The Ben Gordon era officially ended tonight, delivering one final blow to the Pistons organization as the team was forced to send its 2014 NBA draft pick to the Charlotte Hornets to finalize 2012's Gordon-Corey Maggette swap.
No pick for you
"Disappointing, but not disastrous"
Stan Van Gundy, the team's newly appointed president and head coach, is projecting a feeling of optimism despite losing the No. 8 pick in the deepest draft in years.
The Pistons entered the night with better than an 82-percent chance of keeping their pick, which was Top-8 protected. Detroit began the night in the eighth position but saw the Cleveland Cavaliers eventually jump up to the No. 1 position, forcing the Pistons to the ninth spot and thus, sending the pick to the Hornets.
It officially marks the end of an ill-conceived trade that saw the Pistons surrendering a future first-rounder for the ability to get out of Gordon's onerous contract a year early. To make matters worse, the team ultimately used that freed-up free agent money to sign Josh Smith to a franchise-most $54 million deal. It is a contract the team seems to already be trying to get out from under.
Still, it's not all bad news for the Pistons. While it would have been great for the team to keep their pick or vault into the Top 3, the 2014 draft more and more seemed like it wasn't exactly as strong or deep as prognosticators had predicted. The candidates to pick from, had Detroit retained it, ranged from project point guards with high upside (and high bust potential) to a slew of offensively gifted wings who had big questions about their defensive abilities.
Surrendering the pick now also gives the Pistons clarity going forward as it looks to remake the roster. The draft pick, which was Top-1 protected next year, is no longer in limbo. The team can now, if it must, trade a first-round pick in its effort to either get rid of another bad contract (Smith, Brandon Jennings) or in a deal involving restricted free-agent Greg Monroe to land a star player. Neither of those options seem extremely likely, though.
So, yeah, the lottery sucks.
Complete 2014 NBA lottery results:
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Orlando Magic
- Utah Jazz
- Boston Celtics
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Sacramento Kings
- Charlotte Hornets (via Detroit Pistons)
- Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans)
- Denver Nuggets
- Orlando Magic (via New York Knicks)
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Phoenix Suns