It’s an interesting time to be a follower of the Detroit Pistons with everyone connected to the sports club knowing the deals done during this summer will be influential in what fans can expect next season. If there was ever a team at a fork in the road, it was this one.
The Central Division side coming out of the world-famous Little Caesars Arena, Michigan have a rich history in the sport of basketball, having won the NBA Championship no less than three times, tasting glory in 1989, 1990 and 2004. That’s not to be sniffed at, but the 19-year wait for a return to the top-step grumbles on and a growing number of supporters believe another title win is well overdue.
To achieve that they will have to be shrewd over the course of the coming weeks, recruiting wisely, cutting out the deadwood that is seen to be stealing a wage, and bringing in a coaching staff that can get the best out of the stars already in the locker room. They must also fend off any interest in their best players that surfaces in the near future. Blake Griffin has already been linked with a move to Miami Heat and that’s worrying. If Griffin stays in Detroit it will be seen as a crucial piece of business.
But what must be done to ensure the Pistons get moving in the right direction again and fast?
Detroit Pistons lost in the first round of the playoff and that was a bitter pill to swallow for anyone with a soft spot for the team. There was real anger and frustration amongst the paying public that believe they didn’t get their money worth from the season. Certain players, who had performed better than others, such as Blake Griffin, looked upset.
Pistons will need to improve certain areas of the team, mainly the point guard and wing. This was painfully obvious on many occasions last season and is something that should’ve been sorted long before now. President Ed Stefanski said as much during a recent interview and it was pleasing to hear him address what the rest of us had been thinking.
Any new arrivals must be worked into a tight budget, so looking for proven veterans and free agents will be important. They must carry the right price but must also be players who can bolster the squad, of course. Kevin Durant is one who makes plenty of appeal and if Detroit were to announce that, there would be a buzz of optimism surrounding the capture.
On the wing and the team have the same problem. They need class as well as size and experience, but they also need it to fit into the right financial box, or it simply won’t work. Of course, fans can dream of the player they want at the club, with the Las Vegas’ Westgate SuperBook and some of the best betting apps from across the sea listing the Pistons among the lower ranking teams with chances to win next year.
That doesn’t make for good reading, but one positive about the summer is the books look much better than they did last year with around $30m available in cap space. That loosens the tethers from the team’s hands, but we must see it used wisely and there’s no guarantee it will be when taking the examples of previous seasons.
Poor decisions have been made at boardroom level in recent times and that will haunt the club until 2020, but they must ensure these mistakes aren’t made again this summer. It’ll be a big ask, but it’s not impossible.