Maybe the most pressing question on any Piston fan's mind,"What will the Pistons do with all that cap space". While it's true that Joe Dumars has surprised us all with atrocious free agent deals( Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Allen Iverson, etc.) I truly believe there are a plethora of ways to make the pistons a playoff team next year, and perhaps a title contender years down the line. There are basically three ways ways the Pistons can move in the right direction: max players, cleaning house, and through the draft. However the Pistons go about their business in the summer of 2013, it's vital that each of these three elements is incorporated into their plans
The area of the off-season with the most implications for the Piston's future will be what kind of players they choose to pay big. The obvious headliners for this free agent crop include: Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Andre Igoudala, and perhaps Andrew Bynum. Each of the afore mentioned players are guaranteed the NBA's max contract allowed. But there are other players who have an equally good chance of making a lot of cash-money.
Chris Paul- The idea of Chris Paul coming to the Piston's makes no sense. I honestly don't feel the need to breakdown why the Pistons are out on Paul. Simply put...No!
Dwight Howard- Much like Paul,forget about it. Guys like this have been in the playoff cellar or worse for most of their careers and a rebuilding team is the exact opposite of what they want. Also, In no way does he fit on the current rotation without bumping one of our franchise building blocks.
Andre Igoudala- In my opinion, which you will get a healthy dose of, a true potential target for the Pistons. I wouldn't venture to say as to whether or not pursuing Igoudala makes too much sense for the front office or not. He's the type of athletic wing the Pistons haven't had since.....well....a long time. Despite the fit, I do have concerns about committing a lot of money to player who is aging and ha no history of winning until recently.
Andrew Bynum- Does this option make so little sense that it actually might occur? Let's see: Bynum is always hurt, had one good season( something that really appeals to the Piston's front office, he will still get payed way too much money by a cellar-dweller, will inevitably fail at every aspect of basketball. Satire aside, put Bynum on the Do Not Resuscitate career list.
John Wall-Love the idea. Let's look back a couple of years ago and remember what we all said about John wall. Things like" Derrick Rose reborn" and "Surefire franchise player" were all the chatter. Does he have an injury history? Yes. Does that matter, not really. He's about 22 years of age, can take over a game and own the floor, make's his team better regardless of how he's playing. So, is he worth a max contract? Answer for yourself!
Brandon Jennings- Brandon Jennings may be the NBA's best pure scoring PG right now. He can fill it up any night and fill seats doing it. That being said, I don't really see BJ as a fit in Detroit. I don't know about you, but I'm a little gun-shy about the Pistons picking up combo guards. Jennings doesn't distribute as well as other guards such as Wall, and the Piston's don't need any more "ball stops here" players.
Conclusion: Do I dare guess what the Piston's will do this summer? Lord, no! But looking at this free agent class, I see a lot of potential. As you can tell I'm very partial to John Wall, but not only because of the sex appeal of a former #1 overall pick. It's because a back-court of he and Brandon Knight would be lightning in a bottle. What Knight has lacked his whole career has been a true PG who can work him into a rhythm. We saw a little of that potential when he finally gelled with Calderon before getting hurt. Believe it or not Brandon Knight is capable of putting up 20 a night with the right people around him. So, I say we bid it out with the Wizards for a chance at a franchise player.
Cleaning House: The Pistons have been under a lot of bad contracts for a while now. Charlie Villanueva is the obvious example, but truly Rodney Stuckey is no 9 million dollar player and Cory Maggete isn't worth the jersey he wears. I'll keep this simple. Cut, amnesty, or trade, it doesn't matter. The Pistons are at a pivotal point with their roster. Either they make the moves necessary to open up cap and become a contender again, or suffocate under bad deals and under-performers.
The Draft: Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of every tam's aspect, also the most crucial to building depth and perhaps finding a star player. I won't waste your time with a comprehensive Big Board or 10,00 mock scenarios. I'll just throw out a couple players I like and ask you to do the same. By the way, I hopefully won't ruffle any feathers by assuming the Pistons pick #3 this year. It seems likely we're to good for the #1 and too bad to fall out of the top 5 picks.
Shabazz Muhammad- There might not be a more controversial player than Muhammad. He not only lied about his age, but also failed to produce despite being so highly touted. Once thought to be a consensus #1 pick, he will most like ly tumble to the wing-needy Pistons.
Otto Porter- A hard nosed defender that just doesn't quit on the defensive side of the court. It's his offensive game that concerns me. I'm just not sure f his jumper and post moves are up to par with what is expected of an NBA wing.
Victor Oladipo- Oladipo seems to be the pick that most draftniks agree on. While there certainly is a lack of perimeter defenders on the roster, Oladipo doesn't fit with what the Piston's have. Knight needs his minutes to to find his groove, but maybe Stuckey is a different story. Honestly we don't even know if Stuckey will be on the roster next season so assuming there are no minutes for Oladipo may be premature. I would also like to see a strong showing from Oladipo at the Rookie showcase before passing final judgment.
First Round: As of right now its hard to read what the Piston's are thinking in the first round. The only recurring theme seems to be wing players, which is almost too broad to be considered any help at all. All in all I think based on where we pick the above are the best fits for our rebuilding franchise. I would to hear any other ideas.
Second Round: Not expecting any stars, and neither should anyone else. This draft is as weak as any in recent memory, that being said there are still serviceable role players and even a few starters that could be buried in this years draft.
Doug Mcdermott- Mcdermott could go anywhere from the middle of the first to he mid-second. All things considered he is a 3/4 who can shoot and straight ball form 10-20 feet. That being said he has a long way to go with his post game before he could become a true contributor.
Pierre Jackson- In my opinion could be the best under the radar player available. You'd think with a library of highlight plays and a recent NIT championship Jackson would be much more on the map. Yet he is consistently mocked in the mid to late 2nd. I don't know how you feel about Jackson, but after watching quite a bit of film, I would call him this year's version of Isaiah Thomas, but perhaps even better.
Final Thoughts: I see this off-season as one of the most crucial in recent memory. If the Piston's fail to sign a true baller and don't clean up the stink we call a roster, prepare for a lot of lottery picks and losing streaks. But if we use our cap space wisely and sign players that could benefit the team, cut off dead weight, and draft well. We very well could be a playoff team with a bright future as soon as next year.