So, last night sucked. I was paying more attention to the Tigers game (which also sucked), but I was watching the stats on my phone for the Pistons game. I thought the box score was messing up because of the things I was seeing. Such as Drummond only getting 8 minutes, Daye playing at all, the anemic 9-30 combined shooting of Monroe, Knight and Prince, the -20+ for Jerebko, Singler and Bynum, Knight led the team in assists with 3 and in rebounds with 6, and many other things. Overall, just a craptastic night. After reading comments on Pistons.com in regards to the game, comments calling for Frank's head for not starting Drummond (and I'm sure I'd find the same on PistonPowered.com), I started thinking of what may be going on with the team. I hope I've figured it out.
There are two groups of players on the Pistons: those with a future with the Pistons, and those who should go as soon as frickin' possible. Here's who I find to be in those groups.
Those who should stay:
Those who should go ASAFP
Now, honestly, there are only four players I think are untouchable: Monroe, Drummond, Jerebko and English. I like Knight and have hopes for him, would love Stuckey to perform like he did during that stretch last year, have hopes for Middleton, Kravtsov and Singler...but none of them to me are untouchable. If we could trade Stuckey for Harden, I'd do it. If we could trade Knight for Isaiah Thomas, I might do it. But if we can't, all of those players are young and have major potential. As for those that should go asap, there are some that I like and respect and I wish the best for: Maggette, Bynum, Prince and Maxiell. I don't see much of a future in this league for Daye or Villanueva. Maybe they can play with the Globetrotters throwing up alley oops (actually, they're missed shots, they'll just look like alley oops).
So, those 6 players are players that I don't want on this team anymore...........but I think they should play a lot of minutes in the beginning of the season. I fully admit, I do believe that the team the way it is built would have the capability of making the playoffs if the lineups were changed around. If we had a starting lineup of Knight-Stuckey-Jerebko-Monroe-Drummond with the next players coming of the bench being Bynum-English-Singler-Maxiell-Kravtsov, I think we could make the 8th seed though it'd be a fight. But, I'm starting to agree with what I've heard others say and I'm hoping that is what the Pistons coaching staff and executives are doing.
I don't agree in tanking and I'm not sure you can necessarily call this thought process tanking, but even if we lose a bunch of games, I want the six players whom I want to go to play a lot of minutes. Why? Trade value. For some of them, I don't know if they can raise their trade value (Daye and Villanueva), but for most I believe they can. However, I do fear playing them will result in a horrible record and I'm afraid that may affect team morale. But if we play Tayshaun as a starter, he gets 13-15 PPG and plays 25 MPG, then I think he'll have trade value. If we can play Maxiell 20-25 MPG and he get 8 PPG and 8 RPG, he'll have decent trade value. Bynum has played well in the preseason and may be able to sustain his current trade value; which isn't high, but it's better than Daye's and Villanueva's. Maggette's major trade value is his expiring contract, so there's not much that he'd need to do (but I think he could do something on the court). So, for trade value purposes, even though I realize it could result in a horrible record, I'm willing to have unwatchable Pistons basketball in hopes of getting rid of those six players via trade.
There's a couple of reasons for that thinking. The main one is free agency. More often than not, contending teams are not built through free agency, especially for Detroit (even before Dumars). Because of Detroit the city as well as the current state of the team, WE WILL more than likely have to overpay players to come and play for the Pistons. This will make us complain on more than one level: overpaying a player and overpaying a player who may not perform as good as they did in the past. We don't want Godronueva all over again. So ideally, building our team through the draft and through trade is the ideal route. Before Gores, there weren't many moves Dumars could make. Now he can and has been given the green light. Let's hope he finds appropriate suitors with pieces that we need (PG and PF, if Maxiell does get traded).If we are bad enough to not make the playoffs, we retain our pick from the Charlotte trade.
If we can trade one, two, or more of them (package deal[s]), then there's a few positives from it. 1) Hopefully the trades were for pieces we need (no more SF). 2) After the trade deadline, we'd be going into the offseason presumably with a roster we know would start the following season (I'm really hoping we don't trade Villanueva or Prince for another expiring contract) and they would have had time together to finish the season. 3) We could have more picks for next year's draft (though I know it won't be as strong as this previous draft was). 4) If we trade these players, there's less money for free agency, so we'll only probably pick up one player which wouldn't be as bad as over spending on two or more players.
So this is what I hope is going on. It's the only way I can rationalize the lineups that have been put on the floor. I don't believe it could be based on production and if Frank really is not going with incumbent starters, then that HAS to be the reason. That's what I want to be the reason. I don't want it to be because they believe these current lineups will get us to the playoffs and these players have a future with the Pistons. If that is the reason, then I fear the future of the Pistons.