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Pistons news roundup: Anthony Tolliver & Cartier Martin's options and the Pistons' slowly improving defense

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The second offseason installment of the Roundup looks into two more Pistons' contract situations and how SVG has helped the Pistons rediscover defense.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Tolliver hoping to make Detroit home

Over the span of his professional career, Anthony Tolliver played for 15 different teams in three different countries before finding himself playing for Stan Van Gundy's Pistons. A true journeyman, the sharpshooting forward is hoping to make Detroit home for the upcoming years. Per The Detroit News' Terry Foster:

"It was a challenge, especially early in my career when I switched teams so much in one year," Tolliver said. "NBA, overseas, and you are just learning things on the fly. I play hard every night until I can't play hard any more, that is why I do this, so I can stick around for as long as I can."

Tolliver, 29, was acquired in a Dec. 24 trade that saw the Pistons part ways with Tony Mitchell and take a new approach to the season as the team released an underperforming Josh Smith and gave Brandon Jennings a stern warning. Motown would go undefeated for seven consecutive games after Tolliver's arrival, leading to his new teammates dubbing it the ‘Tolliver Effect'.

This season, the six-year veteran averaged 7.7 points & 3.7 rebounds while burying 36 percent of his long range attempts in just above 22 minutes per game. The Pistons are expected to retain Anthony Tolliver, whose arrival in Detroit led to the trade of the team's incumbent stretch-4, Jonas Jerebko, to the Boston Celtics at the deadline. The younger, more expensive Jerebko saw his minutes reduced after Anthony's arrival and didn't figure to be a part of Stan Van Gundy's offensive structure past this season.

Tolliver, whose partially-guaranteed contract  is currently worth $400K for the 2015-2016 season, would earn him $3 million should the team pickup his option.

Cartier Martin looking to bounce back from poor performance

One of the more eyebrow raising free agent acquisitions for the Pistons a summer ago, things didn't quite pan out how Cartier Martin and Stan Van Gundy had anticipated. Another journeyman, Martin's calling card had always been three-point shooting, but he hit only 18 percent of them as a Piston. He also recorded career lows in most statistical categories as a result of his sparse minutes -- 8.6 minutes per game in 23 contests this season, and his performance certainly didn't warrant extended playing time.

Although he initially beat Luigi Datome for third-string minutes, Martin was unable to crack the rotation after the trade deadline, and the Pistons gave two 35-year-olds (Tayshaun Prince and Caron Butler) most of the minutes at the 3. While the veterans proved to be a steadying force, it didn't bode well for the younger Cartier Martin as he entered the offseason with a player option for the 2015-2016 season. Per Vince Ellis at The Detroit Free Press:

"It was a pretty bad year, I ain't lying, I'll talk to my family and my agent and have meetings with Stan and see what's in the best interest of myself, and then we'll go from there," Martin said after the regular-season finale at New York last week.

Martin is currently the only small forward under contract through next season, and will earn $1.2 million should he decide to stick with the Pistons, something most believe is his safest move considering his poor performance this season. Stan Van Gundy initially brought in the 30-year-old forward as an additional perimeter threat, and pointed towards his shooting efficiency as one of the main reasons why he tendered Martin an offer, but it wasn't to be, as the Texas native went on to have an extremely poor shooting year.

Cartier Martin has until late June to make a decision.

Stan Van Gundy helping Pistons rediscover defense

The Pistons had two notable problems which needed to be addressed going into the 2014 offseason: perimeter shooting and defense, both of which improved significantly during Stan Van Gundy's first year as head coach, and stands to get better once the 2015-2016 season roars to life. As Pistons.com Keith Langlois explains:

The 19th-place finish in defensive rating wasn't what Van Gundy hoped to achieve in year one.

"I'm disappointed in where we are defensively. I am," he said in the season's final week. "It's got to improve greatly next year. Part of it is on me. I think we've got to examine our Xs and Os and our teaching some of the schemes that we use."

Despite their defense being ranked 19th overall, there was a noticeable difference in the Pistons' defensive ability this year, as they put in more effort and were more tuned-in defensively.  Motown especially improved on its transition D, but SVG singled out their pick-and-roll defense and help defense as two of the major problems that weighed Detroit down, and he aims to focus his efforts at making the Pistons a more sound defensive team over the course of the offseason.

In past years, the Pistons have been especially bad defensively, and although they finished 19th in that category this year, if Stan Van Gundy's coaching history is to be trusted, Detroit could find itself back in the top half of the league defensively, and consequently, back into the playoffs.

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