After a dominant performance in the 2022 NBA Draft, the trajectory of the Detroit Pistons' future has taken an exponential leap. Using their abundance of resources commanded by General Manager Troy Weaver, the foundation of this roster is being solidified right before your eyes.
The Motor City walked out of the draft acquiring two of the most dynamic athletes in guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren. Drafting these players came with lots of surprises and in a dramatic fashion. Both rookies address major needs and have an unbelievable upside for the team's long-term plans. These two first-round selections also may have steered the Pistons' free agency plans in a new direction.
Detroit's offseason began with plenty of roster holes and the most cap space in the NBA to play with. Lots of reporting linked restricted free agents Miles Bridges and DeAndre Ayton to possibly signing with the Pistons. They are both in search of max contacts this summer, and Detroit makes sense as a landing spot for both, given that cap space. Considering the impact of both draft picks, that big splash free agency signing is no longer as imperative as before for the Pistons.
Free agency begins this week, and there is plenty of attention focused on how the Pistons will follow up after the draft. They could continue their aggressive nature by using their cap space on one of the max targets. The Pistons could also stay patient with their free agency money and continue developing the young talent they have brought in.
Here are the smartest free-agent options for the Detroit Pistons since finishing the NBA Draft.
1 The Detroit Pistons should re-sign Marvin Bagley III (F)
The Detroit Pistons acquired a gem last season from the Sacramento Kings by trading for forward Marvin Bagley III. Things never panned out how the Kings or the 2018 No. 2 overall pick expected, which resulted in his departure. In desperate need of a young big who plays above the rim, Detroit completed for the 23-year-old, which paid off unbelievably.
Bagley finished 2021-22, averaging 11.3 points with 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the field. Bagley's presence helped unlock a huge advantage to Detroit's offense as a go-to lob threat for point guard Cade Cunningham. His depth also makes it a no-brainer to resign as the unrestricted free agent. There is plenty of indication that Bagley wants to return to the Pistons as he has spent plenty of the offseason in Detroit with his teammates from last season.
THE BOYS AT THE TIGERS GAME ? pic.twitter.com/BraYPXK98R
— nick (@nsitto2) May 12, 2022
Detroit could really use some significant improvements from the young forward if he resigns. As a near seven-footer, the Pistons could benefit from an improved defensive effort from Bagley. Finishing as the 3rd lowest-scoring team in the NBA certainly limited them. Bagley spends lots of offensive time on the perimeter as a cutter and floor spacer. He should not become a high-volume three-point shooter. However, Detroit could use some help from Bagley as a shooter by raising his three-point shooting from his 23% average in 2021-22.
The starting foundation for the Pistons has been pieced together beautifully so far. Troy Weaver seemingly has acquired the point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and center of the future for this franchise. In a perfect world, Bagley could have a career next season and possibly solidify himself as the power forward of the future. With tempered expectations, he could return as one of the Pistons' most productive players off the bench. Either option would be crucial for this Detroit's development.
2 The Detroit Pistons should sign veteran free agent Gary Harris (G)
There is no such thing as having too many shooters on your team in the NBA. Especially when you finished as the 2nd worst three-point shooting team in the league last season. This should be a high priority for the Pistons come free agency with some cheaper options available.
Veteran Gary Harris is on the market searching for a new opportunity as an unrestricted free agent. The eight-year guard spent last season with the Orlando Magic plus the 6.5 seasons before with the Denver Nuggets. Even while dealing with many injuries throughout his career, he still holds plenty of value as a rotation guard.
The Michigan State product finished last season, averaging 11.1 points per game. The most significant attribute that will make him attractive this summer will be his catch-and-shoot ability. Harris finished the season averaging 43% from three in catch and shoot situations, which is a vital need for Detroit. With playmaking guards at your disposal in Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, and Jaden Ivey, they need floor spacers who can knock down open shots to make defenders pay.
Reports have leaked that the Pistons are expected to pick up the team option for free-agent guard Hamidou Diallo. While he filled in well from the bench and as a starter last season, Diallo isn't much of a consistent shooter or scorer. If the reports fall through and Diallo does not rejoin the team, Detroit should consider adding Harris to help the rotation.
Sources: The Pistons are likely to pick up Hamidou Diallo’s $5.2 million team option.
Additionally, sources tell me and @WillGuillory that the Pistons are unlikely to pick up Frank Jackson’s $3.1 million team option.
The club has until Tuesday to make official decisions.
— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) June 27, 2022
3 The Detroit Pistons should sign free agent Malik Monk (G)
Another floor-spacing shooting guard that could make sense for the Pistons is unrestricted free agent Malik Monk. He finished last season on a veteran minimum with the struggling Los Angeles Lakers. Monk was previously suggested before the draft as one of the best free-agent choices for the Pistons. Even after drafting Ivey, this would still be a perfect pick-up for this roster.
Monk could serve as a serviceable backup for Detroit, who also can play extended minutes with the starters. His scoring ability is an ascending skill, averaging just under 14 points per game last season at 47% from the field and 39% from three. He would also be a positive addition as a catch and shoot scorer after averaging 42% from three last season.
Monk also has an underrated skill set as a passer. He developed a solid rapport with Lakers star Anthony Davis throwing alley-oops to him after driving. After drafting a promising lob threat in Detroit with center Jalen Duren, that could equal another big to help highlight his passing. Monk and Duren would likely come off the bench together where they could develop that chemistry together instantly.
There are more than enough fitting reasons for Detroit to entertain the 24-year-old guard's availability. Monk is one of the best floor-spacing scorers on the market and should draw some interest from Detroit. His age is well on the path of Detroit's restoration timeline. He also would not cost much of the team's cap space if they signed him.