The Detroit Pistons are putting in work this offseason: they’ve hired a new coach and president of basketball operations, are searching for a new general manager, and have the draft and free agency to look forward to in the coming months.
The Pistons finished this season with the eighth-worst record in the association; meaning they should be a lock for a lottery pick. Except they aren’t due to a 2012 trade with the then Charlotte Bobcats (now Charlotte Hornets). If the Pistons fall out of the top eight, their first round selection will be awarded to the Hornets.
Detroit enters tomorrow night’s lottery with an 82.4% chance to keep that pick. I like those odds, but with the way things have been going for the Pistons for the last six years who knows what’s going to happen. This year’s draft is very deep, and the Pistons should easily be able to find an immediate contributor.
Of course, there is free agency to consider as well. The Pistons will have a considerable amount of money available to spend come July 1. Also, Detroit is bringing a D-League affiliate to Grand Rapids next season. Needless to say, the team is changing in big ways this offseason.
But what really needs some changing is the current roster. This season was a huge disappointment for the organization. The talent was there, but the chemistry was not.
New coach Stan Van Gundy is going to have to evaluate the Pistons’ roster and make some tough decisions in the coming months.
It is clear that Andre Drummond is destined to be a star in the league, if he isn’t one already. If the Pistons are smart, he will be the frontcourt’s anchor for years to come.
This leaves Detroit with one viable option in my opinion: lose either Josh Smith or Greg Monroe.
Smith was signed to a big-money contract last July which he is under until the end of the 2016-17 NBA season. Monroe is a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Pistons will have to match any offer he receives in order to retain him for next year.
Smith cannot continue to play on the wing with his porous shooting and inability to space the floor. If Detroit is going to keep paying $14 million a year for his services, it should be as a power forward. Detroit is going to need some serious returns if they were to consider trading Smith, which is why I don’t see it happening.
Monroe seems like the logical piece to move this offseason. He is ineffective from beyond 15 feet which keeps the paint clogged up, and he is too slow to defend the many stretch forwards in the NBA. With his contract on the edge of expiration, I’d be surprised to see him in Piston colors next year.
Ideally, the Pistons would do a sign-and-trade in order to get something in return for Monroe, who has shown promise in his young career.
Losing Monroe would allow Smith to move back to his original power forward position. Detroit would have to fill his void on the wing with the draft or free agency. And they should do so with a long-range threat — the Pistons finished 29th in the league in three-point field goal percent this season.
Doing so would also give Van Gundy the freedom to build the roster around Drummond. Van Gundy was successful in five seasons with the Orlando Magic because of how he tailored the roster to center Dwight Howard.
He filled the team with shooters and emphasized floor spacing on offense. Howard would clog up the paint which created ample space for the shooters.
I imagine Detroit’s offensive scheme will be very similar to the one Van Gundy utilized in Orlando, with Drummond acting as Howard.
This means the Pistons need spacing and shooters, neither of which Monroe can bring to the team; which is why I think Detroit should move Monroe this offseason.