Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trade Suggestion: Hollis Thompson

With the announcement of a fracture in his lower back that will cause Jodie Meeks to miss at least eight weeks, the Pistons all of a sudden find themselves with only one true SG on the roster.  An eight week recovery would put Meeks' return at some point in the early or middle part of December, and cause him to miss over 1/4 of the season.  This leaves the team without its most established outside shooter, and once again puts the Pistons in a position where they may need more offense on the perimeter.  While 2nd round draft pick and lone Pistons rookie Spencer Dinwiddie will likely be cleared to play by the season opener, and Kyle Singler and Cartier Martin can spotlight at SG, should the Pistons go out and acquire a SG?

While Singler and Martin may be enough to stem the tide, I think that it may not be a horrible option, considering that Dinwiddie is unproven and coming off of an injury, and the two veteran options both lack true SG skills.  With KCP likely to return from his minor knee injury by the start of the season, the Pistons won't need a starter.  What they could use is another bench wing who can stretch the floor, who won't throw off team chemistry when his minutes are slashed upon Meeks' return at a TBD date in December.  I propose that this bench wing should be sharp-shooting Philadelphia 76ers' G/F Hollis Thompson.  Here's how the Pistons could acquire Thompson from the Sixers:

                   Pistons receive: G/F Hollis Thompson
Sixers receive: PG Will Bynum, PF Tony Mitchell, Pistons 2016 2nd Rd. pick

In this deal, the Pistons solve two different problems:  First, they add depth to a wing rotation that has already seen its fair share of injuries in the preseason.  This trade also solves the problem of having one too many players on the roster.  By trading from areas of depth (PG and PF), the Pistons are able to trim the roster down to 15 players without cutting a player on a guaranteed contract.  While it may sting a bit to give up a player like Tony Mitchell, with so much raw physical talent, receiving the 23-year old Thompson in return isn't necessarily a bad trade-off.  A deal of Mitchell for Thompson straight up would likely be a push.  Not having to pay Will Bynum the $3.25M he's owed this year is added sweetener for the Pistons in this deal, which causes the Pistons to throw in a 2nd round pick.  Adding incentive for the Sixers, getting rid of Thompson would eliminate the only source of outside shooting on the roster, helping their tanking effort.

So, what would make Thompson a good addition to the Pistons roster?  First and foremost, he's a knockdown shooter and has been for his entire basketball career.  In his three years at Georgetown, Thompson shot 43.8%, 45.7% and 43.0% from behind the arc on almost 300 total attempts over those three seasons.  As a rookie with Philly, Thompson shot 40.1% from deep on 167 attempts.  Thompson served as a stretch four with the Hoyas, and at 6'8 with a 6'10 wingspan, he has the size and versatility to play the two, three and even the four in a small-ball lineup.  While this puts Thompson in the same boat as Singler and Martin (not a true SG), he's more athletic than those two, and the Sixers are planning on starting him at SG this season, which displays their confidence in his ability to play the position.

The other aspect of what would make Thompson a good pick-up is that he's cheap, both in terms of cost of acquisition and in terms of what he's due to be paid in the coming season and beyond.  As you can see above in the proposed deal (which I assume to be a reasonable asking price), the Pistons wouldn't have to give up anything that would upset the team's current makeup.  Thompson also comes with a very favorable contract, one which will pay him less than $1M this season and next, and includes a team option in the summer of 2016, at a reasonable rate of $1,015,696.  If Thompson flops between now and then (highly unlikely considering his track record as a shooter), they're out what they would have had to pay Mitchell in the next two seasons.

If he's a welcomed addition to the roster, he becomes a very cheap replacement for soon-to-be free agent Kyle Singler.  As an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015, Singler could possibly receive a deal comparable, or larger than, the one that G/F C.J. Miles signed with the Pacers this off-season.  Miles signed a 4-year, $18M deal with the Pacers over the summer, which comes out to $4.5M per season, or about $3.5M more than you'd have to pay Hollis Thompson in 2015-16.  While at this point in his career, Singler is a more productive player than Thompson, I'd argue that he's not worth an additional $3.5M any day of the week.  Giving Thompson more of an edge over Singler, as a shooter, he's much more diverse.  Singler did the majority of his damage from the corners, and struggled from the wings and top of the key.  Thompson was capable from every spot last season, save for below average shooting from the left corner.  Considering he's yet to have a down year shooting the ball, Thompson is a safer bet if you're just looking for a guy to stretch the floor.

Considering the Pistons' reported interest in trading for Chase Budinger, it's no secret that they may be seeking help on the wing.  When healthy, Budinger is the better player at this point, but he's way more expensive than Thompson and would cost just as much, or more, to acquire.  If I were Stan Van Gundy (I could never be, because I can't grow a good stache), I would be putting my chips on the low-cost option, seeing as the player he may trade for will only be a necessity for as long as Meeks is out.  Rolling the dice on Thompson is a safe bet, and even if the move does fail, the only asset that seems like it would hurt to give up is a 2nd round pick.


  1. Thanks for the interesting read Kevin. That's an appealing proposal.
    Side note: I'm hoping that the formerly active pistonpowered commentators migrate over here for the superior analysis and less cluttered website. So if you people are reading this, please start talking. Thanks

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. There's plenty of room on the internet for Dan's writing as well as mine and the content from Detroit Bad Boys on the SB Nation network. My goal is to provide unique analysis, so I'm hoping that readers find it valuable. Thanks for commenting, and I hope that you keep reading. For now, I'd encourage you to comment with a Google+ account, and at some point I may find a more community friendly commenting system. Again, thanks for reading!