The Pistons don't have much be thankful for these days. Their roster is old and depleted, and they are going in the wrong direction. They have little cap space, and minimal flexibility.
The Pistons' rotation consists of multiple injury prone veterans, and players nearing the end of their prime. Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, and Richard Hamilton all missed significant time last season, and if they fail to stay healthy again this season, it's going to be a long one for the Pistons.
Rip Hamilton is 32-years-old. He doesn't have much left in the tank. Last season he averaged 18 points a game in 46 games. He can be a good player, but I doubt he will be effective for much longer.
Ben Gordon has fallen off the map a little bit after having a great season with the Bulls in 2008. Last season, Gordon averaged career lows in points, rebounds, three-point percentage, and shot the second lowest overall field goal percentage of his career.
Although his stats were low across the board, it's his three point percentage that really worries me. His lowest percentage before this season was 40.5 percent, last season he shot just 32.1 percent from behind the arc. It seems that Gordon is no longer the player (shooter) he once was.
This offseason, the Pistons apparently thought Tracy McGrady would be a quality player to bring in for this season. The problem is—he's not. Even if McGrady could stay on the floor—he can't—he, like many of the other players on the Pistons roster, is not the player he once was.
I don't see McGrady having any real impact on the team this season.
Tayshaun Prince is a solid player, but in reality, the Pistons should trade him for a pick or a younger player, or both. Many teams have shown interest in Prince, and they should trade him when his value is still high. He failed to play in all 82 games for the first time since his rookie season in back in 2003.
Last season, after Charlie Villanueva signed with Detroit, he took a huge step back in his production. He averaged four points less per game, as well as two rebounds and one assist less. The Pistons gave him a huge contact, but he has failed to produce thus far.
Rodney Stuckey is not a true point guard. Yes, he is a great young player, but they need to find a true point guard. Detroit's offense is dependent on a good distributor pulling the strings, and Stuckey is not that guy. Spot up shooters like Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton would play much better with a good point guard.
If the Pistons can clear some cap space while obtaining a decent point guard in the process, that would be a good option. If they could get rid of Gordon, Hamilton, or Tayshaun Prince to make room in the rotation for Stuckey off the ball, getting a point guard might be a good option.
Will Bynum was just signed to a new deal this summer, and should be a sufficient back up at point guard. He is 27, and averaged 10 points, 4.5 assists a game last year. Ben Wallace will be turning 36 next week, and he will probably just come off the bench.
Last season, he averaged almost nine rebounds a game, but he was never much of a scorer.
Jonas Jerebko surprisingly played very well last season, averaging nine points and six rebounds a game. You have to think he is a big part of Detroit's plans going forward. He isn't going to be an All-Star this year, but if he takes the next step he will be good.
Austin Daye looked extremely good in the summer league. He is only 22. He is long, lanky, and athletic, but he is raw. He is at least a year away, however he did prove that he has talent and why the Pistons made him a first round pick a year ago.
This year's draft was a successful one for the Pistons. Greg Monroe will be solid this season, but he likely will not step into the star role, and Terrico White is very talented, but he really isn't ready for the NBA.
The Pistons seem to be either too old, or too raw. There is no distinguished middle ground. Joe Dumars is too reluctant to make the necessary moves, so for now I see the Pistons as a bottom dweller in the East. In a few years, their raw players will have polish, but their veterans will be at their beach houses relaxing on lawn chairs.
It seems that Detroit is in for a tough couple of years. The road to recovery for an old team is long and brutal. Just how bad the Pistons are going to be remains to be seen.