Wanted: Players that can stretch the defense


The pool of available shooters in free agency is getting shallow. Who should the Pistons target?

The Detroit Pistons signed Josh Smith. It happened. It's for four years. It's not going to unhappen.

So the question becomes what should the Pistons do now?

The obvious answer is, "Find a point guard already!" but the task is easier said than done. First, the Pistons are going to be looking for shooting if they are really committed to having Josh Smith hold down the small forward position.

With Andre Drummond armed with range equivalent to the length of his enormous arms and Greg Monroe still working to develop a perimeter jump shot, the Pistons must prize shooting above all else.

To find a player that can both initiate the offense as well as hit from the perimeter is pretty rare. They do exist, of course. Detroit even had one last year.

Jose Calderon, unfortunately, spurned the Pistons to sign a lucrative four-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks. The only other point guard on the free agent market that hit better than 40 percent from 3 was Jarrett Jack and he just agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Shooting guard has also seen all the best-shooting free agents sign elsewhere. Already gone so far this offseason are Kyle Korver, JJ Redick, Kevin Martin and OJ Mayo.

That means pickings are mighty slim. The best available point guard is restricted free agent Jeff Teague, but the Pistons no longer have enough available cap space to make an offer that won't be matched by Atlanta.

Brandon Jennings is another restricted free agent so the same problems apply.

So who does that leave? Well, Chauncey Billups is available though he can't start and might want to play for a contender. Also available is Mo Williams who has always been more of a shooter than a traditional point guard and has hit 38 percent from 3 in his career. With the passing abilities of Greg Monroe and Josh Smith competent enough, maybe Mo Williams fits the bill.

Gary Neal is a former San Antonio three and D gunner that played a little of both the 1- and 2-guard spot. He would be cheap and is at nearly 40 percent from three for his career, though he did have a down year last season.

Then there is Anthony Morrow who just couldn't seem to catch a break last season. Morrow, a career 42-percent three-point shooter, didn't find much playing time in Atlanta and Dallas last season. He is limited but he does one thing really well and it is the thing Detroit needs more than anything else.

If you don't go in that direction there are only two other options: 1. Trade Greg Monroe, which I don't even want to contemplate right now, or 2. Rely on guys already on the roster.

Both are incredibly risky, but the players on the roster were drafted for their shooting ability. I'm extremely bullish on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's offensive ability and am hoping he is starting at shooting guard from day one. I'm afraid of Brandon Knight starting at point guard but his shooting is the least of his problems (though it's still sort of a problem). Khris Middleton, meanwhile, showed a good shooting stroke late last season when he got healthy, and Kim English's only hope to make the roster is showing he can reliably knock down three pointers like he did in college.

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