There were a number of teams willing to lay low this past off-season; the Pistons were not one of them. Detroit was more active than any other team and their roster looks very different from what it did a year ago. Ironically, the two pieces everyone thought would get moved, Griffin and Rose, are still in Detroit. How will the roster around them this season fare? I have an idea.
The subtractions from last season’s roster is where I want to start. The team opted not to resign Christian Wood as he is headed to Houston. Detroit claimed Wood last year off the scrap heap as insurance for Griffin and he ended up being the best player on the team arguably. To not get anything for him is a shame and I think everyone would agree that the team would have been better off retaining Wood than signing who they did. Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard were both dealt in a three team trade on draft night that gave the Pistons the 19th pick along with Rodney McGruder. Brown was a diamond in the rough as he was a second-round selection back in 2018 while Kennard was a lottery pick from the year prior. Deciding to move off of both of them didn’t make much sense unless they were unwilling to resign when the time came. The 19th pick was a good get as they selected Saddiq Bey, but it think I would rather have the young tandem of Bruce and Luke. The only other real contributor the team lost was Langston Galloway who signed with the Suns. He is a talented shooter who is capable with the ball in his hands. He could’ve been retained as useful depth on a team that could end up with a Derrick Rose-sized hole come the trade deadline (whenever that is).
For the additions to the team, there is some talent. Delon Wright ends up with Detroit after being dealt from the Mavericks in what was essentially a salary dump. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee both left a playoff contender in Denver for Detroit. The signings of these two are questionable given the money they both received. Grant felt he deserved a bigger role than the one he had with the Nuggets. The Pistons were willing to give him the role he desired along with a nice 3 year, $60 million deal. Plumlee ends up getting $25 million over the next three years, which is much better value than the last contract he was on. After those three, none of the other new faces excite me that much. There was talent added to the fringes of the team, but nothing to get too worked up about.
Draft night was one that was very busy for Detroit. The team started off with the seventh and 38th picks and was able to add two more to that when it was all said and done. The Pistons went with guard Killian Hayes with their first pick and I loved it. Hayes is one of my favorite guys in this class and I think he has a bright future in this league. After him, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey were taken 16th and 19th. These were the two selections Detroits added to the fold as the night went along. Stewart being picked here is interesting. Many had him pegged as someone who would land in the second round and saw this as a major reach. The former Washington Husky is a strong, athletic big capable of doing a few things on the court. He’s someone I personally like, but think is too high even for me. Bey being picked where he was seemed like a great get. Saddiq is a talented shooter and smart defender who should be in the league for a long, long time. Detroit also ended up having a second-round pick and used it on Saben Lee from Vanderbilt. Lee is a heady guard who can score and facilitate that shined in the pick-and-roll. The Pistons have done well for themselves in recent years finding guys who can make an impact as second-round selections; maybe this is another.
I’m not really sure what to make of the Pistons. Many have them in the bottom tier of teams in the league, but they do have a lot of talent. It just isn’t great talent and none of the pieces seem to fit coherently. They’re a wildcard for sure.