An interesting offseason approaches for the Detroit Pistons as they look to move on from a disappointing 37-45 season. Some fans want radical change and that’s ok to think that way, but let’s pump the brakes a little bit.
The Pistons aren’t broken, they had a hiccup. This same team won 44 games a year ago and gave the Cleveland Cavaliers all they could handle in the 1st round of the playoffs. Reggie Jackson clearly wasn’t the same after his knee tendinitis and the team couldn’t adjust back to him after playing with Ish Smith for a quarter of the season. A full summer of rest should get Jackson back to normal. So no, no radical changes.
Now on to the priorities, they have to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope not only became an integral piece to the team’s offense, he’s the team’s best perimeter defender. He will be a restricted free agent this offseason and will no doubt receive a huge max deal from a team, most likely the Brooklyn Nets. Stan Van Gundy has to either offer him a lengthy deal beforehand or match any deal he signs. That’s priority number one.
Priority number two is finding some shooters. Trading Jodie Meeks a season ago wasn’t the worst decision in the world, but it also hurt not having a shooter of his caliber. Some free agent targets to look at are Michigan man Tim Hardaway Jr. and Langston Galloway. Hardaway Jr. may have some incentives to come to Detroit due to going to Michigan and the fact that his father is an assistant coach here. Nabbing 1 of those 2 or another shooter would definitely help things.
Priority number three is finding some more depth at the big spots. Jon Leuer was a disappointment and the Pistons can get a younger, cheaper version of Leuer in the draft. Who am I talking about? Gonzaga big man Zach Collins. Collins is 7 feet tall, can run the floor, and has a nice shooting stroke that can stretch out to NBA range on a 3-pointer. Draft a guy like Collins, let him develop, and then move Leuer.
As I mentioned, this team isn’t broken, they just had a hiccup. Andre Drummond is an All-Star center, still the best center in the Eastern Conference, and he’ll still only be 24 by the time the season tips off. You don’t just move a guy like that. Jackson was a borderline All-Star in 2016, he can get back to that level and Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris are as solid as they come. You don’t just blow everything up after a weird season. You give this group one more run and see what they can do. Either the 2016 playoff season was a fluke or this season was a fluke. They owe it to themselves to find out which season.