Detroit Pistons: Wrapping Up 2012-13 and What's Next for the Franchise
The Detroit Pistons' season couldn't end fast enough.
Lack of talent, injuries, bad coaching and every other negative turn of events have resulted in the 2013 29-53 record.
The only thing more frustrating than the Pistons' struggles was their unnecessary, sporadic late-season success. Before their 103-99 finale loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit rallied for a meaningless four-game winning streak, altering their draft position for the worst.
The Pistons were sitting with a top-five 2013 draft selection but have fallen down to No. 8 after their last four wins. I have never been a full supporter of "tanking," but in a draft class this poor, this team needs the best pick possible.
After another lackluster year, team owner Tom Gores has voiced his displeasure with the Pistons' performance. He's also been critical of general manager Joe Dumars and head coach Lawrence Frank. Gores has vowed to spend this summer, hopefully bringing necessary change to the team.
But with so much change necessary, where do they go from here?
The job security for Dumars and Frank seems flimsy at the moment. Gores said he plans to discuss and decide their future this summer "quickly but thoroughly".
Frank, during his two-year run as head coach, has gone 54-94. While Gores and others expected better results more quickly, Frank has been unable to deliver. In his first year going through the lockout, and with a less-than-impressive roster to work with afterwards, the Pistons weren't built for a playoff run.
He's not completely off the hook, however. Frank had some questionable decisions, like benching forward Jonas Jerebko for months and limiting center Andre Drummond's minutes.
Frank plans on returning only if he receives a guaranteed option for a fourth season, according to Yahoo! Sports. The Pistons could afford another season with Frank as head coach, but when the boss isn't happy, consequences must be paid.
Meanwhile, Dumars has been on a "one-more year" type basis for the past few seasons, but his clock could be winding down soon.
Dumars has had championship glory and deep playoff runs, but those days are long gone. The Pistons have missed the postseason the past four years and are reaching a miserable path of NBA irrelevance.
Dumars has been lucky in the past couple drafts, with players like Drummond and guard Brandon Knight landing in the Pistons' lap. The team also was able to free up the loaded Tayshaun Prince contract by trading him in a three-team trade to the Memphis Grizzlies and acquiring veteran point guard Jose Calderon with an expiring contract.
The Pistons will have about $20 million to spend this summer. Everybody knows what happened last time Dumars had major spending money available. For those of you who forgot, say hi to Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon.
Who should return for the Detroit Pistons next season?
Now with another big chance to capitalize, the Pistons can't afford to lose with this money. Detroit will have to overpay (again) to reel in big-name free agents. A couple quality free agents this summer could boost this lineup immediately. Veteran forward Andre Iguodala and guard OJ Mayo are the most logical options on the market.
Along with free agency, this summer's draft is crucial as well. Even though this year's class is full of project prospects, the Pistons could've used a higher seed. Sitting at No. 8 instead of No. 5 could remove guards like Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo from the equation. Neither may be stars, but they're the safest options in a gambling class.
Even if the Pistons are in suitable positions for this summer, who will be making these offseason acquisitions? If Dumars and Frank are removed from the team, who will Gores choose as their successors?
Players already would prefer to play in a big market instead of a struggling franchise like Detroit, and the same goes for coaches and managers. No chance the Pistons can talk a coach like Phil Jackson to come run the team. In the words of Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp, "anybody isn't a viable candidate".
Based on the possibilities of this summer, the Pistons could be a couple seasons away from postseason contention or just that much closer to NBA irrelevancy. Now is the time for Detroit to be aggressive. Let's just hope it's nothing similar to summer of 2010.
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