Recently the Detroit Pistons bought out point guard Reggie Jackson, then shortly after another veteran in forward Markieff Morris. This after trading center Andre Drummond to Cleveland. Let the tanking commence.
The Detroit Pistons seem to understand that it will significantly benefit the franchise if they embrace the ‘tank’ rather than continue to fight it. If there is anything to learn from the Detroit Red Wings, the organization they share a home arena with; is that clawing for an eighth spot in the playoffs will continue to hamper the franchise down the road, not help it.
According to ESPN’s insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Markieff Morris is expected to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for $1.75 million, and Reggie Jackson signed with the Los Angeles Clippers for an undisclosed sum. Both players are now in a position to compete for an NBA title.
It’s in the Pistons’ best interest to continue to play their young players, players who have a future with this franchise. In a perfect world, the team will continue to lose games, which will all but assure themselves of a top-five pick, but with the lottery format, there is no reason not to try and give yourself the best odds to secure the first overall pick.
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Sure Sekou Doumbouya looks lost at times on the court, but don’t forget he’s the youngest player in the league. He’s as raw as they come.
If the Detroit Pistons can start stockpiling young talent and decide NOT to spend a large sum of money this summer in free agency, they could be setting themselves up well for the summer of 2021 when an abundance of talent is expected to hit the open market. The Pistons have the potential to build around Sekou, Wood and the upcoming first-round pick.
It’s easier said than done, to be patient. Especially for a hyper-aggressive owner who seemingly can’t help but get his hands involved in the team’s basketball operations. I don’t dislike the Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, but don’t forget the Pistons are just a ‘hobby’ for Gores. He has plenty of other business assets, and the Pistons are more of a portfolio-filler than anything else. Gores resides in Los Angeles, he’s far from the Pistons day to day operations but at times can’t seem to keep his hands out of the way.
Gores finally admitted earlier this season he’d be prepared to embrace a full rebuild if that’s what it would take to be relevant once again. Three players remain on the roster Dwane Casey inherited – three. Blake Griffin, Langston Galloway, and now the longest-tenured Piston Luke Kennard.
The problem with an owner like Tom Gores is he isn’t afraid to make a splash, not understanding the repercussions, for example, adding Blake Griffin. Sure he was outstanding last season, but Detroit was promptly swept in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. Griffin’s contract is one that impedes the team from surrounding him with other stars. Griffin is excellent, but in today’s game, his skill-set isn’t the most desirable, especially from an injury-prone player.
The organization tried to rebuild on the fly around Griffin, Drummond, and Reggie Jackson; it didn’t work. The Pistons are stuck with Griffin’s contract for two more seasons, plus the team is expected to have around $65 million in luxury tax space to spend next summer. Detroit will need to use a portion of that to re-sign Christian Wood and perhaps Langston Galloway and Thon Maker? Wood, for sure, the other two remain question marks at this time.
Patience is the key to this rebuild. The team’s chief executive and acting general manager Ed Stefanski needs to convince owner Tom Gores that the right thing to do is to try and sign a handful of veteran players to one-year deals. Players the organization can potentially flip for draft capital at the deadline next season.
The Pistons need to keep adding youth, hopefully building a foundation that a free agent or two in the summer of 2021 wants to join. Griffin will be in the final year of his deal, assuming he opts-in to his near $39 million contract at the end of next season.