The long strange saga of Markelle Fultz in Philadelphia has had no shortage of twists and turns. The former No. 1 overall pick has been an enigma, both on and off the court, and is now rehabbing a shoulder injury away from the 76ers in Los Angeles.
The diagnosis of TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome) doesn’t simplify the situation by any means in terms of understanding what type of player if any Fultz will be capable of becoming.
Recent reports have linked the Pistons to Fultz and maybe a trade could come to be down the road. The question today, though, is would that be a good idea for Detroit?
1. Markelle Fultz in trade, yes or no, and if yes, around what kind of package?
Ben Gulker: Not a first rounder and not anybody good, unless that player is on an expiring deal. Really, would Fultz even be taken in the first round at this point?
Steve Hinson: As the roster currently exists, no. But I think Fultz could be a really interesting player paired with either just Blake or Dre. But three guys who need to get to the rim to be effective would just ensure none of them are as effective as they could be. In a world where Blake or Dre were moved for a perimeter player, I’d be willing to make a package around Reggie Bullock.
Justin Lambregtse: I am all for trading for Markelle Fultz, but I wouldn’t surrender anybody like Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, or Ish Smith, all of whom I have all seen suggested. I would offer Langston Galloway and a lottery protected first and tell Philly to take it or leave it. It gives them a shooter and the Pistons are losing a first-round pick, but Markelle Fultz has more potential than anybody they would probably get at their pick.
Ryan Pravato: The Pistons should be patient and not try to get cute. Let’s see if this Jackson - Kennard - Bullock - Griffin - Drummond lineup can settle in and show something. I’m with many others - I think it can. Sure, it will be a rough defensive unit on the perimeter, but otherwise it could be a pretty lethal scoring power.
If Detroit still isn’t much more than a .500 team several weeks from now (and Fultz is still available, which will probably be the case), I’d be willing to part with Bullock in a deal, but not Kennard. Galloway won’t be enough. The Sixers could actually use Bullock, even if it’s just for a few month rental.
Jordan Bellant: Yes, why not?! He needs a change of scenery and I like the idea of our coaching staff working with Fultz. What about Jon Leuer, Jose Calderon and a heavily protected first for Fultz and Amir Johnson? Come on home, Amir!
Brady Fredericksen: Sure, if the price is right. Packaging Stanley Johnson or Reggie Bullock with a protected first-round pick seems like a good place to start. Philadelphia desperately needs shooting, but so does Detroit ... and, really, the Pistons don’t have enough to trade it away. That makes moving Bullock difficult. Maybe a package of Johnson, Ish Smith and a protected first in 2020 or 2021 for Fultz and Furkan Korkmaz or Landry Shamet could work, at least for Detroit. Even that seems like a lot for a player that seems to be broken mentally and physically right now.
David Fernandez: If the price is right, the Pistons should definitely make a deal. You need high level point guard play in this league, and Detroit has yet to identify their point guard of the future. With Reggie Jackson being gone after his contract ends, why not take a risk on a point guard with Fultz’s upside potential?
Philadelphia receives - Reggie Bullock and a lottery protected first round pick, top 10 protected next season, that conveys into two future 2nd round picks if not conveyed.
Philadelphia receives - Langston Galloway + Khyri Thomas
Detroit receives: Markelle Fultz
2. If not Fultz, who else would you see as a realistic option before the February trade deadline to shake up/shore up the team?
Steve Hinson: If you could pair an offense built around Blake Griffin built for 2018-19, what would that look like ideally? What would the ideal co-star look like? My order would be: 1) An aggressive (and efficient) wing 2) A scoring (efficient) point guard 3) Maybe a big, versatile (efficient) 3/4 724) a high-volume, inefficient center
The Pistons sat out when Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Jimmy Butler (twice), and Chris Paul were on the market in order to see how this experiment works. We’ve seen. It’s more of the same. It’s time for the Pistons to start building a team that makes sense rather than just making the most of the players they were dealt. So I’d be looking to deal Drummond for the best perimeter player I could get in order to build a legitimate, logical, balanced attack next to Griffin. I’d ask about Damian Lillard/C.J. McCollum, DeMar DeRozan, Kemba Walker, or Otto Porter/Bradley Beal. But Brandon Ingram could be a really interesting option. He’s had trouble meshing with LeBron James, but there are still quite a bit of things to like about him as a prospect. He shot the three well last year, can get to the line, so has the makings of an efficient offensive game.
Justin Lambregtse: This team needs shooters badly, so I would look at somebody like Wayne Ellington, Anthony Tolliver, or Rodney Hood. These aren’t players who will move the needle a ton, but they would help.
Ryan Pravato: Anthony Davis. Definitely. Mike Conley. Yes. Chauncey Billups in his prime. Gimme.
Oh, you’re talking realistic options?
Jordan Bellant: I wouldn’t mind a future point guard option. Or, another rotation piece on the wing. Wayne Ellington is still someone I would consider, even with his new contract.
Brady Fredericksen: I’ve long been a fan of Darren Collison, but the Pacers reportedly putting him on the market is interesting. Set to be a free agent after the season, Collison is having a bit of a down season, but he’s proven to be a steady ball handler who creates for others and doesn’t turn it over. He’s coming off a three-year stretch in which he shot 40, 42 and 47 percent from 3-point range and grades out analytically as a good defender. He’s basically exactly the type of point guard that would fit with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. He’d be a perfect fit, I think.
David Fernandez: Not sure how it gets done, but I’d love to see Anthony Tolliver back in Detroit. His minutes have disappeared since the T-Wolves traded for Saric and Covington, and Detroit could use some help at the PF spot.
3. Doctor Jekyll or Mr Hyde: which team is the “real” 2019-20 Pistons, the one which beat Boston and the Warriors or the one that lost 6 straight?
Ben Gulker: Both. Teams of the Pistons’ caliber have high highs and low lows. But at least if they’re healthy the lows shouldn’t last quite as long.
Steve Hinson: don’t see it as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation, rather as a case of winning two of the past eight games is an accurate reflection of this team’s quality. Just like going 12-7 against a bunch of weak teams was an accurate reflection, and their current .500-ish record is an accurate reflection. This squad rebounds well and does some nice things defensively, but struggles at some other important aspects of the game - namely putting the ball through the hoop when they shoot it. And simply put, a team will never amount to anything more than middling so long as it’s a bottom-five true shooting percentage team. And it has been since 2012-13 since this one has. You’d think all of these stats guys that the new front office brought in might point that out - TS isn’t the most advanced of advanced stats. But so far, it doesn’t look like it.
Justin Lambregtse: I think it’s somewhere in between. This team has no room to add players for at least next year so the roster is likely to be the same minus players like Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock potentially. The loss of those two has proven to be significant because the losing streak coincided with their injuries, but the schedule was also tough so I don’t think the team is quite that bad without those two.
Ryan Pravato: Still a bit too early to tell. Like most here will probably say, it’s in the middle. With such inconsistent players like Jackson, Galloway, Johnson and probably Jon Leuer as it’s looking like, this team just is missing consistency from too much of its roster. Bullock, Griffin, Drummond, Zaza and Ish Smith are all mostly consistent. Again, I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, Luke Kennard is the x-factor. If he breaks out, then this team is much closer to being able to be the fifth best team in the East and maybe push someone in a series with a slick move.
Jordan Bellant: The truth is probably somewhere in between. This is a .500 team in the East, so we’ll steal a few from top teams, but that losing streak showed we’re still a few steps from contending in the East.
Brady Fredericksen: They’re more the team that beat Golden State and Boston. Injuries played a BIG role in this recent losing skid and, with a fully-healthy roster, the Pistons probably come out of that nightmare stretch a little better off. They’re a flawed team that lives and dies with its 3-point shooting. When Detroit hits from outside, they can beat anybody. When they don’t, well, they’re pitiful. Figuring out how to improve the team’s shooting will go a long way toward pushing this ship in the right direction.
David Fernandez: If I’m picking between the two, Detroit’s definitely Mr. Hyde - but I think they’re someone in the middle - a true .500 quality club that will be battling for the 7th or 8th seed come March/April.
That’s where our heads are at, what are your thoughts?