Saturday, May 9, 2015

2015 Free Agent Rankings

With the off-season underway for the Pistons after missing the playoffs, it's time to focus on what the front office can do to improve the roster.  With starters needed for at least two positions this summer (SF & PF), and with hopes of improving the depth throughout the roster, free agency will be as big of a key to the offseason as ever.  Throughout the last decade since the Pistons won a title, we've learned about the importance of fit when signing free agents.  Stan Van Gundy's front office seems to understand this much better than the previous regime, so let's take a look at what else is important, and how this year's crop may meet the Pistons' needs.


A lot goes into finding the right free agents to add to your team during the summer.  I think the crucial components of a successful free agent signing can be broken down using the following principles, explained in order of importance:

The Josh Smith Principle: This is all about how the right (or wrong) fit can make or break any free agent signing, especially the marquee ones.  In my eyes, this is by far the most important element.  Josh Smith, as evidenced by his time in Atlanta and his playoff success this year with Houston, is a talented player.  There has always been a segment of fans who have asserted that Smith can definitely play the SF position.  That theory got put to the test in Detroit, and was almost immediately blown into little, tiny pieces.  There weren't adequate minutes available at Smith's natural PF position due to the presence of Greg Monroe, forcing Smith to play a position that didn't fit his natural abilities.  His inability to shoot the ball, or even take smart shots, and stay focused as a perimeter defender made him an extremely poor fit.

When it comes to this year's free agency period for the Pistons, there are a few important notes about player selection and fit.  This team doesn't need any type of PG or PG-like substance.  Reggie Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Spencer Dinwiddie will eat all of the minutes there in 2015-16, barring injuries or the unexpected occurring.  Although there is room for a third SG, it would almost have to be someone who can play multiple positions as insurance at either the PG or SF positions.  That or they have to be a dead-eye shooter who would be a great fit in the  offense, and insurance in case Jodie Meeks struggles or a deal too good to pass up comes along for KCP.

The SF position is in terrible shape going into this off-season.  The team should acquire at least two SFs this season between the draft, free agency or trades.  While it would be great to find a "Three-and-D" guy to plug into the starting lineup, a guy who merely provides one of those qualities at an above-average level would be an upgrade.  Getting one guy who does each thing well to form a sort of platoon, offense/defense combo wouldn't be a bad move, especially if the Pistons miss out on the elite SFs in the draft class.

Anthony Tolliver turned out to be a solid in-season pickup, providing great energy and floor spacing at the PF position.  While he performed above expectations, the team could still use a starter or some kind of stop-gap at the position.  It's going to be tough to fill that need if the Pistons pick 8th.  It also could be tough to find a starting-caliber PF in free agency without overpaying.  There are premier options at the position, such as Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge, who don't figure to be interested in Detroit.  Draymond Green is a great fit, but as a restricted free agent, likely won't get away from Golden State.  That leaves 30-year old Paul Millsap and a bunch of also-rans.  The most important thing here is, find someone who can stretch the floor, and don't be afraid to go into the season with Anthony Tolliver as the starter and Quincy Miller and a value free agent signee as the backups.  We learned from Smith (and Monroe), that spacing from the PF position is of high importance in Stan Van Gundy's offense.  Panicking and signing a poor fit would be way worse than doing nothing at all.

Andre Drummond is the only C on the roster going into next season.  With Greg Monroe likely to bolt in free agency and Joel Anthony an unrestricted free agent, the team needs two players at the position.  They will likely need a quality backup and an insurance guy for depth's sake.  Anthony was the team's insurance guy this year and ended up playing in nearly 50 games.  Anthony, who is a candidate to return next season, had a style that seemed to work well behind Drummond.  The team should designate one of the backup C spots for a defensive-minded, rim protecting big in order to replicate what Anthony gave the Pistons, preferably with a younger player.

The Andre Drummond Principle: Although it would be great to see the Pistons break their six season playoff drought as soon as possible, the real goal for Stan Van Gundy is to build a championship contender.  In the NBA, you do that around a franchise cornerstone, which Detroit has in 21-year old Andre Drummond.  Any reasonable chance at being a contender is at least three years away if the chips all fall the right way.  That means the franchise should mostly go after players who are, or will be, in their prime by the end of their contract two to four years from now.  Any player who's older than 30 or 31 would have to offer something else in a major way to make sense.  Finding players at or around the same age as the team's core of Drummond (21), KCP (22) and Reggie Jackson (25) makes the most sense.

The DeMarre Carroll Principle: DeMarre Carroll turned out to be a great signing for the Atlanta Hawks in the summer of 2013.  Coming off of a mediocre season with the Jazz in which he only played 1,100 minutes, Carroll signed a two year, $5M deal with Atlanta.  He went on to become the team's starting SF and an integral part of the Eastern Conference's best team this season.  Carroll's defense and three-point shooting are going to see him get a major raise this off-season, with average salaries in the range of $7-9M per season, or more.  While that may be fair value for Carroll, he won't be the excellent value that he is now.  This principle is all about finding the next DeMarre Carroll instead of going after Carroll himself, or whoever the trendy "value" free agents are.  Carroll's already been a value guy, now he's going to get paid.  The Pistons need to find the guy who's going to be in Carroll's position three years from now.

The Lance Stephenson Principle: This could also be known as "The Contract Year Principle", as it's about being leery of guys who outperformed expectations in the last year of their contract.  Charlie Villanueva was also considered as the namesake for this concept.  Stephenson parlayed an excellent 2013-14 season into a profitable contract with the Charlotte Hornets.  While you can't exactly fault the Hornets for being interested, they have massive buyer's remorse after Stephenson flamed out immediately, ending the season buried on the bench and in Steve Clifford's doghouse.  This concept has to be a bit flexible though.  Jimmy Butler could be described as a contract year guy, but his performance has been so thorough that you're willing to look the other way.  You don't necessarily rule out guys coming off of a huge contract year, but you just have to be more careful about them.

The Derrick Coleman Principle: According to, Derrick Coleman holds the record for the NBA player with the most career arrests.  Coleman was arrested an astounding SEVEN times during his 15 year NBA career.  This principle is simple: if a guy has a history of being a jackass, you don't want him around a generally young roster.  I tended to knock a guy down a few slots in the rankings for offenses, with bigger drops for more serious stuff (assault, hardcore drug possession, domestic abuse, etc.).  Aside from Ben Wallace and Greg Monroe DUIs and a mysterious Charlie Villanueva domestic assault case, the organization has steered clear of off-court problems.  It would be great to keep it that way.

I didn't rank a single PG because the team doesn't need one.  I left off most SGs unless I think they would fit as the third SG on the roster or they can play SF or PG.  Some guys were left off because they're locks to return to their current team.  Check the bottom of the page for a list of guys I left unranked and why.    All SFs and PFs are ranked, with the exception of a few unrealistic options.  Only Cs who would be willing to take on a backup role are ranked.  My list was built using the ESPN free agency list; I found a few errors (guys who aren't FAs, etc.) and corrected them.  It's possible there are more; if you find one, please list the correction in the comments.  Listed ages are what the player will be at the start of the 2015-16 season.  With all of that out of the way, let's get to it:


#1 - Jimmy Butler - SF, Chicago - Restricted - 26 - Agreed to 5y, $95M deal with Chicago
As a restricted free agent, it's extremely unlikely that the Bulls won't match any offer for Butler.  That being said, Butler is such a good fit for what the Pistons need that it would make sense to at least test Chicago by extending a max offer to the young wing.  His ability to control a game at both ends of the floor passes the fit test.  He's a year or two older than the core, but would only be 30 by the end of his deal, still within his prime.  He's not exactly a value find, but with a rising cap, it's hard to see him not living up to a max contract.  He is in a contract year, but he's dominated so thoroughly this season that it doesn't feel like a fluke.  As far as I know, Butler has never had any off-court issues.  This would be the dream scenario, but it's not going to happen.

#2 - Kevin Love - PF, Cleveland - Unrestricted - 27 - Agreed to 5y, $110M deal with Cleveland
Before being traded to Cleveland, Love appeared to be a lock to garner a max contract in the city of his choosing.  With a major dip in usage, Love's perception has taken a hit as he took a back seat to LeBron and Kyrie Irving to facilitate Cleveland's title push.  He's still likely to get a max offer, but after this year he may be more conscious of his fit in a team's plans.  He probably wouldn't be interested in Detroit, but as is the case with Butler, it's okay to dream.  It's hard to find a PF who fits better next to Drummond in Stan Van Gundy's offense.  Love's a bit older than the core, but he makes the Pistons an instant top-five team in the Eastern Conference.  Again, this won't happen, but if he were to be interested in Detroit, they would certainly reciprocate.

#3 - Danny Green - SF, San Antonio - Unrestricted - 28 - Agreed to 4y, $45M deal with San Antonio
Green's been one of my least favorite players over the last few seasons, because he's a Spur and he always seems to hit the timely three that puts San Antonio over the top.  But he's exactly the kind of player that the Pistons need on the wing.  He doesn't need the ball to thrive, he's a fantastic outside shooter and he can guard both perimeter positions.  Adding a player with his pedigree also couldn't hurt.  He's not the ideal age, but as part of a good free agency class, he would help put the Pistons into contention for a top-five spot in the Eastern Conference within the first two years of his deal.  There's absolutely zero worry about Green simply being a contract year guy; he's shot above 40% from three in each of the last four seasons.  He gets bonus points for not requiring a max contract, although Detroit would have to make a relative overpay to get him out of the comforts of San Antonio's system.

#4 - Draymond Green - F, Golden State - Restricted - 25 - Agreed to 5y, $82M deal with Golden State
There isn't a free agent in this class who fits the Pistons' needs better than Draymond Green.  He can be the stretch four next to Drummond on offense and, unlike Love, would be the perfect addition to the Detroit defense.  Green's versatility allows him to play both forward positions, as well as the center spot, depending on the matchup.  Green is around the age of the Pistons' core, making him an excellent fit in that regard as well.  Hailing from Flint and MSU, Green has also expressed an interest in the Motor City.  Although the DPOY runner-up will remain elite defensively, questions about his offensive game make me leery of giving him a max contract.  This season is his only with a TS% above 50, and he gets easier looks than most thanks to playing alongside of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.  Green is a great fit, but if his offense doesn't expand, a max deal may not be palatable long-term.  Also, the Warriors have expressed that they plan to match all offers for the versatile stopper.  If it weren't for the offensive concerns possibly devaluing a max deal, Green would be at the top of my list.

#5 - Khris Middleton - SF, Milwaukee - Restricted - 24 - Agreed to 5y, $70M deal with Milwaukee
This one hurts, because he should be the Pistons' restricted free agent.  Middleton was dealt to Milwaukee with Brandon Knight for Brandon Jennings two summers ago.  He's since turned into a guy who is on the upswing, set to see a big payday as a restricted free agent.  Middleton has shot 41.4% and 40.7% from three in his two seasons with the Bucks, and has turned into a valuable defensive piece as well.  From a fit standpoint, he's as good of an option as any of the guys ranked above him.  His age also makes him likely to be reaching his prime when the team is ready to contend.  The downside here is, Middleton is a trendy name and it may take an overpay to get him.  While he's got good value on the offensive side of the floor, he's not a guy you can run the offense through and he doesn't get to the free throw line often.  He's a guy who is an excellent role player who may get paid like a star this summer.  Milwaukee may not have room for Middleton unless they move him to SG, as Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo hold down the forward spots.

#6 - Paul Millsap - PF, Atlanta - Unrestricted - 30 - Agreed to 3y, $58M deal with Atlanta
Millsap was another "bargain bin" find for the Hawks, as he blossomed into an excellent second option in the Atlanta offense.  His outside shooting (36% from three each of last two seasons) and ability to facilitate the offense as a passer make him an excellent fit in Detroit's offense.  The contract year concerns aren't there, but there may be a year or two where his outside shooting betrays him.  He's much older than what the Pistons should be targeting, and due to his success he may get more than he's worth compared to similar free agents.  While Millsap would be a good fit, he wouldn't necessarily put the Pistons over the top.  Signing Millsap would make more sense if they could add him and a SF who, together, help make the team an instant Eastern Conference contender.  Otherwise, he doesn't fit in the team's long-term plans.

#7 - Wesley Matthews - SF, Portland - Unrestricted - 29
Matthews' value will be a bit decreased this offseason after tearing his left Achilles tendon in early March.  Matthews had successful surgery to repair the tendon and is expected to resume basketball activities around September or October.  I have Matthews ranked here based on the assumption he makes a full recovery, which isn't a given.  His excellent three point shooting and defense make him a great fit, although he is a bit undersized for the SF spot.  Matthews is older than the core, which makes him a bit of an awkward long-term fit.  The Pistons should be interested in Matthews, but cautious not to overpay.

#8 - LaMarcus Aldridge - PF, Portland - Unrestricted - 30
Aldridge fits much in the same way that Millsap does, except he stretches the floor to 20 feet instead of the three point line.  The benefit to signing LMA would be that you know what you're getting.  Aldridge hasn't had a PER below 20 since the 2009-10 season and has produced at least 21 PPG in each season during that span.  He would be an excellent pick-and-pop option to pair with Drummond-Jackson pick-and-rolls, adding a new dynamic to the offense.  On the downside, he's already 30 and is a lock to get a max contract, which is why he sits below Millsap.  He instantly turns the Pistons into a playoff team, but it's hard to envision a contender built around Aldridge and Drummond.  Plus, it's unlikely he has an interest in signing with Detroit, if he even decides to leave Portland.

#9 - Brandan Wright - F/C, Phoenix - Unrestricted - 28 - Agreed to 3y, $18M deal with Memphis
Wright would fill the Pistons' need for frontcourt depth excellently, as he is one of the top bench bigs in the game.  Although his offensive game certainly doesn't fit the stretch four category, Wright could also give the team minutes at PF if need be.  Wright is a great finisher at the rim, making him a good candidate for a PnR screener on the second unit.  He's also a solid defensive presence thanks to good size and great length.  Wright is a little older than the ideal age to combine with the core, but he should produce at or above his contract.  It should also be considered that Dallas never truly replaced him after the Rondo trade.

#10 - Al-Farouq Aminu - SF, Dallas - Player Option - 25 - Agreed to 4y, $30M deal with Portland
Aminu is a lock to decline his $1.1M player option and enter unrestricted free agency this summer.  Although he isn't a flashy presence and may not ever turn into a starter, I think he would be a great value addition this summer.  Aminu is regarded for his defense and hustle, which is something every team needs at the SF position.  With good size, Aminu can also play small-ball PF.  His weak outside shooting makes him a bit of a strange fit, but if the Pistons' second unit is Jennings/Dinwiddie, Meeks, Aminu, Tolliver and [Insert C here], doesn't that lineup have enough shooting in it?  Aminu should come fairly cheap and he may very well be the next DeMarre Carroll.  He may never develop into that kind of shooter, but at 25 years old, there could still be development in that aspect.  Even if he signs for three times his player option, Aminu could outplay his contract.

#11 - Bismack Biyombo - C, Charlotte - Unrestricted - 23
Biyombo could give the Pistons almost everything Wright does, but at half the cost.  Biyombo looked lost in his first couple seasons in the league, but has rounded out nicely over the last two seasons.  He's a solid rebounder, and has rounded into an okay finisher with a knack for getting to the FT line.  His insane .941 Free Throw Rate easily ranks first among all players with even 100 minutes played.  He's also one of the league's best rim protectors, as his 4.1 blocks per 100 possessions trail only Hassan Whiteside, John Henson, Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis among players with over 1,000 minutes.  He's the perfect age to grow along with this core, and if he keeps developing he could be a strong trade chip by the end of his deal.

#12 - Tobias Harris - F, Orlando - Restricted - 23
Harris hits restricted free agency this summer after sharing minutes in Orlando's crowded frontcourt with Aaron Gordon, Channing Frye, Mo Harkless and Andrew Nicholson.  Although he can play both forward spots, the Pistons would likely be interested in him mostly as a SF.  Harris would be an interesting fit, as he wasn't even an average outside shooter until this season and has taken over 50% of his shots within 10 feet of the basket to this point in his career.  That has to be measured against the fact that Harris hit 36.4% of his threes this season.  Did he just have a big contract year or is he budding into a serviceable outside shooter?  From an age standpoint, he would fit in perfectly with the core.  I see him as a dangerous investment, as he's much less valuable if his outside shot isn't falling, although the organization is at a point where they can make a high-risk, high-reward investment.

#13 - Luol Deng - SF, Miami - Player Option - 30 - Exercised 2015-16 player option
Deng's age and potential cost make him unattractive, but everything else is favorable.  He's well-regarded as a positive force in the locker room, a solid defender and, at worst, an average outside shooter.  He has a long history of being a productive player, including two All-Star appearances, so there are zero contract year concerns.  If he were four years younger, he might be the perfect addition to this roster.  That being said, Deng's the kind of guy they should only sign if they have other upgrades already in hand.  It doesn't make sense to add him if they don't have a quality starting PF as well.

#14 - Arron Afflalo - SF, Portland - Player Option - 30 - Agreed to 2y, $16M deal with New York
Much like Deng, Afflalo would make more sense if he were a few years younger.  His defensive ability and outside shooting would play nicely at the SF position, even if he is a bit undersized. The player option he'll be looking to improve upon is near $8M, so he may not be a cost-effective option throughout his deal.  Similar to Deng, adding Afflalo doesn't make sense if they don't also sign a productive, starting-caliber PF.

#15 - Jae Crowder - SF, Boston - Restricted - 25 - Agreed to 5y, $35M deal with Boston
Crowder is a wing with a big body who's well-suited to guard the kind of perimeter players who the Pistons had no answer for this past season.  He's about the right age to fit in with the Pistons' core and should come relatively cheap if Boston isn't willing to match.  His outside shooting is iffy, but at only 25 he may still become useful in that department.  I don't think he fits The DeMarre Carroll Principle as well as Al-Farouq Aminu or Bismack Biyombo, but he's an easy third.

#16 - DeMarre Carroll - SF, Atlanta - Unrestricted - 29 - Agreed to 4y, $60M deal with Toronto
The namesake of the principle used to judge potential value signings is this far down on the list because he's about to cash in.  Carroll has provided great value for the Hawks at $2.5M per season, but somebody is probably going to take him close to $8M or more this summer.  He's a good player and fits the Pistons' needs, but there would be some serious opportunity cost here.  I would rather take the gamble on Aminu or Crowder at less than half the price and have more open to improve the team's depth.

#17 - Jeff Green - SF, Memphis - Unrestricted - 29 - Error: Free Agent next summer
Green is a volume scorer who wouldn't be a great fit for the Pistons' SF need even if he were younger.  He needs the ball in his hands to function, is a career 34% shooter from the perimeter and has never posted a PER above 15.0 in his seven NBA seasons.  Detroit could do worse than Jeff Green, but this is the kind of short-sighted move they need to avoid.

#18 - Derrick Williams - PF, Sacramento - Restricted - 24
Williams has been a major disappointment after being drafted directly behind Kyrie Irving in the 2011 NBA Draft.  That makes him a good fit under The Carroll Principle, as he's only 24 and still finding his game.  It also should be considered that he played the first four years of his career in Minnesota and Sacramento where he didn't have the tools necessary to grow at his disposal.  Signs of life were there this year in Sacramento, including a career-high 54.0 TS%, .404 FTr, and an above average 1.15 points per shot in the paint.  The Kings likely won't extend a nearly $9M qualifying offer, so he'll likely be unrestricted by the summer.  He would be a good investment on a three year deal at relatively low cost ($4M annually?), and could develop into a threes-and-dunks guy if he can shoot a little better.  His age fits nicely with the core if he can develop along with them.

#19 - Paul Pierce - SF, Washington - Player Option - 38 - Agreed to 3y, $10M deal with LA Clippers
Even though he's closing in on 40, there's no doubt that Pierce can outdo his $5.5M player option this summer if he wants to.  Guys in his situation are generally chasing spots on title contenders, but if he signed with the Wizards he could listen to other offers.  He's got enough game left to start and offers a skill the Pistons desperately need at the SF position: shooting.  He would be easily in the top ten of this list if he were a player of his production but six to eight years younger.  This one's not happening, but he would be an okay fit despite his age.

#20 - Amir Johnson - PF, Toronto - Unrestricted - 28 - Agreed to 2y, $24M deal with Boston
The third (Afflalo, Middleton) former Piston on the list would be an affordable stopgap starting PF.  He's added a three point shot to his game in the last two seasons, shooting 39-112 (34.8%) over that span.  Almost everything else he takes is at the rim, making him an efficient 4th or 5th option in any offense.  He's a little older than the core, but can work off the bench or as a starter.  He made $7M in 2014-15 and will likely match that or see a small raise this summer.

#21 - K.J. McDaniels - SF, Houston - Restricted - 22
McDaniels would be a bit of a gamble, as he hasn't shown much offensive promise.  On the other hand, he's young and has huge defensive upside.  I profiled McDaniels before the 2014 NBA Draft if you want the full read on him.  The short is, he'd likely come cheap, is the right age to grow with the core and could turn into a good role player at the very least.

#22 - Kyle O'Quinn - F/C, Orlando - Restricted - 25
O'Quinn added an interesting wrinkle to his game this season, attempting 43 three-pointers as the Magic searched for spacing this season.  He only made 12 (27.9%), but if he can get that up in the 32-35% range, he would be an extremely intriguing bench big at both frontcourt positions.  He fits The  Drummond Principle and would come at a low cost, but there's a chance he never develops an offensive identity.  He boasts 3.0 blocks per 100 possessions to this point in his career, showing he can protect the rim.

#23 - Thad Young - PF, Brooklyn - Early Termination - 27 - Agreed to 4y, $50M deal with Brooklyn
He's about as young as a guy can be when he's entering his 9th NBA season, making him a better fit by The Drummond Principle than some options ahead of him on the list.  However, he isn't a great fit due to spotty outside shooting and the fact that he doesn't get to the FT line often.  That adds up to Young generally sporting a poor TS% (53.5 career TS%).  By all accounts he's a great guy and would be a welcomed addition to the locker room, but if he's going to be looking to top his $10M ETO, it wouldn't be a cost-effective move.

#24 - Luke Babbitt - SF, New Orleans - Unrestricted - 26
This isn't a normal CONTRACT YEAR ALERT because it's low-usage Luke Babbitt, but CONTRACT YEAR ALERT.  Babbitt shot 51.3% from three on 115 attempts (.599 3PAr) during the 2014-15 season, well above his career average of 40.3%.  His shooting would be nice to have off of the bench and should still come at a fairly low cost.  His age and playing style are both good fits.

#25 - Jared Dudley - SF, Milwaukee - Early Termination - 30 - Didn't exercise ETO, remained with Milwaukee
Dudley hasn't had a season below 36% from three since his rookie year with Charlotte in 2007-08.  That alone makes him a good fit with what the Pistons are trying to do.  He'll be looking to exceed his $4.3M player option this offseason, so he definitely won't come at a low cost.  He's older than the ideal age, but it would be better to have the 30 year old Dudley than, say, a 34 year old Caron Butler.

#26 - Alexis Ajinca - C, New Orleans - Unrestricted - 27 - Agreed to 4y, $20M deal with New Orleans
Ajinca was out of the league for two years before coming back as a valuable piece off the bench for the Pelicans.  He blocked 2.8 shots per 100 possessions, posted a solid 18.7 TRB% and managed an efficient 59.5 TS%.  He's been playing for the veteran's minimum and should be available to the highest bidder, wherever that leads.  At the right price, he'd be an excellent backup to Andre Drummond.  Ajinca is a solid roll man in the PnR, ranking 13th at 1.08 points per PnR possession, making him a good fit for Detroit's offense.

#27 - Jonas Jerebko - PF, Boston - Unrestricted - 28 - Agreed to 2y, $10M deal with Boston
Jerebko had some trouble finding consistent minutes last year, both before and after Josh Smith was waived.  That makes it doubtful that he'd be interested in coming back.  However, if Greg Monroe were to go elsewhere, he could split minutes with Tolliver.  It wouldn't be the ideal solution at the position and Jerebko isn't going to be interested, but his game is still a nice fit and would come at a relatively low cost.

#28 - Dorell Wright - SF, Portland - Unrestricted - 29
Wright is a shooter and little more, which is something this team is in the market for after trading away Kyle Singler, who would have been a free agent anyways.  You're in trouble if Wright is starting, but he can be an asset off the bench.  He's older than the core, which isn't desirable, but he should be relatively cheap, making him a low-risk target.

#29 - Kyle Singler - SF, Oklahoma City - Restricted - 27 - Agreed to 5y, $25M deal with OKC
Singler gave the Pistons a few good years before being traded away in the Reggie Jackson deal.  He's not fit for a starting role, but his shooting would be great to have off the bench.  His age fits in nicely and he would be a low cost option.  It's hard to see OKC letting him get away though, as they could also use his shooting off the bench.

#30 - Jerome Jordan - C, Brooklyn - Restricted - 29
Jordan had a solid season in limited minutes, as he had to battle for C minutes with Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee.  In a low-usage role, Jordan posted a 60.9 TS%, a 15.4 TRB% and 2.0 blocks per 100 possessions.  He's not a world-beater, but would give the team a big body off the bench to provide some relief for Andre Drummond.  He should come cheap and could outplay his contract.

#31 - David West - PF, Indiana - Unrestricted - 35
West is clearly more talented and productive than most of the players ahead of him, but gets docked for his age and potential cost.  He doesn't stretch the floor out to the three point line, but could give the offense spacing out to 20 feet, as he's one of the best mid-range shooters in the game.  He would be an interesting option should the Pistons choose to simply find a stopgap starting PF.

#32 - Mirza Teletovic - PF, Brooklyn - Restricted - 30
Teletovic missed a big chunk of the regular season after being diagnosed with blood clots on his lungs.  That and his age are the two biggest factors against him, as his game is an excellent fit in SVG's offense and he would come cheap.

#33 - Omri Casspi - F, Sacramento - Unrestricted - 27
Casspi has been quietly solid over the last two seasons for Houston and Sacramento.  He's got enough perimeter skill to play SF and enough size to make for a good small-ball PF.  You don't want him as a starter, but he could have good value off the bench.

#34 - Michael Beasley - F, Miami - Unrestricted - 26
Beasley is a well-documented moron, but his game would fit the Pistons' needs fairly well.  He would have to play PF in the Pistons' offense, although he could earn minutes at SF as well.  He's still young despite having played in seven seasons with three different teams, making him a good fit with the core.  His off-court issues keep him from being ranked higher.  He's going to have a good season sooner or later if he can figure out how to work.  This could either be a good value pickup or a signing that goes horribly wrong.  I like to gamble on players like this who clearly have a lot of natural talent.

#35 - John Jenkins - SG, Atlanta - Unrestricted - 24
Jenkins is one of only two SGs on this list, and is the exact type of player the Pistons should be looking for to fill the 3rd SG slot on the roster.  He's young, is a knockdown shooter, and if you give him a three or four year deal, he may be able to step right in when Jodie Meeks' contract expires.

#36 - Greg Smith - C, Dallas - Unrestricted - 24
Smith's got a different style of play than the other backup Cs I have ranked ahead of him.  He's a below-the-rim, big bodied space-eater.  He's been an efficient low-usage scorer in his previous roles with Dallas and Houston.  Not a great shot blocker and an average rebounder.  Should be a serviceable backup if he can stay healthy.

#37 - Glenn Robinson III - SF, Philadelphia - Restricted - 21
The way I see it, among your 15 roster spots you want 12 guys who can play and 3 guys with a high ceiling who you're trying to develop.  They have Quincy Miller for one of those three spots right now and would be wise to seek out guys like GR3 to fill the other two.  If he ever adds some perimeter skill to his elite athleticism, he'll be nothing short of a high-quality bench player, if not a reliable starter.  This is a buy-low option, but also depends on the Sixers not matching an offer.

#38 - Gerald Green - SF, Phoenix - Unrestricted - 29
Green is the odd man out in Phoenix's wing rotation, as his lack of defensive effort drew the ire of head coach Jeff Hornacek.  Offensively, he would give the Pistons what they need at the SF spot.  He's a good outside shooter and his athleticism lets him play above the rim.  He's still in his prime, but won't be by the end of a three or four year deal, so he doesn't quite fit the age requirements.

#39 - Mike Dunleavy - SF, Chicago - Unrestricted - 35 - Agreed to 3y, $15M deal with Chicago
It's hard to think of a reason why Dunleavy would be interested in the Pistons, but if he were, he would be a great fit due to his fantastic outside shooting.  He's older than the ideal candidate, but that can be overlooked.

#40 - Brandon Bass - PF, Boston - Unrestricted - 30
Bass would be another interesting stopgap option as a potential starting PF.  Much like David West, Bass is an excellent mid-range shooter.  So although he isn't a typical stretch four, he could give the offense some spacing to function with.  Also in his corner, he would come relatively cheap.

#41 - Amar'e Stoudemire - F/C, Dallas, - Unrestricted - 32
Stoudemire wasn't worth anything close to the large contract he signed with the Knicks in 2010.  That's led to some misunderstanding of what Stoudemire's value is in the league.  He's still an efficient scorer and an okay rebounder, he just does so at a lower usage level.  That makes him a good fit as a bench big.  He probably won't have any interest in Detroit, but the Pistons could do worse finding a backup PF/C.

#42 - Joe Ingles - SF, Utah - Restricted - 28
Ingles had an interesting first NBA season after coming over from Europe.  He started 32 games for Utah at the SF position, where he provided steady outside shooting (35.6 3P%) and some playmaking (16.8 AST%).  He won't necessarily come dirt cheap because you have to give Utah a reason not to match any offer.  Still, he should come at a relatively affordable price.

#43 - Cole Aldrich - C, New York - Unrestricted - 27
Aldrich played some really solid basketball on a really bad team last season.  Among the things that should make the Pistons interested in adding him as their backup C: 3.5 blocks per 100 possessions.

#44 - Alan Anderson - SF, Brooklyn - Unrestricted - 33
Anderson does a little bit of everything.  He's an okay outside shooter and is regarded as a decent defender.  If the Pistons were in more of a hurry to compete, he might fit better.

#45 - Wesley Johnson - SF, LA Lakers - Unrestricted - 28
Johnson has been a huge bust after being the 4th pick in the 2010 draft.  He had a couple mediocre years in Los Angeles that saw him become a slightly improved outside shooter.  You don't want to start Johnson, but if he's a low-usage backup, you could do worse with the small salary he's going to command.

#46 - Jeff Withey - C, New Orleans - Restricted - 25
Withey has only played 943 minutes across two seasons, but there are some signs that he could thrive in a limited role off the bench.  Across those 900+ minutes, he blocks close to 4.0 shots per 100 possessions and had gotten to the FT line religiously.  It's a small sample size, but Withey should come for the minimum, or close to it.

#47 - Robbie Hummel - F, Minnesota - Restricted - 26
Hummel's career has been significantly altered by injuries.  When he has been healthy, he hasn't been overly productive.

#48 - Kevin Seraphin - PF, Washington - Unrestricted - 25
Seraphin's okay, but he's more of a 3rd PF than a true backup.  The Pistons already have that in Quincy Miller, a player with more upside.

#49 - Pero Antic - C, Atlanta - Restricted - 32 - Signed 2y deal with Fenerbahce (Turkey)
Antic stretches the floor a little bit from the C position, and would give the Pistons some much needed physicality and toughness.  On the other hand, he's not very good and older than the type of player Detroit needs to target.

#50 - Danny Granger - SF, Miami - Unrestricted - 32 - ESPN error: Not a free agent, traded to Detroit
Granger's pretty well washed up at this point.  If you want an idea of what he might bring to the Pistons, see 2014-15 Caron Butler.

#51 - Luis Scola - PF, Indiana - Unrestricted - 35

#52 - Aron Baynes - C, San Antonio - Restricted - 28 - Agreed to a 3y, $20M deal with Detroit

#53 - Tyler Hansbrough - PF, Toronto - Unrestricted - 29

#54 - Lavoy Allen - C, Indiana - Unrestricted - 26

#55 - Alonzo Gee - SF, Portland - Unrestricted - 28

#56 - Landry Fields - SF, Toronto - Unrestricted - 27

#57 - Jeff Ayres - C, San Antonio - Unrestricted - 28

#58 - Ognjen Kuzmic - C, Golden State - Restricted - 25

#59 - Henry Sims - C, Philadelphia - Restricted - 25

#60 - Shayne Whittington - PF, Indiana - Restricted - 24

#61 - Drew Gooden - C, Washington - Unrestricted - 34

#62 - Joel Freeland - C, Portland - Restricted - 28

#63 - Jeremy Evans - PF, Utah - Unrestricted - 28

#64 - Ekpe Udoh - C, LA Clippers - Unrestricted - 28

#65 - Justin Hamilton - C, Minnesota - Restricted - 25

#66 - James Jones - SF, Cleveland - Unrestricted - 35

#67 - Mike Miller - SF, Cleveland - Player Option - 35 - Exercised Player Option with Cleveland

#68 - Jason Smith - C, New York - Unrestricted - 29

#69 - Darrell Arthur - PF, Denver - Unrestricted - 28

#70 - L.R. Mbah a Moute - PF, Philadelphia - Unrestricted - 29

#71 - Glen Davis - PF, LA Clippers - Unrestricted - 29

#72 - Chris Copeland - F, Indiana - Unrestricted - 30

#73 - Richard Jefferson - SF, Dallas - Unrestricted - 35

#74 - Jeff Taylor- SF, Charlotte - Unrestricted - 26

#75 - Hedo Turkoglu - F, LA Clippers - Unrestricted - 36

#76 - Ryan Hollins - C, Sacramento - Unrestricted - 31

#77 - Greg Stiemsma - C, Toronto - Unrestricted - 30

#78 - Lance Thomas - F, New York - Unrestricted - 27

#79 - Shawn Marion - F, Cleveland - Unrestricted - 37

#80 - Elton Brand - F/C, Atlanta - Unrestricted - 36

#81 - Rasual Butler - SF, Washington - Unrestricted - 35

#82 - Chuck Hayes - PF, Toronto - Unrestricted - 32

#83 - Jason Maxiell - PF, Charlotte - Unrestricted - 32

#84 - Jason Richardson - G/F, Philadelphia - Unrestricted - 34

#85 - Dahntay Jones - G/F, LA Clippers - Unrestricted - 34

#86 - Nazr Mohammed - C, Chicago - Unrestricted - 38


Tier One; Not happening: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan

Tier Two; Centers who won't be little-used backups: Brook Lopez, Al Jefferson, Marc Gasol, Timofey Mozgov, Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert, DeAndre Jordan, Jordan Hill, Kosta Koufos, Omer Asik, Enes Kanter, Robin Lopez, Marreese Speights

Tier Three; All Point Guards: Mo Williams, Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich, JJ Barea, Raymond Felton, Rajon Rondo, Patrick Beverley, Donald Sloan, CJ Watson, Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Price, Nick Calathes, Beno Udrih, Goran Dragic, Jorge Gutierrez, Norris Cole, Gary Neal, Jimmer Fredette, Alexey Shved, Shane Larkin, Ish Smith, Brandon Knight, Steve Blake, Andre Miller, Cory Joseph, Lou Williams, Ian Clark, Will Bynum, Garrett Temple, Matthew Dellavedova

Tier Four; Shooting Guards: Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Willie Green, Marcus Thornton, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Will Barton, Gerald Henderson, Justin Holiday, Leandro Barbosa, Wayne Ellington

Tier Five; Total Scrubs: Kendrick Perkins, Bernard James, Arinze Onuaku, Travis Wear, Matt Bonner, Brandon Rush

Tier Six; Just not a good fit: Quincy Acy, Lou Amundson, Andrea Bargnani, Reggie Evans, Ed Davis, Tristan Thompson, Corey Brewer, Thomas Robinson, Carlos Boozer

Tier Seven; Ex-Pistons who won't be reappearing: Luigi Datome, Josh Smith, Charlie Villanueva

No comments:

Post a Comment