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Smartest Free Agent Fits for the Detroit Pistons

It’s Troy Weaver Season


The 2022 free agency period should be pivotal to restoring the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit’s main priority this offseason is adding quality talent to the roster. However, fit is still a vital factor for the franchise’s development, especially regarding free agency. Teams around the NBA will begin the bidding war on August 2nd at 6 PM EST.

There are plenty of roster holes to address this summer. Their free agency plans will be strongly influenced by the NBA Draft come June 23rd. Regardless of their direction, they’ll have to be methodical with adding the most fitting pieces.

Here are the three most fitting options for the Detroit Pistons in free agency

Malik Monk (G)

After outperforming his vet minimum contract last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Malik Monk should be in line for a favorable new contract this summer. The Detroit Pistons ought to be among the many teams interested in the multi-talented 24-year-old.

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Monk is coming off a career-high season, averaging 13.9 points per game while shooting 47% from the field and 39% from 3. The 6’3 guard plays well off-the-ball as a spot-up shooter who could create an ideal backcourt fit next to franchise cornerstone Cade Cunningham. Monk also can create his own shot without being ball-dominant and has an underrated feel as a passer.

Surrounding Cunningham with shooters has to be a priority for the Pistons after being one of the worst shooting teams in the league last season. Monk could be one of the best bargains on the market and is well on par with Detroit’s rebuilding timeline as one of the youngest team’s in the NBA.

Andre Drummond (C)

The original era with Andre Drummond as the franchise face of the Pistons was quite the enigma. There was a lot of responsibility on his shoulders from 2012 through 2019 until Detroit pulled the plug and began the restoration by trading him to the Cavaliers in 2020.

Drummond’s size, rebounding prowess, and athleticism at the rim would bring a significant upgrade for the Pistons at center. At the time, Drummond’s skill-set didn’t translate as the primary option creating a ceiling for the Pistons. Looking at the roster today, that same skill-set has the potential to become a perfect match for a second stint in Detroit.

The Pistons were extremely poor on the glass last season, ranking 24th in rebounding, and were in the bottom half of allowed offensive rebounds to their opponents. Detroit also struggled to find consistent scoring from their centers until acquiring Marvin Bagley from Sacramento. Bagley showed the value of having an athletic big who can be a lob threat. Drummond is very familiar in that role previously building that similar chemistry with former Piston guard Reggie Jackson.

Drummond shared an emotional reflection about his playing time with Detroit in a post-workout interview this summer. If the Pistons are looking for a low-risk high-value addition at center, there is a lot of upside in resigning the 28-year-old for a second run.

Deandre Ayton (C)

After an ugly ending postseason run with the Phoenix Suns, center DeAndre Ayton is set to possibly become the highest coveted free agent this offseason. Luckily for General Manager Troy Weaver and the Detroit Pistons, they are sitting pretty with the most cap space of any team in the league, sufficient sign-and-trade assets, and very favorable odds to pry the restricted free agent away from Phoenix.

What will be Deandre Ayton’s next franchise?

Ayton may not have a standout elite trait in his game, but he is well-rounded at just about everything. He averaged 17.2 points per game, 10.2 rebounds, and shot 63% from the field last season. He also helped propel the Phoenix Suns to become the top defensive team in all of basketball. Ayton has proven to be capable of protecting the paint and is athletic enough to hold his own defending the perimeter against a switch.

If retained by the Suns, Ayton could cash in a max deal for five years up to $176.9 million. If he departs from Phoenix, that max deal would command $131.15 million over four years. While that price tag sounds steep, Ayton’s game could make for the perfect investment in Detroit.

The 23-year-old big fits the Pistons’ timeline for continuing development along with the budding roster. However, his playoff experience as a young player would pay tremendous dividends to a rebuilding team like Detroit looking for postseason success.

The Pistons have had a dire need for an established center who can be relied on at both ends of the floor. Ayton’s pick-and-roll chemistry with Phoenix guard Chris Paul should translate seamlessly in Detroit with Cade Cunningham. Adding Ayton to this starting lineup should make the Pistons an Eastern Conference contender sooner than later.

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Written by Eric Vincent

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