Detroit

Pistons looking forward to busy off-season

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The Detroit Pistons are once again on the outside looking in at the post-season festivities. With less than ten games left as teams fine tune for their playoff run, Stan Van Gundy will be busy doing other things. As head coach, he will evaluate his existing roster to maximize the potential of young center Andre Drummond, the cornerstone of the organization. As president of basketball operations, he’s got a little more to think about.

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The trade that sent Kyle Singler and DJ Augustin to Oklahoma City for reserved point guard Reggie Jackson will play a role in that. Jackson is a restricted free agent that will draw attention from several teams seeking a score first point guard. The Pistons have already made it clear that they are willing and ready to match offers. They see Jackson as the point guard of the future, matching him up with shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Pope has played the best ball of his professional career since the acquisition of Jackson. They seem to be developing back court chemistry as of late. Jackson likes the idea of playing long term with Pope stating, “We want to become the best back court in the league.” He also said they will have to work hard to get there. So it could work itself out.

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That’s just one scenario, they also have unrestricted free agent Greg Monroe. The longest tenured Piston will demand close to a max deal from whoever he decides to sign with this off season. He’s rumored to such teams as Spurs, Lakers, Knicks, Pelicans, and Thunder interested. He’s gifted on the block and best fits the center position, where he started his career. He’s also a skilled passer for his size and rebounds well. He’s a big you could run the offense through. He’s been playing out of position for over two seasons, trying to fit in with Andre Drummond, whose now the focus of the franchise. Floor spacing could be the reason he bolts. Monroe is not known for his outside shooting and Drummond is a work in progress offensively, scoring his buckets off lobs and offensive rebounds which he leads the league on the glass.

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The Pistons will look to free agency to fill the position if Greg Monroe decides to sign else where. Looking at power forward and Michigan native Draymond Green to fill the role. It may take a max offer to pry him away from the league leading Golden State Warriors and the Pistons might just have that up their sleeve. Not signing Monroe would free up the cap space needed to make a deal lucrative enough to consider his options. The Saginaw native in his third NBA season is scoring 11.8 points, 8.1 boards, and 3.6 dimes per game. His defense and ability to guard multiple positions make him a serious commodity in this league. His toughness, motor, and will to make hustle plays makes him a fan favorite. On the offensive end he stretches the floor. But he’s much more than just a floor spacer, as he can facilitate as well. He uses his body well, getting in creases to grab offensive rebounds and loose balls. In Stan Van Gundy’s system, his shooting touch will be needed. His coaching philosophy consists of stretching the floor, running pick and rolls with his big. You may remember his Orlando team which reached the Finals, where Rashard Lewis was his coveted stretch four. Look at Green as a hybrid stretch four he can defend the perimeter, bang inside throw a ally oop, and then spot up on the long line.

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Now to the NBA Draft, where the Pistons are looking forward to their top ten lottery pick. Last year, they forfeited their pick over to the Charlotte Hornets to complete the Ben Gordon trade. I’m sure Van Gundy would like to make a splash with his opportunity to draft in the first round as coach and team president. The idea is for the Pistons to find a serviceable small forward. Wing players like Justice Winslow from Duke or Stanley Johnson of Arizona could fit the bill. They could also trade back and grab Kansas star Kelly Oubre Jr. They also have pure shooter and home state kid Devin Booker on their radar. He’s one of the best shooters in college basketball, as he’s second in scoring on a loaded Kentucky Wildcats team. Averaging 10.5 ppg in limited shot attempts off the bench, it’s safe to say if they don’t feel comfortable with the athleticism of those prospects, he would be someone who can light it up from downtown.

Piston fans prepare yourself for a exciting offseason. Stan Van Gundy has made bold moves since taking over and he’ll be making a lot more noise now that he has a full season under his belt. He will address the teams weaknesses by all means necessary. The luxury of holding both positions as head coach and president of basketball operations will make the process less complicated.

(Photo creds: redrockbasketball.com)