The Pistons come in as the 25th ranked team in David Kay’s NBA season previews. Injuries killed Detroit last season and they have already suffered a major loss when second year forward Jonas Jerebko tore his Achilles in the Pistons first pre-season game Tuesday night which will reportedly sideline him for three-five months. It figures to be the beginning of what should be another long season in the Motor City.
Detroit Pistons (27-55 in 2009-2010)
2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Ben Wallace/Jason Maxiell/Chris Wilcox
PF: Charlie Villanueva/Greg Monroe/Jonas Jerebko
SF: Tayshaun Prince/Tracy McGrady/Austin Daye/DaJuan Summers
SG: Richard Hamilton/Ben Gordon/Terrico White
PG: Rodney Stuckey/Will Bynum
2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $64.7 million
-Pistons sign G/F Tracy McGrady to 1-year, $1.35 million deal
-Pistons re-sign PG Will Bynum to 3-year, $10.5 million deal
-Pistons re-sign C Ben Wallace to 2-year, $3.8 million deal
Off-Season Grade: D
With no cap space, a few pretty terrible contracts on the roster, and maybe Joe Dumars’ lack of general managerial skills, the Pistons had a very dull off-season. They re-signed Ben Wallace and Will Bynum to reasonable extensions and then rolled the dice of giving T-Mac a one-year deal, hoping that he would have a resurrection of his career after dealing with injuries the past few seasons (good luck with that.)
The only saving grace of their off-season was drafting Greg Monroe with the seventh overall pick and getting a good bargain by taking Terrico White in the second round even though even broke his foot in Detroit’s first pre-season game. Other than that, the Pistons did absolutely nothing this summer to improve the talent on their roster.
I told you so. I ripped into Joe Dumars last off-season for throwing all of his cap space at Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva and look at how that turned out. Sure injuries played a major part in their struggles last season as players were constantly in and out of the line-up, but this team did not show anything last season or make any significant moves this summer to make me believe that they will be any better this season.
Having Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince healthy will provide some leadership that the team sorely lacked last year. Gordon was also banged up last season which attributed to a woeful 32.1 shooting percentage from three and the lowest points per game average of his career. Rodney Stuckey stepped up with Hamilton and Gordon out of the line-up, but I still am not sold on him being a true point guard in the NBA.
The Pistons were also one of the worst rebounding teams in the league last season. Monroe provides another big body inside but he was never known for his physicality at Georgetown and was often thought of as being soft. Ben Wallace is a shadow of the inside force he was in mid-2000’s while Jason Maxiell is a 6-7 “big” man and Charlie V. is a perimeter based four.
One of the few bright spots of last season was the play of Swedish second round pick Jonas Jerebko who brought a versatility and energy to the floor that nobody else did. Unfortunately, Jerebko suffered an achilles injury in the Pistons’ pre-season opener and is expected to miss three-five months. And so it starts…
Looking Ahead to Next Summer:
Prince and Chris Wilcox come off the books which will save Detroit a little more than $14 million in cap space. If the Pistons struggle like they did last season, I would fully expect them to try and un-load Hamilton’s $12.65 for an expiring contract during the season to try and save more cap room. If anyone was willing to take on Gordon or Villanueva’s deal, Detroit could try to dump them as well. This is a team that might be best off blowing up the roster and starting from scratch next summer.
NBA Power Ranking: 25th