Pistons Lead

Pistons’ Veteran Additions Highlight Successful Summer

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As of July 17th, 2019, the Pistons added the 17th player to their roster.  For all intents and purposes — unless a bigger trade is coming — this is the Detroit squad for opening night.  It was an active month for a team that returned to the playoffs last season, and it culminated with claiming former Buck and Pelican Christian Wood off waivers.  The Pistons now have a full roster, but was the offseason successful?

Coming into the offseason, the Pistons had holes on the bench in the front court and at point guard.  They also did not have an answer at small forward.  Draft night saw the addition of Tony Snell and Sekou Doumbouya, adding depth to the position alongside second-year project Svi Mykhailiuk.  These moves allowed the Pistons to be more focused moving into free agency.  Derrick Rose joined the team on the first day of free agency, replacing the departed Ish Smith.

Veteran Depth

The Pistons had meetings with many veteran players over the coming weeks , landing a third string point guard in Tim Frazier and a veteran forward in Markieff Morris.  Frazier will never fill up the stat sheet, but he is a steady veteran hand who is an efficient shooter– something the Pistons lacked from Jose Calderon last year.  Reliability is all Detroit is looking for from their third guard following the ups and downs of last season.  While Rose has a decent ceiling, neither he nor Reggie Jackson is known for their health.  Stability and consistency are keys and that sums up Tim Frazier’s game.

Detroit has already been home to Marcus Morris, so now that his twin brother has joined the team, fans will be happy to have the family back in their lives.  The second half of last season was one of the worst stretches of Markieff’s career.  He struggled with a neck injury while in Washington and never truly clicked with the Thunder.  If he were to have a bounce back season in Detroit, however, he would be the perfect bench forward for the team.  He had scored in double figures for five straight seasons before last.  He has posted career shooting splits of 45/34/78.  Morris is a value signing for a team that needs reliable depth when star Blake Griffin needs a break.  Morris and Thon Maker provide options at power forward and could play alongside either Griffin or Drummond.

Young Swing

After pursuing veteran options in Snell, Morris, Rose and Frazier, it was time for the Pistons to take a chance.  Still in the market for a backup center, Detroit reportedly met with JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos but decided to go in a different direction.  Christian Wood became available earlier this week after being let go by the Pelicans to make salary space for all their additions.  Detroit claimed him off waivers, adding a non-guaranteed contract and their 17th player to go along with 14 guaranteed contracts and two two-way players.

The only risk that comes with Wood is that he is the only center coming off the bench.  He is waiveable at any moment and the kind of young project the team needed to take a swing on, similar to Doumbouya.  While the end of last season when he got his chance with the Pelicans was comprised of meaningless games, the numbers still impress.  In the eight games he played in the big easy, he posted the following averages:

16.9 ppg / 7.9 rpg / 56.5 eFG%

Obviously, this is a very small sample size and not indicative of future production.  But the talent is there waiting for an opportunity.  The Pistons are a team who get plenty of use out of their backup center.  Their offense often runs through the post and Drummond still is prone to foul trouble.  Couple opportunity with a coaching staff that has proven able to develop young talent, and the gamble is well worth it.

Looking Ahead

This summer has provided plenty to be optimistic about for Motor City fans.  The Pistons have an exciting prospect from the draft and complimented the roster with depth that they did not have last year.  Luke Kennard showed in the playoffs that he can be a solid offensive threat.  He will look to take another step forward in his third season.  Bruce Brown showed major improvements in Summer League.  He posted just the second triple double in summer league history.  Brown also showed the ability to play some point guard if the team needs it.

In Ed Stefanski’s first full off season with the team, he is beginning to leave his mark.  His mixture of young talent and veterans look ready to compliment Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond well.  Reggie Jackson finally had a healthy season last year and will be entering a contract year with something to prove.  Furthermore, Stefanski has shown a willingness to take a swing and will finally have some flexibility going into next summer.  Thon Maker, Reggie Jackson and Langston Galloway are all on expiring contracts.  Trading these contracts for an impact player is an option if the season starts strong.  The team took baby steps this summer– now it’s time to go back to work.

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