• Russell Schmidt

NBA Future Rankings 22. Detroit Pistons


*Photo via Getty Images

Despite having the eighth worst record in the NBA at 32-50, the Detroit Pistons had their best record since 2008-09; the last season they made the playoffs. Those five seasons, the Pistons were in the NBA’s no-man’s land of mediocrity; they were not bad enough to land a top selection, but were also not good enough to make the playoffs. The Pistons have been stuck in NBA purgatory, and they appear to be heading back there this season.

This offseason, Greg Monroe left the Motor City to join the Milwaukee Bucks. The other negative during free agency was the re-signing of Reggie Jackson – explained – (5YR/$80MM). The Pistons also made a questionable decision on draft night. Ever since losing Tayshaun Prince (the first time around) the Pistons have had a hole at the small forward position. Many expected the Pistons to target a small forward at 8th overall and they did just that, selecting Stanley Johnson out of Arizona. With the higher rated Justise Winslow still available when the Pistons were on the clock, this pick came as a shock to the public. The Pistons desperately need an influx of talent, and it will hurt greatly if, five years from now, the Pistons look back at this draft knowing they took the inferior small forward.

The Pistons helped saved their offseason from being a complete disaster with a couple of savvy trades. First they acquired Ersan Ilyasova from the Bucks for essentially nothing in a salary dump. With Monroe and Josh Smith gone, Ilyasova will most likely be penciled in as the Pistons starting power forward. For the first time in Andre Drummond’s career he will be paired with a big that can stretch the floor and allow Drummond to work in the paint.

*Photo via AP

The Pistons benefited from another salary dump, this time from the Phoenix Suns. For just a 2020 second round pick the Pistons acquired Reggie Bullock and Marcus Morris. Bullock is young and still on his rookie deal while, the inferior Morris twin has proven to be a solid rotation player. Morris can start at small forward if rookie Stanley Johnson is not ready to do so, and he can also play some small ball power forward if needed.

The Pistons foundation is budding star Andre Drummond. At 21 years old, Drummond is heading into the last year of his rookie contract. Drummond has proven to be one of the best rim protectors and rebounders in the league, and will almost certainly be receiving a max contract as he enters restricted free agency next summer.

Going forward the Pistons will need to build around Drummond, Jackson, Johnson, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The future of this organization will be determined by their future draft picks (they don’t owe any first rounders) and the development of their young core.

Potential? Yes.

Promise? Ehhhh.

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Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, ESPN.com

Salary cap and contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com, Hoopshype.com, Basketballinsiders.com

Future draft commitments and rosters information courtesy of RealGM.com

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