Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pistons Get Early Deadline Win

The Pistons got an early start on the 2016 trade deadline today when they acquired Orlando Magic combo forward Tobias Harris for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova.  The deal left a plethora of Magic fans scratching their heads, and gave the Pistons yet another piece in a core of players under the age of 26.  I reviewed the option of signing Harris this summer when he was a restricted free agent, so we'll skip the full breakdown of his game.  To shttps://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5963162630699131332#editor/target=post;postID=8740231628606917159ummarize, Harris is big and athletic enough to play both forward positions, and the only thing holding back his offensive game is an unreliable outside shot.  He's still developing as a defender, and it's hard to say which forward position he would be best-suited for moving into the future.  The good news is, he and Marcus Morris can each defend both forward spots.  Having that kind of defensive versatility is a plus in today's NBA.  Even regardless of fit and versatility, the Pistons got themselves one heck of a value yet again in the trade market.  Adding a 23-year old forward with a 17 PPG season under his belt for no assets of any consequence is a big deal.  For a franchise that saw a first round pick traded for Corey Maggette (no, the context of this really isn't important), this continues to be a sight for sore eyes.

Here's a breakdown of what Stan Van Gundy and his front office team have done via trade since taking over:

IN: Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson, Anthony Tolliver, Steve Blake, Reggie Bullock, Joel Anthony
OUT: Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova, Kyle Singler, DJ Augustin, Tony Mitchell, Quincy Miller, Will Bynum, 2017, 2019 and 2020 second round picks

That's nothing short of incredible.  The two best players on the "out" list are guys who are borderline starters at best.  The "in" list contains three guys the Pistons intend to build around.  Those second round picks would have to turn into a Draymond Green-level talent for the Pistons to have any sort of regret about any of the deals they've made.  Even with that being said, extreme hindsight is the only way any of these deals will look poor. 

In the wake of the deal that brought Harris to Detroit, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Pistons are scouring the market for a veteran guard.  That certainly makes senses, as the only downside to today's deal was that it left the Pistons with only Steve Blake and Spencer Dinwiddie to back up Reggie Jackson.  With two more days to find an answer, here are some guys the Pistons could/should take a look at to bolster their backcourt:

Jerryd Bayless - Milwaukee Bucks - 10.5 PPG, 3.4 APG, 42.4 FG%, 43.6 3P%, 56.6 TS%
This is my preferred option to assume the Pistons' newly established void in the PG rotation.  He'd present a clear upgrade from Steve Blake, could provide the outside shooting the Pistons desperately need, and he can play both backcourt spots.  With the Bucks out of the playoff picture and Bayless' contract up at the end of the year, cost shouldn't be an issue.  A swap of Joel Anthony and Spencer Dinwiddie for Bayless and Johnny O'Bryant works financially.

DJ Augustin - OKC Thunder - 4.2 PPG, 1.9 APG, 38.0 FG%, 39.3 3P%, 52.2 TS%
Augustin hasn't been worth the acquisition for the Thunder, and the veteran has steadily ceded minutes to rookie lottery pick Cameron Payne as the season has worn on.  Stan Van Gundy unlocked something with Augustin in the pick-and-roll last year though, so picking him back up may be beneficial for Augustin and the Pistons.  He's also on an expiring contract, so there isn't much future cost for the Thunder to move him.  Augustin for Spencer Dinwiddie and Joel Anthony works, although you have to wonder where the motivation is for OKC there.  A protected second rounder could get the job done.

Randy Foye - Denver Nuggets - 6.0 PPG, 2.1 APG, 35.1 FG%, 29.2 3P%, 45.7 TS%
Foye has fallen on hard times this season, as his normally reliable shooting has betrayed him.  A career 37% outside shooter, Foye is shooting a Josh Smith-esque 29.2% this year.  He would certainly be the lowest-cost option of the three guys listed here, and he too is only under contract through the end of the year.  If you're dead set against the Pistons giving up a second round pick for a PG, Foye is the guy you want the Pistons to pick up.  Once again, Dinwiddie and Anthony would work from a salary standpoint. 

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