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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The one draft day trade the Pistons must try to make

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Ryan Griffin
My name is Ryan, I'm the Pistons editor for DSN. My hobbies include listening to better music than you and watching unhealthy amounts of Always Sunny.

This year’s NBA Draft is one of the most anticipated in recent memory. Partly due to the outstanding talent in this year’s draft class, but also because there major names that are reportedly on the trading block, and teams at the top with a lot of valuable assets.

Now, it’s no secret that since taking over the reigns in Detroit, Stan Van Gundy hasn’t exactly lit up draft night. When the organization was deadlocked between Stanley Johnson and Devin Booker, they selected Johnson.

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As shown in the graphic above, Booker has grown into one of the best young players in the NBA, and Johnson, well, hasn’t.

Turn your attention to last year when the Pistons selected Henry Ellenson over Malcolm Brogdon. This selection isn’t as egregious, and not enough has passed to tell if Van Gundy really got it wrong, but since his sample size in Detroit is so small, it’s all we have to work with.

Based on the numbers, Brogdon is more efficient and was a key contributor on a team that made the playoffs, while Ellenson spent part of the year bouncing back and forth between the NBA and the D-League.

While it’s still premature to write it in stone, Stan Van Gundy certainly seems like a man who just doesn’t draft well, which may be why he said the Pistons were looking to move the No. 12 pick in this year’s draft to acquire a win-now veteran. I have just the guy.

Enter LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs have made it a point they’re trying to move on from Aldridge, and are asking for a top-ten pick in return, which the Pistons don’t have. But, if you believe the reports that Aldridge desperately wants out of San Antonio, 12 isn’t that far from 10 and the Pistons can add some young pieces that might interest the Spurs.

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Why this deal works for the Pistons:

LaMarcus Aldridge is a great fit for what Detroit wants to do, and is a much happier and much better player when he gets more touches, which he would. While Aldridge is older, the Pistons would get out of his contract in two years, and if partnered with Andre Drummond, could help create that immediate winning culture that Detroit covets.

Why this deal works for the Spurs:

Not only do they get a first-round pick, they get a pair of relatively young “five-tool” type players. Tobias Harris is a much better offensive player than most give him credit for, and Stanley Johnson could bring a very nice defensive spark off the bench, and imagining him and Kawhi Leonard as a pair of perimeter defenders is scary for anybody that isn’t the Spurs.

All in all, it seems like a pretty good deal for both sides. The Spurs get rid of a cancer and get three nice retooling pieces for the future, and the Pistons get the best player.

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