Detroit Pistons Trade For Ersan Ilyasova Changes NBA Draft Dynamic


In a surprising turn of events, the Detroit Pistons traded for former-Milwaukee Bucks Power Forward Ersan Ilyasova. First reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, this puts the Pistons’ team dynamic into a new light.

With the uncertainty that is Greg Monroe‘s free agency coming up this summer, it has huge implications on this Pistons team. But make no mistake about it, this was a great trade by Head Coach/Team President Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Jeff Bower.

They gave up Caron Butler and Shawne Williams, who are both on non-guaranteed contracts next season. The Milwaukee Bucks seem to have conducted the trade to shore up some money for former-Piston Khris Middleton, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.

But the effect it has on the Pistons will be huge. First and foremost this move seems to be in response to Monroe’s impending free agency. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent since he took the qualifying offer last summer.

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This might just be the Pistons organization coming to terms with the fact that Monroe will no longer be donning the Pistons red, white, and blue next season.

There’s also a lot to like about the trade. The Pistons did not in any way give up a lot to the Bucks in this trade. The Bucks simply seemed to want more cap space and the Pistons took advantage of that.

The best part is that Ersan Ilyasova has the skills to fit on this Pistons team. He’ll most likely slide right into the starting PF position (if Monroe doesn’t re-sign with the team) and that means Anthony Tolliver will slide right into the reserve role.

Looking at his stats shows why Van Gundy wanted him. He shot 38.9% from 3-point land in 2014-2015 and 37.0% over his 7-year career. He’s a stretch-4 that can fit in really well with the Pistons and Van Gundy’s system.

For what the Pistons gave up this is a great deal. There’s a few parts about Ilyasova that fans might not like too much though. The first is his contract which will be $7.9 million next year and $8.4 million the following year. Only $400,000 of that will be guaranteed, however.

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  • The best part about the contract is that if Ilyasova doesn’t fit in well with the Pistons they can let him go after one year. He’s only 28 and in his athletic prime so the Pistons should expect solid production from him.

    The biggest problem with Ilyasova though is his health. He has yet to play a full 82-game season over his career (his career-high is 81 in 2009-2010). Over the last two years he’s combined to play 113 of a possible 164 games.

    He’s injury-prone and that’s always a risk for a team relying on him. This means that the Pistons might still pursue a PF through free agency or the draft.

    The Pistons’ approach to the NBA Draft, too, is now much affected by this move. Before, both the Small Forward position and power forward position had holes. There was nobody that the team could rely on to be a starting-caliber player. If the Pistons were to role into the season with Tolliver as the starting power forward, this team was going to have issues.

    With the addition of Ilyasova the Pistons now seem primed to pick up a wing in the draft. The Pistons have been connected with plenty of young players at the #8 spot in the draft. Some names thrown around are Stanley Johnson, Mario Hezonja, and a few others.

    The Pistons’ biggest position of need all throughout last season was undeniably at small forward. The names that roamed the floor primarily for them there was Butler, Tayshaun Prince, and even Josh Smith. In a SF dominated league the Pistons must upgrade their talent there.

    They need to upgrade that position and what better way do it than through a young player in the draft? While plenty of talented players are gone by the eight pick the Pistons have done a great job in the mid-lottery. Key contributors like Monroe, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Andre Drummond were taken all around the eighth pick.

    Adding Ilyasova changes the dynamic of this team’s draft needs. While they still might go for a power forward, it’s looking a lot more likely they’ll be adding a small forward through the draft (as they should).

    All in all though the trade was a splendid one for the Pistons. They fixed one of the needs of the team for minimal cost. Ilyasova can either be a long-term solution by re-signing him or as a stopgap until next summer.

    For now though, Pistons fans should be looking forward to both the NBA draft and summer. If last year was any indication, Van Gundy should and will be looking to revamp his roster. There will be plenty of change coming for these Pistons as Van Gundy shapes this team into his.

    Now, your thoughts. How do you feel about the Ilyasova trade? Good? Bad? Terrible? And which position of need do you think the Pistons will draft? Who should the Pistons draft? Whatever the case, the trade will change the dynamic of this Pistons team in the draft and more.

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