After seeing the Detroit Pistons play out one of the most exciting rebuilding, tank-job seasons in sports history, there are many questions left unanswered.
The Detroit Pistons captivated its fan base each night despite losing the majority of the time. We can all agree that general manager Troy Weaver and head coach Dwane Casey ‘tanked’ the right way to rebuild. Casey’s positive guidance and development of the teams’ young core led to an extra year being added to his current contract.
The Detroit Pistons finished the 2020-21 season 26 games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Bucks with an overall record of 20-52. The Pistons finished as one of the three worst records earning themselves a significant slice of the pie. Detroit will enter the NBA Draft Lottery tied with Houston and Orlando. Each will have a 14% chance of landing the first overall pick.
By many, Weaver, nicknamed trader Troy, joined the organization last Winter, overhauling the entire roster to begin the free agency period. Weaver added unsung hero-type players like Mason Plumlee, Wayne Ellington, Josh Jackson, and Jerami Grant while the fanbase watched favorites as Christian Wood skip town.
The first-year Pistons GM found the right mix of free agents to pair with his stout rookie class led by its three first-round picks Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart.
As the year wore on, Weaver sent a pair of aging future Hall Of Famers in Derrick Rose to New York in exchange for a 23-year old reclamation project in Dennis Smith Jr. The Pistons also decided to do the unexpected and buy out the lucrative contract of their star forward Blake Griffin, who would quickly join the stacked Brooklyn Nets team in hopes of winning his first NBA Title.
Aside from hoping for some lottery luck, the Detroit Pistons have a few decisions to make regarding their six pending free agents.
Let’s sift through and predict who will be returning to the organization and who will likely be seeking real estate elsewhere.
Does Wayne Ellington have a future with the Detroit Pistons?
Wayne Ellington is a pending unrestricted free agent and will be looking for a new home next season.
Earlier in the season, Ellington was shooting his way into the trade market but unfortunately, as the season wore on, so did his trade value. As they say, water always finds its level, and that proved to be true with Ellington. At one point during the year, Ellington was averaging a career-high 12.5 points per game while converting on 50% of his three-point attempts.
Ellington would cool as the year grew old and as Casey committed to his youthful roster. He’d finish the year averaging 9.6 points per game, shooting just over 42% from beyond the arc and 44% from the field.
I was still shocked that Weaver failed to move the pending free agent as a rental to a playoff-bound team looking for an end of the bench shooter that could come in and drill a couple of three’s down the stretch when the team needed a spark.
I expect Weaver and the Pistons will willingly move on from the 33-year old.