The negotiating period of free agency kicks off at midnight on Wednesday, July 1st, allowing for teams to talk terms with the players they've made priorities in free agency. The Pistons have traditionally been also-rans in free agency periods past, but Stan Van Gundy seems intent on pulling in one of the many quality SF options available on this year's market, using a portion of the team's approximately $18M in cap space. The Pistons' head man has been quoted in multiple places as stating that he and his team are prioritizing two unrestricted free agents at the team's biggest position of need, as well as two restricted free agents. While the biggest area of focus is on the team's dire need for a starter at SF, Detroit also needs a legitimate backup C or two to play behind Andre Drummond. The Pistons could also use another F, whether it's at SF or PF depends on Stan Van Gundy's idea of Quincy Miller's position. The good news is, we're likely to avoid a Smith/Villaneuva/Gordon-esque signing, as SVG and his front office appear dedicated to following their plan to build smartly around Andre Drummond. While there's no guarantee that Stan Van Gundy can bring in a top name to fill the SF gap, the first week of July should be entertaining to follow.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
The Pistons ended up with the player most people thought they would when they grabbed Stanley Johnson with the 8th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The surprise came as they passed on Justise Winslow, who was available after the Kings took a flyer on Willie Cauley-Stein with the 6th pick, allowing the rest of the teams in the top ten a chance to grab guys who were higher on their boards. The selection has drawn mixed reviews from fans and media alike, with the main point of contention being the availability of Winslow. Winslow and Johnson have found themselves being compared fairly often over the last few years, as Johnson edged out Winslow in the high school recruiting rankings, and Winslow got the most recent laugh with an NCAA championship and major hype for his part in that title run. Going into the draft, it was almost certain that Johnson wouldn't come off the board until the Pistons picked at 8, while there was talk that Winslow could go as high as 4 to the Knicks. When New York instead opted for Kristaps Porzingis and his monumental hype, and the Magic, Kings and Nuggets also passed on Winslow, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Detroit would scoop him up. It seemed obvious because Winslow had drawn favor from his performance in March and April, and he was ranked higher than Johnson on just about every media draft board. Personally, I had Winslow as the 4th-best prospect, whereas Johnson was only 7th on my big board. However, Stan Van Gundy and his front office team grabbed the guy that they had rated higher on their board, splitting the fan base down the middle with his decision. While I wasn't pleased with passing on Winslow at the time, I don't see this as a colossal mistake. There are reasons to believe that Johnson is right there with Winslow as a prospect, and that the separation between the two may be minimal, which is how things were seen before Duke's title run. If they had grabbed Sam Dekker or Kelly Oubre here, we could have a talk about the front office trying to outthink the room. Since they grabbed a player who most saw as an equal to Winslow as recently as February, it's best to take a wait-and-see approach to this pick.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
A few days ago I rounded up the rumors and talk that has been floating around regarding the Pistons in the lead-up to the 2015 NBA Draft. What's fact and fiction is somewhat hard to decipher at this time of the year (hint: most of it's fiction), but the one thing that holds true is that every fan has an opinion on what they want their favorite team to do. I'm no different in that regard, so I want to lay out my opinion on what should go down, within realistic parameters, when the Pistons partake in the festivities on Thursday night. Feel free to add your opinions for each topic in the comment section below...
at 6:38 PM