The Detroit Pistons suit up Wednesday in their last game before the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday. That means this could be literally the final game of the current Pistons era, and signify, finally, a rebuild in Detroit.
Or it could be just another game as Detroit doesn’t want to offload Andre Drummond, Derrick Rose and others for a paltry return. This is true of Drummond, who has signaled he will opt out of his deal and, therfore, Drummond might walk anyway, and the team could hold their head up high on the notion that Dre is SUPER valuable, they swear.
It’s even more true of Rose, though. The Pistons are asking for quite a haul for the revitalized Rose, who is not only the team’s best point guard by a country mile but also under contract for a reasonable number next season.
The thinking could be that Rose can win some games and help put the Pistons’ young players in a position to succeed. While the fan base wants Bruce Brown to turn into a starting level point guard, he’s just not there right now, and he might never get there.
I’m not saying this is the right move, I’m just trying to read the tea leaves as we hear various rumblings throughout the NBA.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Tickets: Buy tickets on Stubhub
Andre Drummond has had his ups and downs in his time in Detroit, but you can’t deny that he has lead and era of Detroit basketball. There has not been the success he, the organization or fans would have hoped, but that’s not all on Drummond. He didn’t sign Josh Smith or Reggie Jackson or trade for Blake Griffin or, you know, get injured and miss significant chunks of time.
He’s just a guy who shows up every game, leads the world in rebounding and alternatively plays really strong defense or drives you absolutely batty. He’s a player who, because of various forms of roster attrition has been called, and considers himself a No. 1 or No. 2. option.
The truth is he always worked best as a third or fourth guy on offense who helped use his unique skillset to help other players fit into their roles. When the Pistons had Blake Griffin healthy, a true No. 1, and an above average point guard in Reggie Jackson, Detroit and Drummond were an incredibly dangerous team.
Having all those pieces in the lineup, however, proved to be the exception and not the rule. And here we are.
Now we have one more game to definitely root Andre Drummond on. We have one more game to show our appreciation and see if he can notch yet another 20-20 night. And after tonight, maybe he goes to a contender. Somewhere he fits better and falls into the kind of pecking order he’s always been best suited.
A real point guard who can exploit his roll game. A real wing who can run the pick and roll and help Dre facilitate. Shooters everywhere that open up space around the big man.
It might not happen, but I’m going to act as if this is Drummond’s final game and I’m going to root for him like crazy.
I’m less emotionally attached to Rose, of course, as much as it’s easy to appreciate his contributions on the floor. He’s a dynamic playmaker and gets to the bucket like no player in Detroit since the Going to Work era, and maybe even before then.
Instead of signifying an end of an era, a Rose trade would do something almost as notable — signify a true commitment to a full rebuild. That would come with plenty of losses and even more empty seats in the already too empty Little Caesars Arena, but it’d provide a beam of light that points to Detroit’s path. They would have a direction, and every move going forward would be with an eye on focusing on youth and assets and deveopment.
To me, that would be a sight for sore eyes.
Is it going to happen? Probably not. But I’m going to be watching the Suns game as if it’s an inevitability. And I’m going to scream for Derrick Rose, and stand and cheer for Langston Galloway and Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris.
This could be it, everyone. And if not, well, at least we’ll still get to watch Devin Booker light it up and former Piston Aron Baynes set vicious screens. A sign of what things might have been in Detroit, and a reason to get all the more excited for the future of the Pistons — a future full of change.
Derrick Rose, Svi Mykhailiuk, Tony Snell, Sekou Doumbouya, Andre Drummond
Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges, DeAndre Ayton