A look into the Detroit Pistons offseason moves, and how their season may unfold.
There might not be a more poorly run franchise over the past few years than the Pistons.
People cut Joe Dumars some slack - and rightly so - because he was such a class act on and off the court, and the Pistons won a title and ran off some 50 win seasons.
Since then? He’s put together a cluster of horrible me-first types, or players who just aren’t NBA quality starters.
I feel for Pistons fans and Tayshaun Prince in particular, who has stayed a professional right through this dark patch for a proud franchise.
The thorn(s) in the Pistons side were the atrocious long term, big money deals given out to Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva after both put up career years in 2008-09.
While both players have had moderate levels of success since leaving UConn for the NBA, neither has stamped themselves as a player worthy of the numbers they’re pulling in.
Villanueva has not come close to improving on his success in Toronto or Milwaukee; in fact this marked the fourth successive decrease in points and rebounds for him.
Luckily for Pistons fans the harder-than-hell to swallow pill of Ben Gordon’s contract has been flushed even lower underground, to the Charlotte Bobcats for Corey Maggette.
What will be tough to stomach is if Gordon resurrects his career off the bench for the Bobcats as an offensive spark off the bench like his Bulls' days.
Maggette finds himself on what seems like his 67th
team in a long and sometimes impressive career, unfortunately his highlights are all individual and rarely does he see the postseason – just ONCE in his 13 seasons has he made the playoffs.
Basically if he’s on your team, you’re not going to make the playoffs. I should wrap this up now and go out on the Maggette Factor, but there is reason for sincere optimism if you’re a Pistons fan.
Two seasons ago they drafted their next potential All Star in Greg Monroe, a finesse 'back to the basket player' who is also a skilled passer and rebounder.
The shot blocking has yet to come, but he is a consummate professional who goes and does his job with none of the hoopla his contemporaries seem to have, and the Pistons will continue to add pieces around him.
Brandon Knight enjoyed a fine college career, but for whatever reason was perceived to not have the credentials and skillset to adapt to the professional game.
He came storming out of the gate and never looked back, hoisting up threes and eventually netting the starting point guard spot only seven games into his career.
He never relinquished his starting spot for the rest of the season, and looks to pair with Rodney Stuckey in forming an unconventional starting backcourt.
The knock against Stuckey has always been his outside shot and inconsistency, so that is something he must address if he’s going to live up to the potentially Ben Gordon 2.0 contract he was signed to this offseason - $25m over three years.
A much shorter contract than Gordon’s $55m over five years, and one Stuckey should live up to.
I believe he will bounce back and just needs to be healthy, he was a near All Star two seasons ago, and needs to take the leadership reigns for this team to be successful.
A classic tweener guard, he has to figure out how to play with Brandon Knight, which shouldn’t be that difficult as neither guard are true point guards, and Knight’s strength of the outside shot, is Stuckey’s weakness.
The bench mob consists of prize rookie Andre Drummond, who’s athleticism is likened to Dwight Howard, as well as Jonas Jerebko who after a promising rookie season missed the 2010-11 season, and came back last year still adjusting to life again as an NBA player.
Jerebko can defend multiple positions and showed potential to develop his outside shot, and even though he looks like an extra from Zoolander, he is a tough Swede who will hit the floor like previous Pistons teams were always known for.
The Pistons are lacking a true leadership core as well as a go to scorer, and when the season ends in late April, it’s a safe bet that unless Maggette is traded mid-season, or Zeke, Laimbeer and Rodman come back via a time machine, the Pistons aren’t going to sniff the playoffs this season.
Projected record: 26-56, 5th Central Division
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire