The Detroit Pistons now have better roster depth

Embed from Getty Images Pistons weaknesses were exposed in the NBA Playoffs. In the four game sweep by the Milwaukee Bucks the Pistons depth (or lack-there-of) was exposed for all to see. It looked like Detroit would be in the exact same position heading into the 2019-20 season.

Ed Stefanski, made it a priority to not only upgrade the Detroit Pistons depth, but bring in quality depth. The Pistons traded for forward Tony Snell, signed guards Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier, then added big men Markieff Morris and Christian Wood to help strengthen the bench. The Pistons drafted Sekou Doumbouya, and in the process, added much needed depth that might help them make some noise in the East this coming season.

The departure of Wayne Ellington, opens a spot for Tony Snell. At 6′ foot 7″,  the Pistons like Snell’s size. Snell started 59 games in 2017-18 and 80 games the season before that. Snell shot 40% on 3-pointers last season.

Derrick Rose,  had a nice bounce back season with 18 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 27.3 minutes. He will be a welcomed scorer off the bench.  The Pistons are more likely to watch Rose’s minutes closely so they  can keep him at peak performance level for most of the season. Rose played only 51 games last season and 25 games in 2017-18.

Tim Frazier, is a a quality third point guard the Pistons have needed. He could see increased time depending on how healthy Derrick Rose is.

Markieff Morris, is a big bodied versatile forward. Morris willl check into the game to give Thon Maker a break. While Maker is a better defender, Morris offers more scoring and toughness.

After the Summer League, Christian Wood,  a 6-foot-10 power forward who  could play either center or power forward was signed. In eight games with the New Orleans Pelicans, he averaged 16.9 points and 7.9.

Sekou Doumbouya, was drafted for his athleticism and movement for his size. The Pistons are not putting pressure on him to contribute immediately. The want him to develop and grow into a roll that will see increased playing time.

This off-season has been an active one for a Detroit basketball team looking to take the next step.

The Detroit Pistons summer league is ramping up

Embed from Getty Images It starts soon in Las Vegas. A collection of young NBA players looking for development time and to sharpen they’re game. For the Detroit Pistons fresh off a first round series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pistons are looking for young talent to begin showing signs of taking the next step.

Svi Mykhailiuk who had a great showing at the summer league last season will be looking for a repeat performance. 2019 Pistons first round draft pick Sekou Doumbouya who just signed a contract on July 4 is one of the players Detroit Pistons coaches and front office will be watching closely.

At 6′ 9″ can dunk with ease. The Pistons need to find out how he handles getting acclimated from basketball in Guinea to hoops in the U.S. His mix of size and athleticism with a sweet shot may make it hard for Detroit to keep him on the bench. They will find out more very soon.

Khyri Thomas joins Svi Mykhailiuk , in needing to prove to the Pistons they are indeed a part of the teams future. Point guard Bruce Brown will be one of the players Detroit counts on next season. Brown is working on cleaning up his shot selection and shooting this summer.

This is an important time for players just draft as well as players on the roster bubble for any team. For the Detroit Pistons who are looking to take the next step, this summer is critical to find out what young players can be counted on.

After the 2019-20 NBA season the Pistons have a lot of contracts coming off the books. Which means they can and most likely will dip into the free agent pool. That means it will become more difficult for players to make the final roster. Competition is a great tool. The Detroit Pistons are in good position to begin to join the NBA elite very soon.

The Detroit Pistons draft as yielded solid picks so far

Embed from Getty Images The reason people should steer clear of Mock Drafts was on full display last night. In rounds one and two of the 2019 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons were “Mocked” by many different outlets and connected to many different players. Then the actual draft got underway and Detroit went against popular choice.

By all accounts the Detroit Pistons were handed a gift. The teams first draft pick was at #15 in the first round. Where the Pistons brass selected Sekou Doumbouya, from Guinea. Many experts did not expect Doumbouya to be on the board when Detroit picked. He was and Detroit struck.

At just 18 years old Sekou Doumbouya has a lot of potential. Above average defense and his offensive game took a massive step forward this past season. Working primarily as a center, Sekou can also play shooting forward. His years of playing soccer in Guinea has helped his agility.

In short this was a solid pick.

 

With the Detroit Pistons second round pick the team selected Lithuanian forward Deividas Sirvydis. He will remain overseas to work on development.

Detroit was not done. The team then traded they’re second first round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for two future second round draft picks. The Pistons still were not done. Moments before day one of the NBA draft concluded, the team traded one of they’re future second round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers, for point guard Jordan Bone.

Bone, struggled with consistency his first two season for the Tennessee Vols. Then last season he put it all together. Jordan Bone averaged 13 points, 5.8 assists per-game, he also shot 35.5% from 3 point range on 3.8 attemps per-game.

In all the Detroit Pistons were active and improved the team. The picks were not sexy. But, Detroit is building around Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. The key word is building. Detroit added some defensive power with offensive upside.

In all, I give the Detroit Pistons a solid B+ for the first day of the draft.

The Detroit Pistons Ed Stefanski makes a swanky trade

Embed from Getty Images Jon Leuer had fallen out of favor with Detroit Pistons fans. Leuer suffered a foot injury in 2017-18 that limited him to just eight games and he has not been the same since. Leuer’s expiring contract was viewed as an asset, which the Pistons decided to cash in Wednesday.

Wednesday night Ed Stefanski traded Jon Leuer to the Milwaukee Bucks for forward Tony Snell and the 30th pick in the draft. That’s right. Jon Leuer who has not been the same since he was injured. Netted a nice bench player and the Bucks first round draft pick giving Detroit two first round picks.

Tony Snell is set to make $11.4 million next season and has a player option for $12.2 million for 2020-21, the final years of a four-year deal worth $46 million that he signed in the summer of 2017.

Snell’s arrival in Motown fills a big need for veteran wing help, as the Pistons dealt both Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson at the trade deadline and finished the season with a three-guard rotation. Snell give Detroit a bigger player off the bench.

Appearing in 74 games this season, Tony Snell, averaged 6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and shot 40%  on 3-pointers, taking about three per game. That is more productio they got from Jon Leuer at $9.5 million.

The question now for the Detroit Pistons and the fan base is does Ed Stefanski package the teams two first round draft picks and move up? Tonight is the NBA’s 2019 draft.

As the Pistons continue to construct the roster to maximize the window of All-Star Blake Griffin, it is possible the Pistons look to move up. the 27 year old Snell  is slightly overpaid, his contract is moveable in case next season does not go well, or Snell simply does not mesh with the rest of the team.

In my opinion Detroit will likely pencil Snell in as the Pistons’ starting small forward on opening night in October. He did play well with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The hope here is he plays just as well with Blake Griffin.

The Detroit Pistons may have hit the jackpot with Bruce Brown

After the Detroit Pistons were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said “We’re going to have to grow from within. We have a lot of talent with our young guys, but they have some areas they can get much better.”

Enter Bruce Brown who Detroit drafted during last June’s NBA draft. Brown did not look like he would make that big an impact. In fact the Pistons rookie thought he would be in street clothes watching from the press box a lot. Instead, Bruce Brown found himself starting 56 games and played more minutes than all second-round picks other than the Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson, the 33rd draft pick.

His physical strength helped Brown become a defensive weapon for the Detroit Pistons. Not a single player put up better numbers in strength testing at the 2018 NBA draft combine than Bruce Brown.

This offseason the Pistons are asking Bruce to primarily focus on improving his 3 point shooting,  Brown shot just .258 from the 3 point arc and was a reluctant shooter, averaging only 7.8 shots per 36 minutes and just 2.3 from the 3 point line per 36,  but Brown also must use his God given physical strength and be a  better finisher at the rim.

Dwane Casey likes Brown’s explosive first step and his strength which should allow him to finish strong. He just needs to trust his step more. Detroit wants to find a point guard this offseason. In the draft or free agency. However, I suggest what Dwane Casey has said. Bruce Brown can be that point guard the team is desperate for.

In short, Bruce Brown already has the tough part down. He is above average to very good on defense. The Pistons need him to switch gears a bit and focus on offense. Brown, can do it. It will take some time.

Brown already makes good decisions with the ball. Because he is so good on defense he has already guarded many different players at different heights. Because of his aforementioned physical skill level and he has a toughness that can not be coached. Detroit could go short term on a point guard on the free agent market and give Brown a chance to grow into the position.

I look to Bruce Brown to take another step next season.

The Detroit Pistons 2019 draft outlook

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Pistons are taking a new approach to the NBA draft. In years past the Pistons took the player who best fit the system they ran. Now using a much smarter approach, the Detroit Pistons are going with the best player available.

There is no exact science to any sports team drafts. Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said of the draft “It’s like throwing darts at a board and hoping you get as close to the bulls-eye as possible.”

The Detroit Pistons currently hold the 15th pick in the first round of this years draft. Detroit has two areas of need. Small forward and point guard. One thing there is only three elite point guards in this years draft who will be gone lone before Detroit picks.

So who is the best player who could be there? Here are some names Detroit Pistons fans should begin to memorize:

KZ Okpala, Stanford, The Pistons lack size at the forward position. At 6; 8″ Okpala would make Detroit bigger. KZ showed good improvement in his 3 point shooting. As a freshman he shot 23% from beyond the arch. Last season he shot 37%. For as big as Okpala is he needs to put on weight.

Romeo Langford, Indiana, In nearly every mock draft Langford has been linked to Detroit. One drawback is Romeo has lacked desire at times and is not always mentally engaged for entire games. shooting 27% from 3-point land makes L:angford a bit of a project. Perhaps not worth a first round pick.

Cameron Johnson, North Carolina, A player with a lot of positives has one rather large drawback, Johnson is 23 years old which lowers his ceiling. Age aside, Cameron shot 46% from 3 point land, while averaging 5.8 rebounds per game. If he can add some muscle, Johnson could be the best option for the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit’s senior adviser Ed Stefanski and director of player personnel, Gregg Polinsky are working on crafting the Pistons draft strategy. Best fit is in the past. Best player? We shall see.

The Detroit Pistons’ G-League team moving to Detroit

Embed from Getty Images Although it is still in the early planning stages, the Detroit Pistons are planning on moving the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ current affiliate to Wayne State University.  The Wayne State Board of Governors have looked at a proposal and have approved building a new basketball facility project, it is projected to cost $25 million.

The Grand Rapids Drive is currently owned by Steve Jbara, so Pistons owner Tom Gores or another Detroit group could purchase the Grand Rapids franchise or attempt to land an expansion team.

The news is another  in the Pistons’ opportunity to impact  downtown Detroit development since the announcement in November 2016 that the Pistons were leaving northern Oakland County after nearly 30 years. The Pistons have played the last two seasons at Little Caesars Arena.

The $90 million Henry Ford and Detroit Pistons Performance Center is under construction in the New Center area south of Grand Boulevard and is scheduled to open this September. With  the Drive set to play starting in 2021.

The Grand Rapids Drive ownership offered a statement: “We are deeply committed to our fans and love being part of the sports landscape in the community that we’ve called home since 2014,” the Drive said in a team statement. “This team has been community-built and supported for five seasons, and we are looking forward to continuing the growth of the franchise here in West Michigan. We have no plans on relocating to Detroit but (will) continue to have great communication and a positive relationship with the Pistons organization. We are solely focused on our sixth season this upcoming fall, in partnership with the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.”

All that will not matter if the Billionaire Gores buys the team outright and moves them. Which would be a savvy move for the franchise. To have minor league players in case of injury or just to have them practice with the parent team make much more sense.

Currently it is a  2.5 hour trek, from West Michigan to Detroit. The agreement between the Detroit Pistons and Wayne State promises to bring around 20 G League games to the new arena per year as well as serve as a place to host Pistons summer camps.

Predictions for the Detroit Pistons offseason

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Pistons 2018-19 season ended in total disappointment. The Milwaukee Bucks swept them out of the first round of the NBA playoffs with  ease. The Pistons have very limited flexibility this offseason, unless they make some dramatic moves to improve the roster, next season will not be much better.

Blake Griffin’s knee injury and the glaring holes on the roster were the Detroit Pistons undoing during the playoffs. So what can the team do during the offseason? Here are a few things and a couple predictions.

Continuing player development has to be  priority No. 1. Svi Mykhailiuk , Thon Maker should be something the Detroit Pistons look to get the most of. Perhaps the team can look into trading for a star guard. Some like Mike Conley or Jrue Holiday either would fit nicely into the Pistons lineup.

With Reggie Jackson, Jon Leuer, and Langston Galloway contracts off the books after next season, the Pistons may finally have some financial wiggle room. With that said Detroit should  Pistons should stay away from taking on big contracts unless that player can take them to the next level.

Bruce Brown’s lack of  scoring ability makes him ineffective on one end of the floor. Brown simply can not stay on the Pistons let alone any NBA team playing defense only at the guard position. Andre Drummond who was the Detroit Pistons  second leading scorer needs more looks down low.

Currently the Detroit Pistons hold the No. 15 pick in the first round of the NBA draft. They need to get as much out of the 15th pick as they can.  Detroit could package a couple of players and the No. 15 pick to move up. If they do the team should look to include Langston Galloway in any possible trade.

One thing to remember is the Pistons are just one more season away from freeing up an immense amount of cap space. Reggie Jackson and Langston Galloway as well as the old Josh Smith money and the crippling Jon Leuer contract will come off the books.

So while there is no clear cut answer to the Detroit Pistons roster fix right now. After next season the Pistons will have room to improve the roster.

The Detroit Pistons are in purgatory

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Pistons are stuck in the NBA’s no man’s land. They are not good enough to compete NBA championships or conference titles, while they are not bad enough to tank in a league with teams who are built specifically to lose in hopes of getting good lottery slots.

The Detroit Pistons have  superstar talent in Blake Griffin, but he just turned 30 in March and has three more years on a 5-year, $173 million deal. T he Pistons will have some tough decisions to make this coming offseason.

Looking at the fact the  Pistons can not and will not tank, the organization needs to choose the path forward to take, and that path may be to try swinging for the fences once again in a blockbuster trade this summer.

The tricky part of making a huge trade is the Pistons need to clear salary before gaining it back in a trade. Back at the NBA in-season trade deadline, it is known the Memphis Grizzlies were interested in Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard of Detroit for the Grizzlies, Mike Conley. Detroit was not interested in moving Kennard.

If Detroit could talk Memphis into taking Langston Galloway with Kennard and Jackson it would save the Pistons $ 1.342 million. Which could get a deal done. It would cost the Pistons some depth off the bench. Like I said it is tricky, when Detroit has no salary cap wiggle-room.

The Detroit Pistons are in a self-acknowledged purgatory, and letting things run their course won’t get them out of it. They must make a trade or two and go all in on winning. They simply have no other choice.

 

Detroit Pistons vs Milwaukee Buck series preview

Embed from Getty Images The good new is the Detroit Pistons fought through inconsistent play and injuries to make the NBA Playoffs. The bad news is the Pistons drew the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Let’s see how they match up.

The Detroit Pistons, 1989, 1990, 2004  NBA Champions are back in the playoffs for only the second time this decade. Blake Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds with 5.4 assists. Andre Drummond averaged 17.3 points, NBA leading 15.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals with 1.7 blocks per game.

The Pistons shooting 34.8% from 3-point range, Luke Kennard 39.4% Wayne Ellington 37.3% lead the team from the 3-point arch.

The Detroit Pistons lost all four games to the Bucks during the regular season. Milwaukee is one of the best transition teams in the NBA. Detroit must protect the ball if they any shot for an upset. The Bucks are the best at taking the ball from opponents.

1971 NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks hold a big advantage ove Detroit in this series. Milwaukee ended the season with the fourth best defense in the league. Giannis Antetokoumpo lead the Bucks with 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Bucks were the best from 3-point land as well. Malcom Brogdon lead the Bucks with a 42.6% shooting from beyond the arch. Tony Snell was second on the team at 39.7%

The most telling stat, the Milwaukee Bucks have an otherworldly net rating of +8.6 per 100 possessions, the best in the NBA.

The Detroit Pistons made the playoffs, I just can not see any possible way they advance to the second round.

Series prediction: Milwaukee in 5