Detroit Pistons: Searching for Treasure in the Summer of LeBron
Nothing says Pistons basketball like scouring the internet in the middle of the playoffs for trade rumors and pre-draft hype. Wait, that doesn't sound anything like Pistons basketball, that sounds like Minnesota Timberwolves basketball...
Alas, here we are. The Pistons find themselves strolling into the summer of Lebron with little cap-room, two underachieving acquisitions, and a general lack of team identity. The one thing I keep hearing over and over is expendable.
For example, "The draft of player A makes player B expendable," or "The acquisition of player C makes player D expendable."
That tells me that the Summer of 2010 could be huge for Detroit! Here's a few scenarios that have been concocted in the lab inside my head.
Who's Here? Keepers, Sleepers, and Weapers
Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox, Chucky Atkins
5- Ben Wallace, Jason Maxiell
4- Jonas Jerebko
3- Tayshaun Prince & Prince Jr.
2- Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton
1- Will Bynum
Charlie Villanueva, Dajuan Summers, Rodney Stuckey
Note to Dumars: Rodney Stuckey isn't the second coming of Chauncey Billups. He's good, he has the potential to be great, but he needs the ball in his hands to create. He can't curl off screens, his mid-range jumper and 3 are suspect, and he likes to drive and kick, which doesn't mesh with Rip or Tay's game. He's causing congestion in the lane, which is bad.
I haven't liked the Charlie Villanueva pickup. Too much money to a guy that bask in the glow of his I-phone Twitter account and grabs too few rebounds.
Can we shop him? I think that depends on how much damage teams do to themselves this year trying to acquire big-names.
Dajuan Summers is athletic, but the league is full of athletic guys. If Detroit magically turns into the team that I'm sure Dumars envisioned when he brought in Coach Q, Gordon and CV, then Summers is a great fit at the transition 3.
He's quick, athletic, can fill the lane and will be a high wire act. But, will Detroit ever be a team that is good in transition?
Not unless they can start playing defense.
Based on these assessments, I would say that we have a hole at the 1 and 4, and could use some upgrades at the 5.
I think Dumars sees a team that is in the same vain as Boston, San Antonio or Utah.
They should be able to lock in defensively, run good half-court sets, get a few transitions buckets and the offense should be fluid. But, he bought into a Showtime concept with two players who don't fit the bill. We should revert to a Big Man that plays big, not Rashard Lewis or CV, who thinks he's Lewis.
Lewis and Lamar Odom made the PF spot sexy last year, stretching the floor four ways. But Boston is taking Lewis out of his element and Odom hasn't been playing lights out this year. Phoenix uses Channing Frye and he has his ups and downs. Villanueva thinks he's these guys. He's not.
When a PF can be counted on for 15 points and 10 rebounds, that's solid, and he likely stays home. That's what we need.
Minnesota Sucks: Let's take their Candy
Now, we all know who Al Jefferson is right? The guy who was traded for Kevin Garnett, and currently resides in purgatory.
His stock was way over-valued in the trade, but Kevin McHale was trading a stellar player in KG to his old team for a player that was supposed to be a perennial All-Star. Conspiracy?
For some reason, Minnesota keeps believing the hype on this guy. He's good, but he doesn't deserve the credit. Now that Kevin Love is playing solid, and the two can't coexist, it makes sense that we could see the exit of Jefferson soon.
With a draft so heavy in big men, it stands to reason that Minnesota could trade Jefferson and take a big man that could co-exist with Love, who has a much better PER than Jefferson.
At the No. 4 spot in the draft, Wesley Johnson is their likely target, but we're talking about David Kahn here, the guy who drafted Rubio, then Johnny Flynn.
Who would we have to give up in order for this to work? My gut tells me that they take Cousins and offer the Pistons Jefferson for Hamilton and Jerebko. I just can't see Joe letting Jerebko go, but who knows.
The Kings: Addition through Subtraction
When Sacramento made the deadline trade with Houston and NY, they gained a hell of a low-post scorer in Carl Landry. Additionally, with the emergence of Jason Thompson at the 5, how many post weapons do you need on this team?
Again, there's a wealth of talent at the 4 and 5 in this draft. So getting rid of Spencer Hawes isn't an issue. Sacramento's immediate need is probably at the 2, but with Turner likely going No. 2, there's not much in the form of a 2 guard at the top.
Hamilton fulfills the need at 2, but I've got an eerie feeling about Stuckey here. Although, Dumars has coveted Stuckey from the start, I think he's beginning to fall out of favor with his leadership. It would create a dynamic backcourt in Sacramento of Evans at the 1 and Stuckey at the 2, which could either be one of the best pairings or the worst.
Hawes presents an opportunity to fill a need at the 5, and by trading Stuckey, Dumars can go after a point guard in the offseason, hopefully through free agency. Which takes me to my next point....
Free Agency: You're Hired!
Some notable free agents this year include David Lee, Raymond Felton, Matt Barnes (who has a player option, and a problem with Stan Van Gundy), Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, Carlos Boozer and Brad Miller.
I know what's rolling off your tongue. We already blew it with David Lee because we acquired CV31 and blew our load.
Well here's the thing with the Knickerbockers, they really want Lebron. And they really want a complimentary piece to put next to Lebron, say Chris Bosh.
With those 2-3 max level contracts, they won't have enough money left over to comprise a win-now team, so... why not do a sign-and-trade with David Lee to the Pistons, which would allow the Knicks to pick up some spare pieces to comprise the rest of their team?
Matt Barnes is a player I'd really like to see on our team. He has a player option, and I believe that he'll exercise it, but he and Van Gundy got pretty heated a couple times this year, so maybe not.
Boozer is officially out of our price range.
I think the Bulls will offer Brad Miller a contract, if they low-ball him, we could offer him the same thing and I think he would take it just out of spite.
Does Michael Jordan have enough confidence in his UNC connection Raymond Felton? I believe he's a late bloomer, and would be a welcome addition at the 1 if we were to ship Stuckey off somewhere.
Steve Blake is another interesting piece. He's been reliable at every stop, yet another guard seems to pop up and takes his job everytime. I think he would be an ok addition, although his athleticism scares me on the defensive end.
Travis Outlaw could hit the road if he feels he's being slighted by Portland. We might have a shot, but I don't see it happening unless the price is right.
Drafting our Way
With the No. 7 pick in this year's NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select Ed Davis of North Carolina.
I know I'm going to get reamed on this one, but I like the kid. He's got the Ben Wallace connection. He plays good defense. He's got a good skill set. His stock dropped a bit because he missed the last 13 games of the season, but he fills a need.
I know everyone is hoping Aminu drops to us, Cousins does some more bad interviews, or Cole Aldrich and those knee braces on both legs will end up here. Behind Derrick Favors, this is the most solid pick of the big men, IMO.
The second round pick is a bit harder to judge due to the fact that some players slip into the second round, trades are made, etc. But I see this pick being a PG or being traded.
I'd like to hear others take on this offseason.