Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 Free Agency Primer

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

Let's Wait and See

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

2015 Pre-Draft Thoughts

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...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Final 2015 Mock Draft

1 - Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl Towns - F/C - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'11, 250
There's been talk that Flip Saunders is enamored with Jahlil Okafor, but I'll believe that the Wolves have passed on Towns and his enormous upside when I see it.  Towns isn't the sure thing that Anthony Davis was coming out of Kentucky, but he's not that far off.  He has great size and athleticism for either post position, could develop range out to 20+ feet and has the physical tools to be an impact defender.  Pairing Towns with Wiggins is the start of what could be a dangerous team in three or four years, assuming Towns pans out.

2 - Los Angeles Lakers - Jahlil Okafor - C - Duke, Fr. - 6'11, 270
The Lakers would certainly be thrilled if Minnesota went with Okafor, as they are rumored to treasure Towns as well.  However, Okafor isn't a bad consolation prize and could give the Lakers a hub to run their offense through when Kobe Bryant retires.  Okafor's back-to-the-basket game may not be the best fit in today's pace-and-space league, but he has the tools to be a dominant post scorer.  There's been talk of the Lakers considering Kristaps Porzingis, but I don't buy it.

3 - Philadelphia 76ers - D'Angelo Russell - G - Ohio State, Fr. - 6'5, 195
Russell is a logical fit with the Sixers, especially after they dealt away Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline.  His outside shooting, size and playmaking should allow him to easily play both backcourt positions throughout his career.  That works well for Philly, because they don't have an established player at either guard spot outside of Tony Wroten, who may not be a long-term answer anyways.  Porzingis has also been rumored here, which is something I could buy.

4 - New York Knicks - Emmanuel Mudiay - G - USA, 1996 - 6'5, 200
The Knicks would probably rather have Russell, whose shooting fits the team's needs a little bit better.  Considering Mudiay may not be the best fit for the Triangle offense, this could be a surprise landing spot for Porzingis, or a pick that gets traded.  If the Knicks do stay put and don't go with Porzingis, it's going to be Mudiay.  His elite athleticism gives him a ceiling similar to that of Russell Westbrook, which would be too good to pass up at #4.

5 - Orlando Magic - Kristaps Porzingis - PF - Latvia, 1995 - 7'0, 220
The talk is that Porzingis certainly won't fall any further than this, and I'm inclined to believe it.  The Magic don't have a frontcourt player with Porzingis' upside, and if he hits his ceiling, Orlando will have a dynamic offensive pairing up front with Harris, Porzingis and Vucevic.  I don't necessarily buy into the hype on Porzingis, but it seems inevitable that he's off the board no later than this come Thursday night.

6 - Sacramento Kings - Cameron Payne - PG - Murray State, So. - 6'2, 185
If you're looking for the team most likely to make the first reach of the draft, why not go with the Kings?  Numerous sources have relayed that Sacramento is high on Payne, who worked out for the Kings last week.  He fractured a finger in a workout with Denver this weekend, but that's not the kind of injury that derails a guy's career or draft stock.  Among the Kings' other options, there's Mario Hezonja and Justise Winslow, two guys who would further crowd Sacramento's wing rotation and Willie Cauley-Stein, who seems like the other legitimate option here.  I wouldn't be shocked to see Sacramento go with Winslow or Hezonja, but I'll bite on the talk that they like Payne.

7 - Denver Nuggets - Mario Hezonja - G/F - Croatia, 1995 - 6'8, 200
The Nuggets are approaching a full rebuild with only one true long-term piece on the roster in C Jusuf Nurkic.  With the way things have fallen so far, it's most likely between Hezonja and Winslow here.  Since Denver is likely going to take the long path, they go with Hezonja who offers a higher upside. 

8 - Detroit Pistons - Justise Winslow - SF - Duke, Fr. - 6'7, 200
The Pistons should be pleased if either of Hezonja or Winslow falls into their laps at #8.  After his incredible run in the NCAA tournament it appeared that Winslow would surely be off the board by the time Detroit picked.  Instead, Winslow's stock has skittered a bit following some underwhelming Combine measurements and a few uninspiring workouts.  Pistons fans shouldn't be concerned with that though; if he's the guy he showed on the court for the majority of his freshman season, the Pistons could have their SF of the future and another member of their core.

9 - Charlotte Hornets - Devin Booker - SG - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'6, 200
There isn't a better fit in the draft than Booker with the Hornets.  Charlotte was one of the worst outside shooting teams in the league last season, and Booker is arguably the best shooters in this year's crop of prospects.  He may not have the upside of some of the other prospects in the lottery, but Booker seems like a safe bet to be a contributor.

10 - Miami Heat - Stanley Johnson - SF - Arizona, Fr. - 6'7, 245
Despite shooting 37% from three in his lone season with the Wildcats, Johnson's biggest question mark is going to be his ability to shoot from outside.  That's because he struggled throughout high school, only shot 29% in PAC12 play, and his form isn't the greatest.  There are also questions about whether or not he can score in traffic, despite his NBA-ready size and body.  One thing that isn't questioned is Johnson's ability to play quality defense.  He's a needed piece for Miami whether Luol Deng is back or not.  Johnson could come off the board as early as 8 to Detroit, but if he falls past Miami, he could slip to the back end of the lottery or further.

11 - Indiana Pacers - Willie Cauley-Stein - C - Kentucky, Jr. - 7'0, 240
The talk this summer has been that the Pacers are looking to move in a different direction as a whole, moving towards a faster pace of play.  That has meant pushing Roy Hibbert to opt out, suggesting that he will see a reduced role.  Cauley-Stein would fit the desire to play faster, while still providing the defensive upside that Frank Vogel covets.  WCS could be off the board as early as #5 to Orlando or #6 to Sacramento, but if he gets past those two picks, there's a good chance he falls to the Pacers.

12 - Utah Jazz - Frank Kaminsky - F/C - Wisconsin, Sr. - 7'1, 230
Kaminsky really built his stock with an excellent senior season and a strong NCAA tournament showing.  His ability to score in a variety of ways, combined with excellent size makes him an intriguing prospect.  His age and questions about his ability to defend either of the PF or C positions are what's keeping him out of the top ten.

13 - Phoenix Suns - Kelly Oubre Jr. - SF - Kansas, Fr.  6'7, 205
Oubre has a lot of potential thanks to his frame and athletic ability, but he showed it fairly inconsistently at Kansas.  If he does reach his potential though, he'll be a steal at the 13th pick.  Phoenix seems like a good fit despite taking TJ Warren last year, because Oubre can play SG as well, and PJ Tucker isn't a great long-term option.  If the Suns think the Morris twins' legal troubles could derail their careers, look for Phoenix to grab a PF.

14 - Oklahoma City Thunder - Jerian Grant - PG - Notre Dame, Sr. - 6'5, 200
The Thunder seem set in the frontcourt when healthy, with Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, Mitch McGary and Nick Collison offering an excellent rotation and that only gets bettter assuming they bring back Enes Kanter this summer.  That rules out the Thunder using this pick on a big.  I went with Grant here because OKC could use a ready-now player who provides insurance at both guard spots.  Other options here include RJ Hunter and Sam Dekker.

15 - Atlanta Hawks - Trey Lyles - PF - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'10, 240
The Hawks very well could lose one of, or both, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap this summer, so mocking a forward to them makes the most sense.  Even if both are back, a guy like Trey Lyles makes sense here.  Lyles could turn into a starter with the right development, but if he doesn't, I can see him making a solid backup and improving the team's frontcourt depth.

16 - Boston Celtics - Myles Turner - F/C - Texas, Fr. - 7'0, 240
I think it's likely that Turner is off the board before the Celtics pick, but they would be ecstatic if he landed in their laps at 16, seeing as there's been talk that they're willing to trade up for him.  Turner would give Boston two traits they covet, and one that they really don't have in their frontcourt at the moment.  Boston has plenty of bigs who can shoot, but Turner's shot blocking ability is really what they're after.  Turner could come off the board as early as 11 to Indiana, or maybe even as early as 8 to Detroit.

17 - Milwaukee Bucks - RJ Hunter - SG - Georgia State, Jr. - 6'6, 185
The Bucks could use another body at SG with the mediocre OJ Mayo in the last season of his deal.  Khris Middleton, assuming he's back, figures to play more minutes at SG with Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt, but Milwaukee is far from set at the position.  Hunter would give Miwaukee a bench piece who can heat up at any moment for the time being, while fitting in nicely with the team's core.  His offense-first mentality is needed on a team that has the Bucks' defensive identity.

18 - Houston Rockets - Tyus Jones - PG - Duke, Fr. - 6'2, 185
Whether or not the Rockets give Patrick Beverley a new deal, they need to get younger at the PG position.  The minutes the team was forced to give to the aging Pablo Prigioni and Jason Terry went better than expected, but Houston is playing with fire if they want to do that again next season.  Jones would make for a good backup to Beverley, or whoever else, as he's a well-rounded offensive player. 

19 - Washington Wizards - Bobby Portis - PF - Arkansas, So. - 6'10, 240
Portis could certainly be off the board before this, but if he's still available then the Wizards should be interested.  Nene and Marcin Gortat aren't getting any younger up front, and Portis' versatile offensive game would be a welcomed addition to the Washington roster.  If Portis, who could go as high as 15 to Atlanta, is gone, Washington could target Kevon Looney or Rashad Vaughn.

20 - Toronto Raptors - Kevon Looney - PF - UCLA, Fr. - 6'9, 220
The Raptors reportedly looked for upgrades on Amir Johnson at PF leading up to the trade deadline, although they failed to pull the trigger on anything.  While Looney wouldn't offer an immediate upgrade, he could give the Raptors a long-term solution if he hits his high ceiling.  He'll need to fill out his body and fine-tune his perimeter skills, but Looney could be a steal at this spot.  He could also be a bust, but the Raptors can afford to find out considering the other options at this pick.

21 - Dallas Mavericks - Sam Dekker - SF - Wisconsin, Jr. - 6'9, 220
There's talk that Dekker could go as early as #8 to the Pistons, but I don't accept that.  I think his top limit is the 14th pick to OKC, and this may be his bottom limit.  While the Mavericks have bigger needs than adding another SF, it may be hard to pass on Dekker with this pick.  His well-rounded offensive game and potential position versatility could be appealing to a team that needs to get younger.  Other options for Dallas with this pick include Delon Wright, Rashad Vaughn and Christian Wood.

22 - Chicago Bulls - Delon Wright - PG - Utah, Sr. - 6'6, 180
The Bulls may have parted ways with Tom Thibodeau, but it doesn't mean they won't draft a defensive-minded backup for Derrick Rose.  Wright's size and length allow him to play both backcourt positions, so he could also share the floor with Rose, although his lack of outside shooting make that pairing less than optimal.  Nonetheless, I wouldn't be shocked to see Wright come off the board here.

23 - Portland TrailBlazers - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - SF - Arizona, So. - 6'7, 210
Hollis-Jefferson is going to give whoever drafts him an additional defensive asset from day one.  His offensive game may never match his talents on the defensive end of the floor, but he's such a good stopper that his shortcomings on offense may not matter.  Portland could use RHJ to provide depth behind Wesley Matthews, Nic Batum and Arron Afflalo, assuming all three remain with the Blazers.

24 - Cleveland Cavaliers - Rashad Vaughn - SG - UNLV, Fr. - 6'5, 200
The Cavs' front office has to understand that LeBron needs more scorers around him if they're going to keep him happy.  Vaughn's the best scorer left on the board in this situation.  If he's already gone by this point, they could go for one of the defensive wing stoppers, such as RHJ or Justin Anderson.

25 - Memphis Grizzlies - Justin Anderson - SF - Virginia, Jr. - 6'6, 230
Anderson's length, body and defensive prowess make him a great fit for the Grizzlies' physical defensive scheme.  If his superb outside shooting from his junior season wasn't a fluke, then he'll likely pay off like a lottery pick.  If it doesn't, it's hard to see Anderson being a complete waste of a pick, because he's likely to provide value as a wing defender.  Memphis could also use this pick to grab a young PF to groom behind Zach Randolph.  One of Christian Wood, Jarell Martin or Chris McCullough might make sense.

26 - San Antonio Spurs - Christian Wood - PF - UNLV, So. - 6'10, 225
Wood is difficult to peg here, because he's extremely long and talented, but he's got a lot of work to do in terms of filling out his body and polishing up his offensive game.  The Spurs could see an opportunity to bring a talented young player along behind Tim Duncan. 

27 - Los Angeles Lakers - Montrezl Harrell - PF - Louisville, Jr. - 6'8, 250
Harrell could be off the board before this pick, but if he's around, don't expect the Lakers to be shy just because they have Julius Randle.  The Lakers would probably prefer that one of Anderson or RHJ falls into their laps, but if they don't, Harrell is a good consolation prize.  He's a tenacious athlete with the potential to develop consistent range out to 20+ feet.  The Lakers aren't in any position to pass on the best player available, so they grab Harrell here.

28 - Boston Celtics - Robert Upshaw - C - Washington, So. - 7'0, 260
Upshaw had a scare during his draft preparation process when testing showed he may have a heart condition.  He's since been cleared, but that could be enough to scare away teams in the first round.  If it isn't, the Celtics are a good candidate for his services.  Upshaw is the long, mobile shot blocker that Boston needs in their frontcourt, and I don't think they would be afraid to grab both him and Myles Turner in the same draft.

29 - Brooklyn Nets - Jarell Martin - PF - LSU, So. - 6'9, 240
Martin has a versatile offensive game and enough talent to help the Nets right away.  With so much already invested in being competitive, Brooklyn basically has to pick a player who can contribute out of the gate.  If it's not Martin, it could be Anthony Brown.

30 - Golden State Warriors - Chris McCullough - F - Syracuse, Fr. - 6'9, 200
Being the reigning world champions with the luxury of an already deep roster, the Warriors can afford to swing for the fences with this pick.  If McCullough focuses on his development and can stay healthy, he could be one of the more productive players in this class.  However, injuries and middling production will see him fall to the late end of the first round or early part of the second. 

31 - Minnesota Timberwolves - Terry Rozier - G - Louisville, So. - 6'2, 190

32 - Houston Rockets - Dakari Johnson - C - Kentucky, So. - 7'0, 265

33 - Boston Celtics - Cedi Osman - SF - Turkey, 1995 - 6'8, 200

34 - Los Angeles Lakers - Anthony Brown - SF - Stanford, Sr. - 6'7, 210

35 - Philadelphia 76ers - Cliff Alexander - PF - Kansas, Fr. - 6'8, 240

36 - Minnesota Timberwolves - Michael Frazier - SG - Florida, Jr. - 6'4, 200

37 - Philadelphia 76ers - JP Tokoto - G/F - North Carolina, Jr. - 6'5, 195

38 - Detroit Pistons - Jonathan Holmes - PF - Texas, Sr. - 6'9, 240

39 - Charlotte Hornets - Mohammdou Jaiteh - C - France, 1994 - 6'11, 250

40 - Miami Heat - Rakeem Christmas - F/C - Syracuse, Sr. - 6'10, 245

41 - Brooklyn Nets - Tyler Harvey - SG - Eastern Washington - 6'4, 180

42 - Utah Jazz - Norman Powell - SG - UCLA, Sr. - 6'5, 215

43 - Indiana Pacers - Jordan Mickey - F/C - LSU, So. - 6'8, 240

44 - Phoenix Suns - Richaun Holmes - PF - Bowling Green, Sr. - 6'10, 240

45 - Boston Celtics - Michael Qualls - SG - Arkansas, Jr. - 6'6, 200

46 - Milwaukee Bucks - Nikola Milutinov - C - Serbia, 1994 - 7'0, 225

47 - Philadelphia 76ers - Guillermo Hernangomez - C - Spain, 1994 - 7'0, 255

48 - Oklahoma City Thunder - Aaron White - F - Iowa, Sr. - 6'9, 220

49 - Washington Wizards - Olivier Hanlan - G - Boston College, Jr. - 6'4, 185

50 - Atlanta Hawks - Arturas Gudaitis - C - Lithuania, 1994 - 6'10, 255

51 - Orlando Magic - Pat Connaughton - SG - Notre Dame, Sr. - 6'5, 215

52 - Dallas Mavericks - Chris Walker - PF - Florida, So. - 6'10, 210

53 - Cleveland Cavaliers - Andrew Harrison - G - Kentucky, So. - 6'6, 210

54 - Utah Jazz - Juan Vaulet - G/F - Argentina, 1996 - 6'6, 200

55 - San Antonio Spurs - Mateusz Ponitka - SG - Poland, 1993 - 6'6, 205

56 - New Orleans Pelicans - Vincent Hunter - PF - UTEP, So. - 6'8, 210

57 - Denver Nuggets - Brandon Ashley - PF - Arizona, Jr. - 6'9, 230

58 - Philadelphia 76ers - Joseph Young - G - Oregon, Sr. - 6'2, 180

59 - Atlanta Hawks - Darrun Hilliard - G/F - Villanova, Sr. - 6'6, 220

60 - Philadelphia 76ers - Cady Lalanne - PF - UMass, Sr. - 6'10, 240

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pre-Draft Tidbits

We're less than 10 days away from the 2015 NBA Draft and, as usual, it's not really clear what anybody is going to do.  It sure looks like the Wolves will go with Karl Towns, but there's been talk that Flip Saunders is enamored with Jahlil Okafor, and also that Emmanuel Mudiay is under consideration in the top slot.  What the Lakers may do after that is anybody's best guess, and so on, and so forth.  Kristaps Porzingis, once the subject of some debate about being the Pistons' pick at 8, looks like he'll definitely be off the board, with speculation that he could go as high as #2 to the Lakers or #3 to the Sixers.  This is the time of the year where every GM is in love with any player possibly within 10 picks of where they're set to draft and that speculation is rampant is the only true thing you can say about speculation.  The wild-ass guessing hasn't missed the Pistons, as there has been plenty of talk about what the Pistons might do between now and the end of the draft on Thursday.  Here's a roundup of that talk...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pistons Acquire Ersan Ilyasova

In a move that essentially came out of left field, the Pistons have turned the nonguaranteed contracts of Caron Butler and Shawne Williams into Milwaukee Bucks PF Ersan Ilyasova.  Ilyasova has had injury issues over the last two years, but from what he's shown when healthy and on the floor, his game fits the Pistons' needs perfectly.  A superb outside shooter (two down years aside), Ilyasova is hopefully the stretch four this offense requires.  At 28 years old and with only one fully guaranteed year remaining on his contract, the Pistons will have a year to determine if Ilyasova can contribute to the team's rebuild in a positive way.  If he can help, great; if he can't, the team missed out on a little bit of cap space this summer, but they otherwise move on with no long-term effects.  On the surface, this is the kind of trade that fits the team's direction perfectly.  The move, in my eyes, almost certainly signals an end to Greg Monroe's time with the franchise, a move that is probably best for both parties.  This trade has other effects on what the front office is going to do this summer, and what the team is going to look like come opening night.  Let's dive into what those effects are going to be, and how Ilyasova can factor into the team's plans for the 2015-16 season.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Trade Target: Patrick Patterson

Patrick Patterson - PF - 6'9, 235
Toronto Raptors - 2 years, $12.3 million remaining
26 years old

A role player on what appears to be a stalled Raptors team, Patrick Patterson has the type of game that Stan Van Gundy covets in his PFs.  A good outside shooter with the ability to keep a defense honest, Patterson could help the Pistons fill their void at PF as the team moves away from Greg Monroe.  Patterson isn't exactly the difference-making option that would placate an uneasy fan base, but he's the kind of player who can help a team that doesn't have much depth at the PF position if Monroe leaves town.  Having skipped around, playing with three teams in his first five seasons, maybe Patterson just hasn't found the right destination yet.  However, with minimal post-up skills and questionable defensive abilities, Patterson may not be as good of a fit as he seems.  Would it be worth it for the Pistons to give up assets to acquire Patrick Patterson, or should they find a different way to fill in the blanks at the 4-spot?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Trade Target: Danilo Gallinari

Danilo Gallinari - F - 6'10, 225
Denver Nuggets - 2 years, $22.4 million remaining
27 years old

Once the centerpiece of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York, Danilo Gallinari has been on a bumpy ride the past few seasons thanks to a litany of injuries.  In his four full seasons with the Nuggets, Gallinari has only managed to play more than 60 games just once and missed a full season in 2013-14.  When he hasn't been out with injuries to his knee, shoulder or whatever else, he's been an effective scorer and an overall versatile contributor to the Denver offense.  With adequate size and athleticism for both forward spots, Gallinari would be an interesting fit should the Pistons make a move to acquire the oft-injured Italian scorer.  Coming off a season where he notched a career-high 47 points on 23 shots in a loss to Dallas, Gallinari would be an intriguing upgrade to either forward spot for Detroit.  Would it be worth the future assets to grab Gallinari knowing that he could miss significant time, or should the Pistons steer clear of Gallinari and his apparently fragile body?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Trade Target: Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson - SF - 6'7, 240
Brooklyn Nets - 1 year, $24.9 million remaining
34 years old

Joe Johnson was the subject of some Pistons-focused trade talk at the 2015 trade deadline, as he was mentioned as a clear upgrade on the team's other options at SF.  Though it appeared the talks were legitimate, nothing materialized, and Johnson would help the Nets to the 8th-seed in the Eastern Conference, and a quick dismissal in the first round of the playoffs.  While Johnson would still present a clear upgrade on what the Pistons have had at the SF position over the past few years, his enormous contract and declining skill-set make him a questionable target.  It's been about five years since Johnson has even played in the same realm as his contract.  Nonetheless, he's a name that some Pistons fans bring up when trade targets at the SF position are discussed, so let's look at the specifics of potentially trading for Joe Johnson.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Free Agent Profile: Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap - PF - 6'8, 245
FA Ranking: 6

Much like teammate DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap has blossomed in Atlanta over the past two seasons.  A key piece of the Hawks' big year, Millsap hits free agency after providing Atlanta with great value on a two year, $19 million deal signed in the summer of 2013.  He provided the Hawks with a little bit of everything on the offensive end of the floor, providing spacing as a stretch four, acting as a playmaker when needed, and in general, scoring with excellent efficiency considering his role as the first or second option whenever he was on the floor.  Millsap took a gamble on himself when he signed a short deal two years ago, and has put himself in position to cash in this summer.  Set to turn 31 in February, this will likely be Millsap's last major free agency foray.  He should command a deal close to the max salary this summer, and it's far from a guarantee that he remains with the Hawks.  Should the Pistons be interested in the talented PF, or is he too old to make sense with this team's core?