Singler and Jonas Jerebko. Plus, they’ll add a lottery pick to that mix. Don’t ruin that promising group with overpaid, underachieving players.

J.M. Poulard, PistonPowered

Figuring out their identity. All the good teams in the NBA know what makes them successful. Whether it’s defense or offense, they have something to hang their hats on in tough games and grind them out. Detroit needs to figure out that it.

Jameson Draper, PistonPowered

There are two different paths for Detroit to take: re-sign Calderon or  let him go. If they re-sign Calderon (which they should), they should draft a small forward. Kyle Singler at the three isn’t going to cut it. If they don’t re-sign Calderon, they should focus on either developing Knight at point guard or picking up a high-profile point guard in the draft.

Brady Fredericksen, PistonPowered

Spending wisely. Just because you’ve got a lot of money doesn’t mean you have to spend all of it. If the team makes a run at Andre Iguodala, that’s probably a worthy place to invest big money. If the team makes a run at Monta Ellis, that’s probably just them spending for the sake of spending.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

Getting the first-round pick right. The Pistons’ late four-game winning streak definitely hurt their lottery position, and barring some May luck at NBA Studios, Detroit will pick No. 7 or No. 8. The Pistons can’t keep banking on premium prospects to fall that far, and unlike when they picked Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, there’s a very real chance they’ll have to pick someone from a crowded field of similar players. For a team that needs more talent and traded away a future first-round pick, the Pistons need to get this one right.

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