2016 Offseason Preview

Hello everybody! I´m Gregoire from Germany and here are my Offseason-Predictions:

The Offseason:

Let´s start over with the current roster situation: The NBA salary cap is projected to be set at around 92 million US$ for the upcoming season. That being said, with our guaranteed contracts, the cap hold for our first-round pick (which we own for the moment) and Andre Drummonds cap hold of 8.2 Mio (no, we won´t trade him for Cousins) Stan Van Gundy will have about 15 Mio to play with in the upcoming summer to primarily fill voids at the backup point guard slot and power forward, preferably one who is big and able to stretch the floor. For the moment our depthchart looks as follows:

Center: Drummond, Baynes

Power Forward: Harris

Small Forward: Morris, Johnson

Shooting Guard: KCP, Bullock, Meeks

Point Guard: Jackson

2016 Draft:

But first things first. Before Free Agency opens on July 1 the NBA Draft will take place in Brooklyn and the Pistons have the chance to grab a solid prospect with their 18th pick. When I first thought of the Draft I hated the idea of grabbing a point guard with the first round pick since it takes time to develop and getting to know your teammates and their habits on the floor to be effective as a floor general. But the more I look into it, it seems that it would not be that bad of an idea and the pistons front office already took a closer look at some prospects projected to go in the first round.

There are talented power forwards in this Draft who seem to fit nicely with what SVG wants out of this position, namely Deyonta Davis, Marquese Chriss, Henry Ellenson, Domantas Sabonis and Skal Labissiere. They are all projected to go in the early teens of the Draft and if one of them drops the Pistons would surely take a hard look. But there are also some point guard prospects in this draft class with high upside. Assuming Kris Dunn and Jamal Murray are both top 10 picks, even though they might fall some due to the incredible talent at the position in the league, the next line of prospects includes Wade Baldwin, Demetrius Jackson and Tyler Ulis.

I personally don´t like the 5´9 ´´ Ulis, but Baldwin had an 6-11 wingspan at the combine and Jackson jumped out of the gym with a 43,5´´ vertical. Baldwin is intriguing, with him being able to play off the ball some due to his size and his defensive potential but I fear he has not enough of the vision required to play the point. Jackson on the other hand is an amazing athlete and seems to be more of a natural point guard with a sweet stroke (38% from three) and even though he´s not as big as Baldwin he´s still a powerful guard. There is a possibility the Pistons will trade this pick because they already traded it once in the nixed trade with Houston. I could imagine that SVG and Bower could try to unload Meeks and package him with the pick for a future pick or something if there is a bigger free agent they would like to pursue but for the moment I have the pistons taking Jackson with their first rounder, giving them a Jackson/Jackson combo at the 1. I won´t go deeply into analyzing the second round pick, but a raw high upside guy who would play in Europe for a year or two could be nice, since our team is young enough and needs some veteran leadership. I could see SVG taking a Center here to replace Joel Anthony some day. I don´t expect an out of nowhere Morris-type trade this time with the second-rounder, because there won´t be many teams trying to offload salary with the increasing cap.

2016 Free Agency:

Andre Drummond delayed his extension to the benefit of his team and therefore SVG is armed with 15 Mio in cap space going into the summer. He wouldn´t have taken this risk if he was intended to leave the pistons and after a successful season and a stable environment for the first time in his career he will sign the post rookie max contract he deserves! I also expect us to pick up the option on Hilliard. But all that will take place after all the other business is done. Whether the pistons draft a point guard or one of those power forwards they still need veterans at those positions, since I assume that Dinwiddie will be let go. I looked up the list of free agents this summer and thought that about 30 names could be interesting for the team. Among those are of course some who I expect to be too expensive, namely Ryan Anderson, Jordan Clarkson, Evan Fournier, Evan Turner, Marvin Williams, Lance Stephenson, Jarred Sullinger and Matthew Dellevadova.

After that there are the point guards:

Brandon Jennings, D.J. Augustin, Jerryd Bayless, Aaron Brooks, Langston Galloway, Austin Rivers, Ray McCallum, Ramon Sessions, Greivis Vasquez, Jeremy Lin, Mario Chalmers, Ish Smith, Shane Larkin.

Jennings and Augustin already know the system and could be options since SVG spoke highly of both of them after they left but they are both weak on the defensive side of the ball and with Reggie Jackson already having trouble there even though he made progress during the playoffs we could really use a defensive minded guy here. Chalmers and Sessions are both probably a little old for being long-term solutions for the backup slot, but should the pistons draft Demetrius Jackson a stop-gap point guard and veteran instructor for 2-3 years could be exactly what they need. Galloway and McCallum are both still pretty raw and unexperienced, as is Rivers but they all offer length and defensive potential. Larkin and Smith are both on the short side too but wouldn´t be bad choices. Jeremy Lin probably will stay with Charlotte and Vasquez is a weak defender. That leaves Bayless and Brooks. They are both in their physical prime and experienced point guards. Brooks played great for the Bulls but is more of a scorer and Bayless is a great three point shooter who is able to play some shooting guard too. With Stanley Johnson and Tobias Harris being able to handle the ball a little I really like Bayless among those options. He should not come too expensive - I imagine a 3 year deal worth 15-20 Mio, with the third year being a team option -€” and would fit in nicely with this second unit.

Then there are some power forwards on the open market who would seem to fit. This list includes the likes of Terrence Jones, Meyers Leonard, Jon Leuer, Thomas Robinson, Marreese Speights, Mirza Teletovic and our own Anthony Tolliver. If Detroit drafts a point guard I expect Tolliver to be back as out third string power forward next season. For the free agent signing I don´t expect us to go after the Big Fish in Al Horford. I just don´t see that happening at this stage of our development. I expect Marreese Speights to have a lot of suiters since he shows that he developed a three point shot. Teletovic is 6´8´´ and probably not big enough for what we are looking for. Thomas Robinson might one day develop into a serviceable big but so could Anthony Bennett, so -€” no.^^ That leaves three targets: Meyers Leonard is the closest to Motiejunas we could find, but he comes fresh of an injury and was the sixth man on a very successful Portland team this year even though he was not part of their playoff run. Maybe they will let him go therefore. He would provide the big guy able to play the 4 and the 5 (more of a 5 though), stretching the floor (>40% from three) and he´s a good athlete with a 7´1´´ frame. 4 years ago I never thought Drummond would fall to us and would have been happy if we would have drafted Leonard at the time. Terrence Jones played poorly and fell out of a dysfunctional Rockets rotation this year, but last year he was one of the hottest names on the trade market because he offers the ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim. He could play some Center a la Draymond Green in Small ball lineups too. Jon Leuer would be a bad pickup but I would see him as a consolidation price and would expect him to get a short deal if he were to agree to play here. Leonard and Jones would probably get longer deals, but I expect the price range of both of those guys to reach eight-figures, but Jones being the more realistic target and the little better fit. To get him on a 4-year 40 Mio dollar deal would be a risk for sure but one with high upside. Depending on what happens with our second-round pick SVG already indicated that he would love to bring back Joel Anthony. That would leave us with a 15-man roster going into the next season:

Center: Drummond, Baynes, Anthony

Power Forward: Harris, Jones, Tolliver

Small Forward: Morris, Johnson

Shooting Guard: KCP, Bullock, Meeks, Hilliard

Point Guard: Jackson, Bayless, Jackson

On a side note I don´t expect KCP to get his extension this offseason. He will work hard this offseason and show progress and cash in with the cap rising again next year. I won´t go into any kind of trade speculation but could see a salary dump of Meeks or a trade including Meeks coming for a veteran point guard because the free agent options are not ideal in my opinion. Thanks for reading!

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