The Detroit Pistons enter the NBA off-season with plenty of salary cap flexibility. That doesn’t mean they should overpay average talent and throw ridiculous contract offers out this summer like they did in 2009 when they kill their cap space on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. The goal this off-season; improve the roster but be smart about it.
Detroit Pistons (29-53 last year)
2012-13 Season Summary:
After years of being one of the dominant teams in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons are mired in a four year slump in which they haven’t come close to sniffing the post-season. Things are slowly starting to look up though.
There were some positives for the Pistons; most notably the play of rookie Andre Drummond who has the makings of being a steal at the ninth overall pick. The big man was banged up a bit but looks like he can be a defensive presence in the paint. He and Greg Monroe appear to be a formidable frontcourt duo for years to come. Kyle Singler also played pretty well in his first season in the league but Detroit didn’t get what they needed from guards Brandon Knight or Rodney Stuckey to take a true step in the right direction.
Detroit made a move for the future by dealing veteran Tayshaun Prince in exchange for Jose Calderon. Calderon provided some experience at the point but more importantly, will open up more cap space for the Pistons this off-season. With Corey Maggette, Will Bynum, and Jason Maxiell all free agents and Rip Hamilton’s contract finally coming off the books, Detroit will clear out about $36 million in cap space this summer.
2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Andre Drummond/Viacheslav Kravstov
PF: Greg Monroe/Jonas Jerebko/Charlie Villanueva
SF: Kyle Singler/Khris Middleton
SG: Rodney Stuckey/Kim English
PG: Brandon Knight
NBA Free Agents:
PG-Jose Calderon (UFA)
PF-Jason Maxiell (UFA)
SF-Corey Maggette (UFA)
PG-Will Bynum (UFA)
2013-14 Team Salary: approximately $35.2 million
1. Spend Wisely: The last time the Detroit Pistons had this much cap space was four summers ago when they spent $90 million on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. How’d that turn out? While Detroit enters the off-season with a ton of flexibility in free agency, they need to learn from the past and avoid overpaying mediocre talent just because they have money burning in their pockets.
2. Guard Depth: With Jose Calderon a free agent, the Pistons needs to add depth at guard behind Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Calderon re-signing with Detroit but he might want to play for a contender rather than be part of the rebuilding effort in the Motor City. A true shooter who can knock down open shots would be a welcomed addition as well.
3. Back-up Big: Jason Maxiell has been the consummate undersized, but solid, physical, role player for the Pistons during the past several seasons but he is a free agent. If Detroit decides to let Maxiell walk this off-season, they will need to find a solid back-up big since Viacheslav Kravstov doesn’t look ready to play a significant role.
4. Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince has been a staple there for a decade but Detroit needs to find a replacement for him. After spending a year overseas, Kyle Singler put together an okay rookie season in the NBA but appears to be more of a glue guy than true answer at the small forward position. I think the ideal fit here would be an athletic three who can get attack the rim.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks