Detroit Pistons depth chart: A look at the shooting guard situation

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons struggled throughout the 2019-20 season. Which position is most in need?

The Detroit Pistons finished their incomplete season 20-46. Clearly, there is room to improve with free agency and the draft. Part of this was due to injuries, to be sure, but even a healthy team could use some upgrades.

To determine where there may be gaps, we are breaking down the entire active roster by position in terms of both the skills they offer and the likelihood they return next year. Earlier we discussed the Pistons’ point guards, and the situation was somewhat dire. Now, we take a look at shooting guards to see if the outlook there is a little more stable.

1. player. 64. . . . Langston Galloway

Langston Galloway played the most minutes at the two guard–he was the only Piston to appear in every game–although he saw fewer starts than Luke Kennard or Bruce Brown. Galloway also played his best season in a Pistons uniform and probably his best since his first year in the league.

He shot 43% from the field, close to 40% from three-point range, and 85% from the free-throw line, all three marks he had not previously attained. He did all of this in a contract year, however, and therein lies the problem.

The Pistons paid him $21 million over the course of three years, and he is now an unrestricted free agent. He might very well be able to command more than $7 million per year from another team more desperate for a shooting guard. He is a nice asset if the Pistons are able to get him at that price, but if not, he could be playing elsewhere.

player. 64. . . . Bruce Brown. 2

All things considered, Bruce Brown had a marked improvement over his freshman season with the Pistons, considering he picked up the slack from multiple injured point guards. According to Sports Reference, 26% of his time was spent as a primary ballhandler, compared with no time at all the year prior.

He took to the change nicely, with nearly every metric improving from his first year. While his overall shooting improved as well, there was some concern at his free throw percentage which took a decline. This could be an anomaly, or it could be an indicator of a future shooting downturn.

He was a bit of a defensive liability, but this could be attributed to experimenting with a new position. In any case, he is a solid player, and with one year left on his rookie contract, he will definitely be back with the Detroit Pistons next season. He had surgery on a thumb earlier in the offseason, but he should be back to full strength by the time the league is ready to reopen.

3. player. 64. . . . Luke Kennard

Though his games were limited by knee trouble, Luke Kennard made a difference with his time on the court. Like Brown, he struggles defensively, but he slots easily into Dwane Casey’s offensive scheme at nearly 40% career shooting from three.

He proved he can carry a team, as evidenced by a career-high 30 points in the season opener against the Pacers. Also like Brown, he is under contract for one more year, so he should be back next year–at least at the beginning.

He is a potential trade asset come playoff time; in fact, the Pistons were rumored to receive some offers for Kennard late in the season. It remains to be seen if he can actually play or if his knee will still be an issue. If he is sidelined again, it would affect his trade value and his status in the Pistons’ depth chart.

4. player. 64. . . . Jordan McRae

The Pistons claimed McRae from the waiver wire just two weeks before the season’s end, so they did not have much opportunity to see him work. He did not play poorly in his four games, adding 11.8 points per game in decent minutes off the bench. Still, he is a free agent, and it is unlikely he will return next season.

While not perfect, the shooting guard situation in Detroit is better off than point guards. Assuming Galloway and McRae are both gone, the Pistons will still have Brown and Kennard, two players that have been in the Detroit system their entire professional careers.

Both players were on an upward trajectory from the year prior, despite the circumstances (Brown’s shift change and Kennard’s knees). Whether the two become trade assets by the end of the year depends on their play this season, but they are in a safe spot at least to start the year.

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This is the second in a series of positional breakdowns for the ongoing Detroit Pistons offseason. If you missed our discussion on point guards, you can find it here; the nebulous spot of small forwards will be the focus later in the week.