Top 10 WORST Troy Weaver GM moves (Part 1)

While I wouldn't say I have entirely soured on Troy Weaver as a GM, I think we'd all agree that the initial excitement about his tenure has become challenged. The man was dealt a pretty lousy hand... a franchise (mostly) bereft of young talent, with excess cap room devoted to aging former superstars, and some lost draft capital. Since becoming Pistons General Manager in the summer of 2020, Troy has made quite a number of moves, and has shown the ability to find young talent and decent role player vets on a budget. Unfortunately, none of his efforts to date have resulted in forward momentum in winning.

I still think there are some positive things to say about his tenure... and I'd like to follow up with a Top 10 BEST Troy Weaver GM Moves to balance this list, but for now... I'm feeling like pouring some gas on things. So, without further adieu, here are the Top 10 WORST Troy Weaver moves as GM of the Detroit Pistons.

Honorable Mention: 2022-2023 season management

Karma anyone? Do you believe the "basketball gods" are watching (as does JEIII)? Do you think that the NBA Draft lottery is rigged, and the NBA is willing to reward/punish teams for their performance?

Either way you look at it, the Detroit Pistons got goose-egged with the worst possible draft pick that a last place team could earn. With 17 wins, this was the second worst season in Pistons history, and it was at least partially due to inactivating many of the Pistons decent players (Bogey, Stew, etc.) midway through the season. Down the stretch, the Pistons regularly fielded a roster of non-NBA players due to simply not having the depth of real NBA players who were disactivated.

This was ultimately a GM decision... tank, and tank hard for a top lotto pick... and ultimately, it backfired. The Pistons will acquire an asset one way or another - either a decent draft prospect or trade fodder - but nothing franchise altering more than likely, and at the cost of the team spitting in the face of integrity of the league. Fans who cared to pay for tickets/TV packages to watch the team were basically told "eat garbage and hope for better days".

Without a doubt, this was the most disgraceful season I've experienced as a Pistons fan - even worse than the "Keuster Mutiny" season. I never want to see such an embarrassment of a performance again - no matter who the top pick prospect may be - or else my fandom might be challenged more permanently. Troy owns this one; his name is right there next to Dick Vitale in the Pistons GM Hall of Shame, and that's... well, really bad.

10. G-League / Two-way roster management

Buddy Boeheim... need I say more??

No but in all seriousness, for all the excitement of moving the Piston's G-League affiliate to the City of Detroit, its hard to feel that the team has gotten a lot out of it thus far.

It's not all bad... last year, the Cruise were in the G-League playoffs... there were some fun moments with Derrick Walton Jr, Luka Garza, Saben Lee, Jamorko Pickett, etc. However, year two... other than a late season run of wins that saw them just barely miss the playoffs, it is hard to point to any positives. No young prospects particularly emerged... no two-way players or second round picks got important burn that could seemingly translate into a future benefit to the main club.

Worst of all, back to Buddy, it seems like Troy's allegiances to his past - Washington DC, Syracuse University, etc. - are able to negatively influence his decision making in roster makeup. In the one Piston's game I attended at the end of last year where the season was clearly over, and they were all about losing games, Buddy didn't even play 1 minute... why? Well maybe because the guy has a PER of 0.5 and -9.9 BPM, which have to be records. Guys on 10 day deals were actually playing NBA minutes, while a guy with a full-season contract wasn't.

Two-way spots are not that huge off a deal... they're the 16th and 17th men on the roster... but in previous seasons there was at least SOMETHING to get out of them; Luka Garza was a fan-favorite victory cigar; Braxton Key actually played decent defense. This year, we got nepo-baby Buddy and Jared Rhoden, who i didn't even know was on the team until the end of the season.

Troy needs to do better to get value out of the team's development season moving forward. Especially a rebuilding team, a G-League affiliate should be like an incubator, and you'd like to hope you get one or two prospects out of it.

9. Second Round drafting

Here's the deal... second round picks are not that valuable, and they're unlikely to mature into much of value. Draymond Green, Manu Ginobli and Nikola Jokic aside, history indicates that 2nd rounders are mostly destined for nothing of significance. That said, you'd like to hope that in 3 seasons Troy would have gotten at least 1 decent prospect out of his 5 turns at bat. With Saben Lee, Isaiah Livers, Luka Garza, Balsa Koprivica and Gabriele Procida, all signs seem to indicate that the club is getting a hearty bowl of nothing out of those picks.

Ok, some of you will immediately protest about Livers. I get it, I love his hair too... he is a sweet kid with a great smile and an overall do-gooder, go-getter kinda attitude... but all signs point to him being "just OK" to "not that good" thus far. In two seasons, he has an average PER of 9, a negative BPM on both sides of the court, a negative VORP and "just ok" 3 pt %.Plus, he's been hurt more than he's been healthy, which was the concern in drafting him to begin with. I'm still pulling for him, but he's going to have to really show something more consistent in year 3 or else its more likely that he either has no NBA future, or it will be discovered with a different team.

Saben flashed promise with the Cruise that rarely translated to an NBA court before being traded as fodder and may be out of the league next year. Garza was fun but his mobility was as-advertised, and couldn't even beat out Buddy for a two-way deal to stay with the team in 22-23. Balsa will unlikely ever make an appearance in the NBA, and Procida - taken with the 36 pick (almost a late 1st rounder) - shot 24% from 3 last season with Berlin in the EuroLeague. Woof.

Again, Second Round picks are not that important, but our last three GMs found talent there (even if they didn't have the wherewithal to keep them around until they matured! Middleton, Dinwiddie, BRUCE MFING BROWN). With the 31st pick this year, assuming the Pistons keep it, Troy needs to bring in actual talent that the club can use.

8. Trading for Dewayne Dedmon; Signing Mason Plumlee/Jahlil Okafor; Stretching Dewayne Dedmon

As one of Troy's first trades on Nov 20, 2020, rightly evaluating the front court as an area of weakness for the Pistons, 3 point specialist Tony Snell and failed second rounder Khyri Thomas were shipped to the Atlanta Hawks for Dewayne Dedmon, a journeyman big. On the exact same day, the Pistons signed BOTH Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor - both journeyman bigs . Uhh...??? That's what we were all thinking. That was especially true when Troy then traded for another prospect big in Tony Bradley. Troy had also just acquired rookie big Isaiah Stewart... whaaa??? So the Pistons went from being light on bigmen to Troy getting some looks for maybe trying the unconventional 4-in-1-out strategy.

So, how to resolve this? Welp, Bradley was traded for Zhaire Smith, who was stretched almost immediately 2 days later... and also stretched Dedmon, who - until 2025 - will be making about $3mil/season from the Pistons. So, then we were back to Beef Stew, Mason and Okafor. Hmm...

I gotta admit, at the time, this was such a flurry of activity it felt like it HAD to be smart, right? Why else would someone with a critical role in their first season make such moves if they weren't calculated? Ultimately, it was just deckchair moving... and for the most part, harmless; Yes, it is absurd that the Pistons stretched Dedmon and will still be paying him for 2 more seasons. Even if the cap hit is minor, its still absurd... but even worse, Dedmon went on to become a somewhat respectable backup big for Miami.

Why did we need Mason and Okafor? Both played only one season with the team, with Okafor flaming out and Mason getting traded in a mostly one-sided trade to Charlotte. Wouldn't it have been smarter just to rent Dedmon until his contract ended? Yes... probably it would have been... and we wouldn't have BS dead space on our roster. Not the biggest flop, but all that deckchair moving certainly did prove to be both worthless as well as low-key harmful.

7. Trading two 2nd Round Picks, Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson for Marvin Bagley III

Look, we Pistons fans weren't big on Trey Lyles after he dissed Detroit, and Josh Jackson was a hometown kid who just never panned out for us while he was here (and might not ever!). Bagley III came here with the promise that a change of scenery might do him some good, and to a certain extent it has; he has been better as a Piston than he was as a King.

That said, he is a poor defender, poor 3 pt shooter, and is injury-prone. He was resigned by the Pistons for a contract most fans think is gratuitous (more on that later). Add in that Trey Lyles, despite being a douchebag, has played well for the Kings on a value contract, AND two 2nd round picks out the door, the shine is off this penny of a trade.

It's still possible Marvin turns out to be a very good player, but with the odd mix of bigs in Stew, Duren, Wiseman and Bagley, its hard to understand exactly how this is going to work out. I hope we see more consistency and value in year 3.

6. Trading Saddiq Bey for James Wiseman

Look, the jury is still out on this one. There are some fans firmly in the camp that this was a huge win for the Pistons, acquiring a former top pick who struggled to earn playing time on a championship roster, while shipping out at best an NBA role player in Bey. Rumors that Bey thinks he is owed a decent sized bag lend credence that this trade may have been for the best, as Bey was somewhat underachieving as a Piston without a clear role. Wiseman is younger, and has the frame of a project player who could really become "a dude" within a few years.

That all said, Bey was a fan favorite; Pistons fans have rarely seen 50+ point games, and we appreciated his stoic machine-like devotion to his body and the game. He also has great hair! Bey did prove to be a role player on a playoff team. That feels like it should have been worth more than a project player like Wiseman. I think any true Pistons fan will miss Bey and wish him the best.

Wiseman, on the other hand, IS A PROJECT... he could turn out to be a future star!?! But at what cost? After acquiring him, fan favorite and also potential future star Jalen Duren was benched for most of the rest of the season. Wiseman oddly played worse by all advanced metrics with the Pistons than he did with Golden State... that by itself doesn't mean a lot because clearly the GSW system made him better while he was out there... but he really wasn't good there, and therefore was even worse here without the system. He is also not a stretch big, same as Duren and Bagley. He also makes quite a bit of money... $12 mil this season and $16 mil the next. That's a lot of roster cap devoted to a project player who is competing for playing time with 3 other young bigs.

If the Pistons hadn't already drafted Duren and/or resigned Bagley, this move might have felt more universally logical, even if we might all miss Saddiq. But given the money implications... you basically need to decide sometime this coming season whether you're extending him or just giving him the qualifying offer the following season, allowing him to become a free agent in 25-26... and given the confused playing time of the 4 bigs... this just doesn't make a lot of sense right now.

If Wiseman does not carve out a role and legitimacy pretty quickly next season, this trade is going to go from 'questionable' to just outright bad.

OK, so that's a lot of typing for one day! I look forward to giving you Part 2 - the top 5 WORST moves by Troy Weaver as Pistons GM in the next edition!

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