Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Trade Deadline Review

Today's trade deadline came and went and the Pistons roster is the same as it's been since the team signed Josh Harrellson on August 21st of last year.  Joe Dumars chose to sit idle and watch the house burn, instead of either pouring water or gasoline on it.  The result will certainly be a Pistons roster that is every bit as dysfunctional as it has been since the Josh Smith signing.  A team that is leading the league in points in the paint, but dead last in three point shooting.  A team that is a slap in the face to the notion of True Shooting%, a field goal efficiency measure which accounts for both free throw and three-point shooting.  A stat that the Pistons rank 25th in the league in; ahead of three tanking teams (BOS, MIL, PHI), Chicago's anemic Rose-less offense and the indescribable 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers.  If you haven't tuned out on this season yet, you're due for more of the same between now and the middle of April, which will likely be the Pistons' fifth straight season without a playoff appearance.

Assuming you can take NBA reporters on Twitter for their word (you can't), there were multiple players available in small deals that would have helped the Pistons win this season.  Players available for 2nd round picks or minimal talent investment that would have helped the Pistons were numerous.  Jimmer Fredette, shooting 49% from three this year, was supposedly available for a 2nd round pick.  Anthony Morrow, the Pelicans' sharpshooter who connects on threes at a 43% rate in his career and is shooting 47.5% this season, likely would have also only cost a 2nd round pick.  Fredette boasts a 58.4 TS% this year, Morrow's sitting at a fresh 57.7%.  Among Pistons players who have played more than 300 minutes this season, both Morrow and Fredette would rank second on the team in TS% had they been acquired today.  Instead, the Pistons saved their pick to draft a player who is way more likely to be Walter Sharpe than Kyle Singler.

The only bit of news we did get today was that the Pistons were shopping misfit SF Josh Smith, but were asking for far too much.  The news, via Grantland's Zach Lowe, was that the Pistons were asking for assets instead of expiring deals in return for Smith.  Lowe also implied that Dumars was just gauging the market for a potential deal this summer.  If true, Dumars might need a magnifying glass to read the writing on the wall.  His pick to coach the team has already been fired, his poorly assembled group of talent is on pace to miss the playoffs in the putrid Eastern Conference, and his contract expires at the end of the year.  Tom Gores didn't buy the team to muddle around the top half of the bottom third of the league.  Joe Dumars hasn't shown in years that he can build a roster that does anything but that.  So why stand pat?  Why not make one last-ditch effort to get this team into the playoffs?  Either Joe Dumars doesn't see the obvious signs that he's about to be fired, or he just doesn't care.

So, where to now?  Detroit enters an extremely tough stretch of games trailing the 8th place Charlotte Bobcats by 2.5 games.  Four of the Pistons' next five games are against teams over the .500 mark, including road games against San Antonio and Houston.  If the Pistons don't manage to win on Friday night against the Hawks, their only game of the next five against a sub-.500 team, they could possibly go 0-5 in the stretch.  That would certainly be the death blow to this fragile season.  By that point, the Pistons may very well be as many as five or six games out of the playoff picture.  With the Charlotte Bobcats rounding into form, it's time to play for next year if the Pistons don't win three of the next five.  The Pistons can't hold on too long this year, if they do, it will cost them a lottery pick, in what would be their biggest failure of a season in this "rebuilding" phase.  It's hard not to wonder if today's inactivity solidified their fate.  Oh well, unless your name is Joe Dumars, there's always next year.

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