The Detroit Pistons and Sr. Director of Player Personnel Gregg Polinsky have mutually agreed to part ways, sources tell ESPN. Polinsky was part of a staff in Brooklyn and Detroit that drafted Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 2, 2021
Maybe it isn’t as spectacular a move as the end of Danny Ainge era in Celtics FO, but it is a significant shift for Detroit. Polinsky was extremely well-regarded and after being added to the staff by senior adviser Ed Stefanski, he had good early returns for the players he brought to Motown.
Ed Stefanski’s contract is up this summer, and his time in Detroit has been mostly well spent clearing out bad contracts, hiring Dwane Casey and setting the stage for the Pistons to hire well-regarded GM Troy Weaver to take the reins. Polinsky’s track record with the Pistons is not bad at all.
In his first year with the team, Detroit drafted Khyri Thomas with the 38th pick (acquired through trade), Bruce Brown with 42nd and traded in mid-season for the 47th pick, Svi Mykhailiuk. Ok, none of these players are on the team anymore. But Khyri showed at the end of this season with Rockets that there’s a future for him in the NBA when the progress we expected from him when he played in Detroit materializes (oh yea, his utilization of P&R sets as two-guard looks handsome as we thought it would). Bruce, even though not a dribble penetrator but only a slasher, is a useful player as a free-safety big on a contending Nets team, who netted us a 37th pick in a draft loaded by intriguing prospects at the turn of first and second rounds (bring home Isaiah Jackson, Troy!, so I can forget about Nic Claxton). And Svi, after a very promising run with the Pistons got us the even more promising player in Hamidou Diallo.
In the second year of Polinsky tenure, Detroit drafted Sekou Doumbouya with the 15th pick, Deividas Sirvydis with 37th and Jordan Bone with 57th. It took him a while, but at the end of this season, Sekou showed that his rookie year in G League two years ago indeed was only “a glimpse at what is still to come.” In about the same span, Dave showed to be “a prospect who maybe won’t be able to dominate on the strong side, but who could provide a strong punch from the weak side.” Sure, the Warriors were able to get Eric Paschall with the 41st pick, but in absolute terms this would be a very good value out of the 37th pick. And as for a 57th pick, Jordan gave us a lot of joy while playing for the Grand Rapids Drive two years ago as documented in our Grand Rapids Weekly reports from fanposts like this one.
And last year, the team with Polinsky in the FO drafted a player who challenged Isiah Lord the Third record for most rookie games with at least 5 assists, and left Joe D behind in that process – Killian Hayes taken with the 7th pick; a player who evokes Big Ben vibes – Isaiah Stewart taken with the 16th pick; a player that become only the second rookie in franchise history to earn the Player of the Weak honors – Saddiq Bey taken with the 19th pick; and a player who showed that he shouldn’t last till second round – Saben Lee taken with the 38th pick.
It’s quite an impressive record for Polinsky in Detroit. When you add the likes of Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert he drafted (the former) or probably had a word on trading for two weeks after the draft (the latter) while being with Nets, it’s quite an impressive resume. So why paring ways with him. Well, as reports Omari Sankofa, it has nothing to do with hiring of former University of Michigan coach John Beilein as that move was made on request of Dwane Casey and will enrich his coaching staff.
However, Troy has enhanced the scouting department much upon his arrival bringing in Harold Ellis and Ryan West. Both have a solid track record themselves including the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Mitchell Robinson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, Svi Mykhailiuk and Moritz Wagner. And especially West, the son of Jerry, the Logo, might have been brought to Detroit with a promise of a top job within scouting department. So this may be the reason. If this isn’t the reason, then it may be that that Polinsky wasn’t Troy’s guy after all. Or it may be that Troy’s making room to bring some recognized executives that should be available shortly.
Weaver will continue remaking the Pistons to fit his vision so it’s not terribly surprising to see one of the last remnants of the pre-Weaver days move on.