Kevin Pelton of ESPN graded the Pistons-Bucks trade, and he gave the Pistons a B+ (and the Bucks a B-):
As with the Josh Smith signing earlier this summer, the potential problems for the Pistons center more on fit than talent. Detroit suddenly has a lot of players who operate best with the ball in their hands, and a spot-up shooter like Knight seemed like a better complement to the frontcourt trio of Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond than an isolation point guard like Jennings.
On a more positive note, Jennings is hardly a non-shooter; per Synergy Sports his effective field-goal percentage on spot-up attempts (.492) wasn’t much worse than Knight’s mark (.516). And both Jennings’ greatest strength (taking care of the basketball) and weakness (inaccurate shooting, especially in the paint) fit well with the Pistons’ big lineup. Detroit has an excellent chance of rebounding those misses, which isn’t possible with turnovers.
Joe Dumars has upgraded Detroit’s lineup this offseason without getting substantially older. A core of Jennings (23), Monroe (23) and Drummond (who doesn’t turn 20 until next month) has plenty of upside, and even Smith is just 27. Dumars is certainly taking a risk that these pieces will fit together, but if nothing else the 2013-14 Pistons will be a fascinating experiment. Compared to the extended run of boring mediocrity since the dissolution of the 2004 champions, I think the effort is worth it.
I believe Brandon Jennings can fill the spot-up role about as well as Brandon Knight, but I’m not as convinced Jennings is content to stand near the 3-point arc and away from the action for most of a possession like Knight was. Regardless, the Pistons need Jennings to be a playmaker, anyway.
As Pelton implies, a spot-up shooter will help create space for a Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond frontline. That duty will likely fall primarily on the starting shooting guard – whether it’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (my early guess at the player who wins the job), Chauncey Billups or Kyle Singler.
Just because Jennings might downgrade the Pistons’ spot-up shooting, as Pelton says, there’s a lot more to like about the trade.
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