Bill Haber/Associated Press
If the Pistons really want to mix things up, they could add a major talent on the wing.
If the Pistons really want to make a major change to the roster, they will look to turn one of their big men—almost certainly Monroe—into a big-time playmaker on the wing.
Detroit’s weakest link in the starting lineup has been KCP. Although he’s been fine defensively, he’s been a below-average offensive player at this point in his career.
And next to him is Smith, who is playing some of the worst basketball of his career while out of position at small forward.
If Detroit can replace one of them with a two-way player who can get his own shot and shoot threes, as well as move Smith to his natural position, it would be a big-time coup.
There are two players who could fit on this roster and are on teams that are selling rather than buying: Eric Gordon and Arron Afflalo.
Of the two, Gordon poses the bigger risk. He’s played well this season for the New Orleans Pelicans, but he’s struggled to stay healthy for most of his career. And with two years and roughly $30 million left on his contract, it would be very costly if he got injured again.
But when healthy, he’s one of the better 2-guards in the league. He can handle the ball, is a very good athlete and is shooting 38.8 percent from the arc this season. And at 25 years old, he would fit age-wise with the Pistons core. If the Pelicans were interested, a deal of Gordon for Monroe and Villanueva would work financially.
Afflalo, the former Piston, could also slide into the shooting guard spot for Detroit. He’s having the best season of his career, averaging 19.9 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 42.7 percent from the arc. He’s also an excellent perimeter defender and would help the team fill that void.
Afflalo’s contract isn’t as burdensome as Gordon’s, but he is already 28 years old. Per Chad Ford of ESPN Insider (h/t Piston Powered), there has been some talk of a deal involving the Pistons sending Monroe to the Orlando Magic for Afflalo. Making a deal of this size would be a risk, but it would balance out the Pistons roster and help to fix a lot of problems.