We are just a few hours away from the start of NBA Free Agency, the most exciting day in the entire NBA calendar. There are rumors galore and fake Twitter accounts trying to become the next Woj or Shams.
With the Detroit Pistons armed with a good amount of cap space, I am sure some of those rumors will involve the Pistons. We will have a better idea of who the Pistons add and who is on their way out in the next few days, but in the meantime, we have to take a look at who is currently on the roster and where they fit into the rotation before that all gets blown apart.
I will divide the roster into a few different tiers to see where everybody fits into the current rotation if the season were to start today.
I think the starters are pretty straight forward with where things currently stand. They are as follows:
Possibly, Isaiah Stewart
You could definitely make an argument for Isaiah Stewart to start for extra frontcourt defense, and in that scenario, I think Ausar Thompson comes off the bench. The current roster is in need of shooting and Bojan Bogdanovic is the best shooter on the roster. I don’t think there is any scenario where you are not able to start him. He lacks the defensive chops this team is looking for long term, but if you start him alongside Ausar Thompson, you at least have sombody out on the wing that can defend.
Also, being the highest paid player on a young roster carries a starting spot whether you want to admit it or not. I am sure if the Pistons asked Bogdanovic to come off the bench, he would be a good soldier and do it, but there isn’t enough talent on the roster to be bumping him out of the starting lineup at this time.
Ideally, Isaiah Stewart becomes a good 3 point shooter that teams actually guard on the perimeter, but he isn’t that right now, so he can’t be trusted to space the floor in a lineup that features Duren, Cunningham, and Ivey along with Ausar Thompson.
You are basically forced to start Bojan Bogdanovic and then you can choose between Thompson or Stewart as the other starter.
Whichever player you do not choose would be moved to my next tier, the bench players, but I will keep these 6 here for now.
I think Marcus Sasser probably finds his way into the bench rotation on some nights, but this is probably the main bench rotation as things currently stand.
I don’t think the Pistons enter the season with Marvin Bagley and James Wiseman both on the roster, but based on how much the two of them played together when both were healthy last season, I am inclined to believe they will play as long as they are still on the roster.
I actually think Isaiah Livers is more likely to be out of the rotation than one of Bagley or Wiseman, unless Monty Williams truly has the autonomy to do what he wants despite Troy Weaver’s obsession with centers.
I am not really sure where the minutes all come from with Isaiah Stewart also probably coming off the bench, but that is why some changes need to be made to this roster.
I think the biggest question is whether Killian Hayes sticks around in the bench rotation. I think he is given the first shot to do that, but if he is still struggling to put the ball in the basket, you could see Marcus Sasser taking over more of his minutes.
Hayes could also be moved during the offseason if the Pistons are done waiting for the shot to come along and another team feels like they can unlock it.
As I said above, they still probably find some minutes for him on some nights depending on matchups, but I think the Sasser pick was partially an element of looking towards the future since Killian Hayes is going into the final year of his rookie deal.
He is a good enough shooter and defender now to play, so he will play, it is just tough to find consistent minutes with the current roster.
End of the Bench
I didn’t put him on the list because he is technically a free agent, but I would expect Rodney McGruder to be back, unless a contender gives him an actual role. I doubt that happens, so I am sure McGruder will join this group.
I also think the Pistons will move on from Hamidou Diallo and Cory Joseph.
As the Pistons hopefully add players, a few of the guys from the bench unit will be moved into this tier. Nothing against any of those guys, but the talent level on the roster needs to be upgraded, so in an ideal world, a majority of those bench players are moved to the end of the bench as the Pistons add more talent.
I think either of Sasser and Omoruyi can be trusted to play minutes in the event of injury. There is also still the possibility that Omoruyi is waived, as his contract only has a partial guarantee.
The Pistons extended a two-way qualifying offer to Jared Rhoden, so as of now he is technically on the roster. That means he likely comes back on a two-way contract, unless a team gives him an offer sheet for a roster spot, which I highly doubt.
Evbuomwan is an undrafted free agent out of Princeton that the Pistons have reportedly signed, but it remains to be seen whether it is an Exhibit 10 training camp deal, just a Summer Camp roster spot, or a two-way spot.
I haven’t seen anything reported on Buddy Boeheim, so we will assume he isn’t back on a two-way contract until we know for sure. I sincerely hope he isn’t back on a 2-way contract.
As is obvious from the above rotation, the Pistons have a lot of guards and a lot of bigs, but don’t really have a ton of wings. That is the direction that all reporting has pointed to them targeting in free agency or trades.
Whether they are actually successful in any of their pursuits is another question, but those are the names I would be looking at for free agency or the trade market.
We will check back when things are all said and done to see if the rotation has gotten better or worse.
Enjoy free agency, and try not to get too angry if the Pistons strike out on everybody.