The Pistons are finally coming to the end of a long and disappointing season. For the first time in fifteen years, the Pistons are in position to lose more than 50 games, a far cry from the 50-win seasons that we fans are accustomed to . However, things can be turned around, relatively quickly.
See, most mediocre teams either lack talent, have bad management, or a combination of the two. The Pistons have plenty of talent, and above average management.
Their struggles are a result of bad perceptions, on behalf of Joe Dumars, disinterested play, and injuries. With a good draft and/or some trades, this team could be in contention as soon as next season.
Here are 4 things the Pistons should do this offseason.
This is my first slideshow, so please leave comments and concerns. Your opinion will be very helpful and greatly appreciated.
The most glaring omission on the Piston's roster is a center that can deliver night-in and night-out.
Ben Wallace just isn't delivering on a consistent basis, and Kwame Brown just isn't skilled enough. Perhaps more alarmingly, both of these big men are unrestricted free agents this summer.
The Pistons are a little tight financially, so free agent big-men such as Yao Ming and Chris Bosh are likely off-limits. Therefore, the draft is really the only realistic option that the Pistons have.
Demarcus Cousins may be the center the Pistons are looking for: a center who can bang on the block. He also has good range for a center, and solid footwork. However, his occasional lackadaisical play and negative attitude go against the Motor City mantra (Goin to Work!).
If not Cousins, the next option is likely Cole Aldrich, a defensive center who's draft stock has somewhat fallen this season. While his drop off may be a cause of concern, his game speaks for itself. Greg Monroe and Hassan Whiteside are also interesting prospects.
Despite the season itself, the best/worst thing about this season is the emergence of Rodney Stuckey.
Many fans are either very high on him, or very low on him. Truth is, he does many things right as a combo guard. But his development as a point guard has been lacking.
In fact, it is this lack of development that is hurting the team. The Pistons have a TON of perimeter players, but only one ball. With the team's only true distributor being Will Bynum, who mainly comes off the bench, the offense has a habit of becoming stagnant.
The Pistons have to find a point guard this summer. As I stated earlier, the Pistons are a little tight financially.
Because of this, Will Bynum, who will become a restricted free agent this summer, will likely be leaving. Teams like the Lakers, who are weak at the point guard spot, would be foolish to pass up Bynum's ability as a playmaker and scorer. Any money thrown at Bynum is likely more than the Pistons are willing to pay.
John Wall is easily on the team's radar.
However, beyond John Wall, point guards are scarce in this year's draft. If Joe Dumars isn't high on Stuckey for next year, keeping Will Bynum must become one of the team's top priority's this summer
Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey.
Three top-tier shooting guards playing on the same team.
On paper...looks great. But on the court, it leaves a lot to be desired.
As it turns out, Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton cannot co-exist.. Of course, many people predicted this last off-season, myself included. In fact, many may wonder why Gordon got such a big contract in the first place, right after Rip Hamilton signed a 3 year extension.
Anyway, one of them has got to go.
Rodney Stuckey is most likely to stay. When he plays point guard, he is a tad slow, makes questionable decisions, and seems lost at times. But when he plays shooting guard, he is one of the best players on the court. If the Pistons keep him at the two, Stuckey will likely lead the team in scoring next season.
Ben Gordon is the best shooter out of the three of them, and is the best shot creator on the team.
In addition, he is 6 years younger than Rip Hamilton, making him a more desirable player to keep. His willingness to come off the bench is also a huge bonus. Above all, his sizable contract may be too difficult to move this summer.
Therefore, Rip Hamilton is the most likely to be moved. It hurts to say this because I am one of the biggest Rip Hamilton fans on the planet. I love his game, his demeanor, and his consistency.
I worked up a three-way trade between the Pistons, the Hornets, and the Timberwolves. The Pistons get Emeka Okafor from New Orleans, the Hornets get Al Jefferson from Minnesota, and the Timberwolves get Rip Hamilton. It makes sense for all 3 teams, in one way or another.
For the most part, John Kuester has done a good job coaching the Pistons this season. Considering the magnitude of injuries, I suppose he did as good as any rookie coach could do. However, there are some notable character flaws in his overall design.
For one, he seems a little soft. The players respect him more than Michael Curry, obviously. But what about 2-3 years from now? It seems unlikely that he will maintain the respect of the team in the future.
Joe Dumars is notorious for being picky on coaches, so I wouldn't be surprised if Kuester is axed, if not this off-season, but next off-season.
Also, while I respect his decision to give all three rookies adequate playing time, sometimes he seems a little too high on them. For example, his recent resilience on playing Dajuan Summers. He might be a solid contributor in the future, but why he got playing time over Charlie Villanueva is beyond me.
Which bring me to my next point: what's up with Kuester's reluctance to play Villanueva? He is one of the most offensively gifted big men in the league. Why take a risk on Summers, when you know what Villanueva will bring you?
As you see, the Pistons have some glaring concerns in regards to the future welfare to the team.
However, the talent and management is already there. If the Pistons are to contend next season, first and foremost, they must find/draft a center. This season, the Pistons have performed to a high level when their big men played to their capabilities.
On a side note, it seems that conditioning may be a concern for the team as well, given the multitude of injuries. Nothing against Arnie Kander, but there has undeniably been something fishy about the team this season.
If the Pistons fix these problems over the summer, expect a better, more well-rounded roster next season.
Thanks for reading.