Monday, April 7, 2014

Looking Ahead to Next Year: Possible Frontcourt FA Additions

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**Possible Backcourt FA Additions

For a breakdown on the Pistons' available cap space and who might be gone after this season, click on the link above for the backcourt article.

The frontcourt is where the true action will be happening this summer.  Detroit has a choice to be made with regards to the Josh Smith-Greg Monroe issue.  Do they go with the younger, offensive-minded player in Greg Monroe?  Or do they choose the veteran, defensive-minded, offensive black hole in Josh Smith?  It's clear that one of the two has to go, which will certainly open up a whole at the SF spot.  Assuming the Pistons don't have to send their pick to the Bobcats, they could very well fill that hole in the draft.  If they don't, a starter quality player will be a must-have commodity, either via free agency or a trade.  Kyle Singler is a solid player, but if he's starting, he needs to be surrounded with top-notch talent.  Below is an idea of what the Pistons depth chart will look like going into free agency.


Position Starter Bench Bench
PG Brandon Jennings Will Bynum Peyton Siva
SG KCP/Draft Pick KCP ???
SF Kyle Singler/Draft Pick Kyle Singler/Luigi Datome Luigi Datome
PF Josh Smith/Greg Monroe Tony Mitchell Draft Pick?
C Andre Drummond Draft Pick? ???


Unless Tony Mitchell shows massive improvements in the offseason, the Pistons will need to add two quality frontcourt players as backups, in addition to having to address a possible hole at SF.  Josh Harrellson played well for a stretch in December, but has disappeared after an injury; he likely won't be back next year as the Pistons hold an option on his contract.  Let's take a look at the free agent options to fill the potential holes in the Pistons' frontcourt for next season...

Click "Read More" for the free agent frontcourt players the Pistons might be interested in...

LUOL DENG - SF - CHICAGO BULLS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 4 years, $52-56M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 30%

Deng would be a huge upgrade at SF over Josh Smith, despite his inability to shoot from the perimeter in recent years.  A career 33.1 3P% shooter, Deng would do little to alleviate the shooting issues the Pistons have.  However, his defense and supposed veteran leadership would make a him a welcomed addition.  If LeBron and Carmelo Anthony don't change teams this offseason, Deng is the top option at SF.

GORDON HAYWARD - SF - UTAH JAZZ - RESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 4 years, $52-60M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 15%

Hayward is rumored to be seeking a max contract, and it will be interesting to see if anybody is willing to offer him one.  A talented scorer on a terrible team, Hayward has really struggled from behind the arc this season.  He averages 16.1 PPG for the Jazz with a 52.2 TS%; his 31.7 3P% is well below his career mark of 37.1%.  There's no reason to believe that Hayward's touch won't bounce back next season.  If it does, Hayward may find himself as a 20 PPG scorer.  Utah has plenty of cap space, so they might match any offer he signs.

DANNY GRANGER - SF - LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 2 years, $8-12M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 25%

Granger has struggled to return to his old ways this season, but he still may have some use in the right role.  Once a staple of the Pacers' rotation, Granger suffered a serious knee injury in the 2013 season.  He could carve out a role on the Pistons as a shooter (38.1 3P%, career) and defender.  Granger would be a high risk, high reward option.

TREVOR ARIZA - SF - WASHINGTON WIZARDS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $24-27M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 40%

Ariza is the definition of a "Three-and-D" player, as his shooting and defensive acumen have played a large role in the Wizards' strong play this season.  Ariza is shooting 41.8% from deep this season, easily a career high, so there may be some contract year worries about his play.  However, even if he doesn't shoot, his defense will travel and would be an asset.  In terms of cost-efficient options, Ariza may be the best option on the wing in free agency.

C.J. MILES - SF - CLEVELAND CAVALIERS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $10-14M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 20%

Miles is quietly a very productive player for the Cavaliers.  His shooting (38.4, 39.3 3P% last two seasons) and length are good assets, although he's probably not a starting quality option.  Miles would give the Pistons everything they thought they were getting in Luigi Datome this season.  Due to some replication between his game and Singler's, Miles may not be a primary target.

DEJUAN BLAIR - PF - DALLAS MAVERICKS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 2 years, $2.5-5M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 40%

Blair has had himself a nice year with the Mavericks when he's had a chance to see the court.  Only playing 15 minutes per game, Blair is posting a 16.9 PER on the back of solid rebounding (17.2 TRB%) and decent scoring (53.9 2P%).  There's nothing spectacular about Blair's game, but he's a productive role player.

ANDRAY BLATCHE - PF - BROOKLYN NETS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $16-20M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 40%

Blatche has re-proven himself in Brooklyn, managing to find his scoring touch again.  Blatche's per-36 numbers of 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds make him look like a starter, but he's proven he can't handle that much responsibility.  If nobody tries to overpay him this offseason, Blatche would make for a good first big off the bench in Detroit.  His size allows him to play C if needed, and his scoring ability makes him an easy fit at PF.  Would be my top choice for a backup big man if he doesn't get overpaid.

JOSH MCROBERTS - PF - CHARLOTTE BOBCATS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $10-12M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 30%

McRoberts has been a great fit in Charlotte this season playing alongside Al Jefferson.  His passing ability (21.4 Ast%) has been shown off playing with Al Jefferson on the low block.  McRoberts isn't a great rebounder or scorer, but his versatility makes him an attractive option.  Along with his passing skill, McRoberts has also developed into a bit of a stretch four this season, shooting 36.6% from three.  Not sure if that last bit is sustainable, as more than half of his three point attempts in his career have came this season.

ED DAVIS - PF - MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES - RESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $18-20M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 25%

It's hard to say what Memphis would be willing to match for Davis.  On one hand, he was one of the main pieces that Toronto got for Rudy Gay.  On the other hand, the Grizzlies' coaching staff and front office seem to prefer Jon Leuer.  If Davis is available, he almost makes for the perfect third big.  Davis is a reliable scorer (55.1 TS%), capable rebounder (15.9 TRB%) and lengthy defender (7'0 wingspan), despite not being fantastic in any one facet.  

JORDAN HILL - F/C - LOS ANGELES LAKERS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $15-18M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 40%

Hill has been a fairly similar player to Davis over the course of his career, but has broken out this season on the Lakers' wasteland of a roster.  His 57.9 TS% is a career high, and he has maintained his solid rebounding (19.2 TRB%).  His offense is non-existent outside of the paint, which doesn't make him an ideal fit to play with Drummond or Monroe/Smith.

PATRICK PATTERSON - PF - TORONTO RAPTORS - RESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 2 years, $8-10M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 30%

Patterson would be a good, cost-effective addition to a team that needs shooting at every position.  Patterson is a career 36.7 3P% shooter, which would rank him 2nd among Pistons' shooters with more than 60 attempts.  Not a good offensive rebounder, and average on the defensive end.  Strong play since being traded to Toronto suggests they'll likely match any reasonable offer he gets.

GREG SMITH - F/C - HOUSTON ROCKETS - RESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 2 years, $4-6M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 40%

Smith has been buried on the depth chart in Houston this year with the signing of Dwight Howard and the emergence of Terrence Jones.  He doesn't really fit at PF in the Rockets' offense, and he won't see time at C as long as Asik is still there.  Unless some space is cleared, it's hard to see Houston matching an offer.  Smith is an efficient scorer (63.5 TS%, career), but not a strong rebounder for his size (16.3 TRB%).

CHANNING FRYE - F/C - PHOENIX SUNS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 3 years, $10-12M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 40%

Frye is another big who would help the Pistons stretch the floor off of the interior.  A career 38.5 3P% shooter, with a high-water mark of 43.9%.  He doesn't really do much else well, but he's not a major liability on the defensive glass.  If you're going to give a few million per year to a one-dimensional player, he would be a good one to have on this Pistons team.

EMEKA OKAFOR - C - PHOENIX SUNS - UNRESTRICTED
Possible Contract: 2 years, $4-8M
Chances he'll be a Piston: 30%

Okafor might be forced to take a small, short term deal this offseason in order to prove that he's healthy.  Okafor has missed the whole 2013-14 season with a neck injury, but is expected to play in the '14-15 campaign.  When healthy, Okafor is a great rebounder on the defensive end of the floor, an average scorer and a respectable shot blocker.  Would possibly be a positive influence on Andre Drummond's defensive game.

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