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VOTE: Who should still be Pistons next season — vote on the fate of every player on the roster

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Changes are needed, but what fans want and what’s possible might be in conflict

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons - Game Four Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons made the playoffs ... as a .500 team ... and were swept in the playoffs ... and lost by an average margin of 23.8 points per game.

Owner Tom Gores is desperate for playoff appearances, relevance and building this team up into a contender. And with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond (among others) locked into big-money deals, scraping toward relevance is probably easier than a tear down.

But it’s plain as day that improvements are needed for this team to take a real step toward contention. The path for doing so, and what the options will be are up for debate. Is it building around the edges with a couple well-paid veterans? Signing as many low-cost, high-upside players as possible hoping one or two hit big and fortify your depth? Is it going for a big swing even if it costs you quality assets so you can balance the roster?

I know the questions, but I don’t know the answers. But I’m interested in what the fan base wants to see as far as how much of this roster is overhauled in the offseason. Vote on the fate of every player on the roster.

For those of you who want changes, this isn’t a hopes and dreams situation. This is dealing with the harsh reality of needing to sacrifice good assets to improve elsewhere, and the fact that moving bad assets not only costs you but also need to be replaced with other players.

Blake Griffin

Stats: 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists

Case to stay: Griffin is Detroit’s best player, focal point of its offense, leader on and off the floor, and the only person on the roster who can reliable create for himself and for others on a consistent basis.

Case to go: Sending out your best asset offers an opportunity for the biggest return. Griffin makes $34.4 million next season, has a concerning injury history and is old enough where by the time Detroit has all their pieces in place it might be too late.

The bottom line: Nobody in the organization wants to move Griffin, and it would take a godfather offer to make the team even consider a move. That ain’t happening because I don’t see a single franchise that is one “Blake Griffin away” from being not just title contenders but title favorites.

Poll

Do you want Blake Griffin to be on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Yes
    (1285 votes)
  • 10%
    No
    (158 votes)
1443 votes total Vote Now
Orlando Magic v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Andre Drummond

Stats: 17.3 points, 15.6 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.7 steals

Case to stay: Drummond finally took the next step in his development, especially on the defensive end, in the last three months of the season. He also improve his shot selection, his free-throw percentage and remains the best rebounder on the planet. He’s only 25 years old and still has room to grow.

Case to go: Drummond has no range (sorry, 3-point Dre fans), and a limited offensive skillset that makes him hard to build around. The Pistons need some elite and dynamic playmaking on the wing and they would need to trade someone to get it.

The bottom line: The market for big men is always limited in this era of perimeter-oriented basketball. Drummond makes $27 million and respect for his game varies wildly. He’d likely need another full season of the kind of basketball he played from February-April to turn around perceptions of his game.

Poll

Do you want Andre Drummond on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Yes
    (941 votes)
  • 35%
    No
    (524 votes)
1465 votes total Vote Now

Reggie Jackson

Stats: 15.4 points, 4.2 assists, 54.7 TS%, 82 games played

Case to stay: A healthy Jackson is a dangerous Jackson, and this season he was finally healthy for a full season. He played all 82 games, He added a reliable high-volume 3-point shot the team needs from the PG position so Blake can work with the ball in his hands. He’s still dangerous in the pick-and-roll alongside Drummond. If you trade Jackson, you need a new starting point guard with all of the above skills, and those don’t grow on trees.

Case to go: Frankly, it seems pretty clear that Dwane Casey just doesn’t trust Jackson. The light-shooting Ish Smith averaged 7.7 minutes per game in the fourth quarter while Jackson averaged 7 minutes. There were several games when Jackson was cooking and Smith was struggling and Casey still preferred to close the game with Smith (Jackson did have the edge in clutch minutes, though). Jackson remains a subpar defender and can’t threaten at the rim.

The bottom line: I’m guessing he’s No. 1 on the “ship him out of here” wishlist, at least for players that matter. But sending him out almost means you have to get a point guard back in the same deal. Is there a way to do that and still get a sizeable upgrade?

Poll

Do you want Reggie Jackson on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Yes
    (364 votes)
  • 74%
    No
    (1083 votes)
1447 votes total Vote Now

Langston Galloway

Stats: 8.4 points, 35.5 3P%, 64.7 3P attempt rate, 1,745 minutes

Case to stay: Galloway cemented his presence in the rotation thanks to a free-fire approach to taking perimeter shots on a team desperate for perimeter shooting. While some players fell in and out of Casey’s rotation, he always stuck with Galloway.

Case to go: Galloway runs extremely hot and cold as a shooter and provides little else of value on the floor (great shoes though). His expiring salary is modest ($7 million) and there seems to be plenty of players that could supplant him for playing time next season — Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Khyri Thomas, Svi Mykhailiuk.

Bottom line: While Galloway won’t be the featured name in any deal, his is easiest to throw in to make the money work if Detroit targeted fortifying a different position on the roster.

Poll

Do you want Langston Galloway on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Yes
    (299 votes)
  • 78%
    No
    (1121 votes)
1420 votes total Vote Now
NBA: Sacramento Kings at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Leuer

Stats: 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 402 minutes, 1 3-pointer made

Case to stay: Leuer was recovering from an injury and never managed to see the floor. With a full offseason of health and a focus on rediscovering his 3-point shot he could provide the team flexibility at both reserve power forward and center. Plus, moving him is going to cost you additional assets. Keep your powder dry and wait for his salary to come off the books.

Case to go: Leuer’s salary his hefty, his production is minimal, but his $9.5 million salary is expiring. Time to cash in and grab a player with an exorbitant salary and years left on his deal so you can up the talent level on the Pistons.

Bottom line: This will all come down to how much pressure Detroit feels to make changes this year as opposed to waiting next year when about $42 million comes off the books.

Poll

Do you want Jon Leuer on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Yes
    (133 votes)
  • 90%
    No
    (1295 votes)
1428 votes total Vote Now

Wayne Ellington

Stats: 12.0 points, 37.3 3P%, 58.4 TS% (with Detroit)

Case to stay: After trading Reggie Bullock it looked like Detroit was waving the white flag on the playoffs, but they were able to replace his production with Ellington after Miami waived him. He was punching above his weight as a starter but could be a lethal 3-point weapon off the bench and could be affordable.

Case to go: Detroit is deep with young, productive pieces at the shooting guard position and could use those scarce financial resources elsewhere. Ellington is a quality shooter but has only eclipsed the 40% 3-point shooting mark once in his 10-year career.

Bottom line: Interest exists on both sides of the equation but it would have to make financial sense for both parties, and Ellington would have to see a clear path to consistent minutes.

Poll

Do you want Wayne Ellington on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Yes
    (899 votes)
  • 36%
    No
    (517 votes)
1416 votes total Vote Now

Ish Smith

Stats: 8.9 points, 3.6 assists, 32.6 3P%

Case to stay: Casey loved the way the team played when Smith was on the floor. Things were constantly moving, and Smith is able to push the pace in ways nobody else could. The team was 31-20 with Smith in the lineup and his 1.5 plus-minus trailed only Drummond on the team.

Case to go: The specter of playoff Ish Smith will haunt everyone all offseason. Smith was dreadful in the postseason and the team was dreadful with him on the floor. If the Pistons want to succeed in the playoffs, Smith might have played himself out of that equation. A willing 3-point shooter does not make a good 3-point shooter. Smith is never going to be a perimeter threat and so it’s hard to talk yourself into him sharing time with Drummond in any meaningful minutes.

The bottom line: The team controls Ish Smith’s bird rights, meaning they can exceed the cap in order to-resign him. The team is likely to use its full mid-level exception, meaning it will hard-cap itself. Detroit will be able to still add salary and stay under the hard cap. That means re-signing Ish is easy, and gives them a player at a key position they seem to like.

Poll

Do you want Ish Smith on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Yes
    (984 votes)
  • 31%
    No
    (443 votes)
1427 votes total Vote Now
NBA: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Kennard

Stats: 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 39.4 3P%

Case to stay: Kennard thrived in the playoffs, and toward the end of the season was playing with the unflinching confidence Casey had been hoping to see from him all season. He’s the team’s best 3-point shooter and, more importantly, showed that he is not simply a catch-and-shoot option. He can drive and pull-up and showed some passing ability. He’s cheap, under team control for years and is a blossoming offensive player.

Case to go: Kennard is cheap, under team control for years and is a blossoming offensive player. That combination makes him probably the most attractive asset the team possesses, and surely will be the player everyone asks for in a trade. Indications are the Pistons were in serious negotiations for Mike Conley, but an unwillingness to move Kennard was a dealbreaker. If the Pistons want to obtain an impact player it would likely cost them Kennard. So how bad do you want an impact player?

The bottom line: Kennard is not untouchable but the kind of quality asset that you only give up if the deal is a slam-dunk difference-maker. Is there a deal like that out there for the Pistons?

Poll

Do you want Luke Kennard on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Yes
    (1368 votes)
  • 4%
    No
    (62 votes)
1430 votes total Vote Now

Thon Maker

Stats: 5.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 30.7 3P%

Case to stay: When Maker was on the floor you could hardly look away. Sometimes it was because he was launching a herky-jerky 3 from the corner or emphatically blocking a shot, and other times it was between your fingers as you saw him attempt to play defense or catch a pass in the lane. Still, the Pistons cut bait on a player they knew they weren’t going to bring back (Stanley Johnson) so they could take a flyer on someone else. That flyer lasts through next season.

Case to go: Maker still isn’t very good at basketball, and from a skill and body perspective, it’s not clear he will ever get there. As a former lottery pick and “stretch big” he’s the kind of asset that’s not really an asset that teams can talk their fanbases into. He’s also cheap and under team control so he’s easy to throw into any deal as a little bit of sweetener.

The bottom line: He’ll be a throw in a larger deal if he gets moved at all, but large deals are hard to pull off. Plus, he’s a cheap lottery ticket, so maybe keep the scratch off for yourself.

Poll

Do you want Thon Maker on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Yes
    (895 votes)
  • 36%
    No
    (509 votes)
1404 votes total Vote Now

Bruce Brown

Stats: 4.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 56 starts

Case to stay: The second-round pick earned Dwane Casey’s trust as a quality NBA defender the minute he stepped on the floor. He played all over the floor in Detroit, and the Pistons have one eye on developing him into a point guard. Detroit played 3.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor compared to off, and that is because he might be the only quality perimeter defender Detroit has on its roster.

Case to go: Could be a sweetener in a larger deal, and the Pistons might be forced to prioritize offense from his position if it keeps Andre Drummond and Ish Smith. Other bodies could fill the void if he leaves.

Bottom line: Detroit is likely to keep Brown, work endlessly on developing his 3-point shot and hope he can be a deadly reserve lead ball handler.

Poll

Do you want Bruce Brown on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Yes
    (1160 votes)
  • 15%
    No
    (216 votes)
1376 votes total Vote Now
NBA: New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Glenn Robinson III

Stats: 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, 47 games

Case to stay: There is no getting around how crushingly disappointing Robinson’s first season in Detroit was. On a team with zero small forwards, he still couldn’t crack the rotation following the trades of Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson. But he’s cheap and ... uhh ... maybe he rediscovers the ability to his a 3.

Case to go: Robinson will either be traded or the team won’t pick up his team option. The guarantee date is June 29, just before the beginning of free agency. A team looking to open up salary cap space could trade for Robinson and then decline his team option before the deadline.

Bottom line: Either way, Robinson is unlikely to be wearing a Detroit Pistons uniform next season.

Poll

Do you want Glenn Robinson III on the Pistons next year?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Yes
    (158 votes)
  • 87%
    No
    (1144 votes)
1302 votes total Vote Now

Zaza Pachulia

Stats: 3.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, grit

Case to stay: Pachulia was a veteran presence who was constantly talking and teaching up his younger teammates. He was a minimum-salaried veteran who provided depth if not much production.

Case to go: Easily replaceable with someone that has a higher upside.

Bottom line: Unlikely to return to the Pistons

Poll

Do you want Zaza Pachulia on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Yes
    (259 votes)
  • 81%
    No
    (1124 votes)
1383 votes total Vote Now

Jose Calderon

Stats: LOL, LOL, LOL

Case to stay: There literally isn’t one

Case to go: Everything. Literally everything. The prosecution rests, your honor.

The bottom line: I was excited when Calderon signed after he had a sneaky productive season in Cleveland, but he looks like a player who has suited up for the last time in the NBA.

Poll

Do you want Jose Calderon on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Yes
    (47 votes)
  • 96%
    No
    (1329 votes)
1376 votes total Vote Now

Svi Mykhailiuk

Stats (G-League): 23.5 points, 3.0 assists, 40% 3P%

Case to stay: The primary asset in the Reggie Bullock trade (we miss you, Reggie), those in the Pistons organization rave about his 3-point shooting ability and think they have another big player they could mold into a point guard. A cheap asset the team can control for a few years. Shouldn’t just be a throw in.

Case to go: Could intrigue a lot of teams and serve as a sweetener as the team looks to offload undesirable salary. If you want a team to take on a Galloway, Leuer or Jackson, you might need to say goodbye to Svi as well.

The bottom line: Players like Svi are where the rubber meets the road. If you’re desperate for change then you should want to include Svi or similar assets in a deal. If you want him to stay and still think the team can ditch other contracts, you’re engaged in magical thinking.

Poll

Do you want Svi Mykhailiuk on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Yes
    (1112 votes)
  • 17%
    No
    (241 votes)
1353 votes total Vote Now
NBA: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Khyri Thomas

Stats: (G-League): 20.3 points, 43.8% 3P%, 1.7 steals

Case to stay: A developmental second round pick that the Pistons staff just put a years worth of work into. Could be a plus player on both ends of the floor and his efficiency is superb in college and in the G-League. Could step into any minutes vacated by Galloway or Ellington.

Case to go: See everything above about Svi.

Bottom line: Ibid.

Poll

Do you want Khyri Thomas on the Pistons next season?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Yes
    (1179 votes)
  • 10%
    No
    (134 votes)
1313 votes total Vote Now

Unnamed First-round Pick

Stats: Hopefully good!

Case to stay: The Pistons have consistently put themselves behidn the eight ball by trading picks to make problems go away (Ben Gordon) or upgrade talent (Blake Griffin). The new regime seems to be resisting that urge. A pick is cheap and under team control for years, and it’s not unheard of to get immediate contributions on the wing — currently the team’s biggest weakness.

Case to go: How else do you plan on ridding yourself of Jackson, Leuer or Galloway? How else do you get a player with the ability to score and defend? To create for others? Without the pick you’re probably looking at players who coud do just one of the above. Is that good enough?

Bottom line: If the team feels pressure to “win now” while Blake is an All-NBA type player, there will be plenty of pressure to sacrifice a first-round pick. That doesn’t mean it’s a wise decision, though.

Poll

Do you want the Pistons to trade their first-round pick in order to facilitate a trade?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes
    (460 votes)
  • 64%
    No
    (838 votes)
1298 votes total Vote Now