Official Guide: Understanding The Pistons Situation
The Detroit Pistons have become a national joke of a team, which is odd due to their morale heading into the season and beginning it 2-1. However, any way you slice it, this has been a failing team and their situation will get worse.
If you look at their schedule, there is no way they win another game till after Christmas potentially against the Spurs. I say San Antonio because they are also struggling if looking at the wins and losses. But something has to change and it must be before the trade deadline.
For reference, the deadline is February 8th with December 15th being the official kickoff date of the league’s trade season.
In today’s article, I will be breaking down the Pistons and telling y’all how they can become better after the deadline through various trades, roster changes (rotations, minute changes, etc), and many other ways.
The Jaden Ivey and Monty Williams beef is strange
What did Jaden Ivey do to the Pistons front office and Monty Williams to get devalued and demoted from within? The point guard averaged 16.3 points and 5.2 assists last season when playing in 74 games, starting 73 of them, but what happened?
It appears Monty Williams is either very frustrated with Ivey, has a different vision for him, and wants the bench to be commanded by him, or Williams is having another coaching meltdown/tantrum. Whatever the case is this is not how you handle a developing player with high upside.
He’s the team third best option for the offensive side of the ball, which is not playing favoritism or trying to pick sides. It’s pure facts. There is no other player better than him – if eliminated Cade Cunningham and Bojan Bogdanovic – who would it be? It’s not James Wiseman, who has lost favor with Monty, rookie Marcus Sasser (even though the 8/2 production should not be dismissed), or even Alec Burks.
This attitude needs to change towards Jaden Ivey, it just has to because this franchise has a player who has a strong work ethic and the mindset of actually wanting to play for the great state of Michigan.
If I were Williams, I’d do everything in my power to talk to him and get this situation resolved. But let’s play Devil’s Advocate for one minute.
What if the organization moves on from Ivey? What can they get for him?
I have really good news, CourtSideHeat projects the former lottery pick player to have medium-high trade interest where multiple teams will want to take a stab at having conversations with general manager Troy Weaver and the Pistons.
Detroit can easily demand an All-Star or All-Star caliber player in return for Jaden Ivey. Teams like the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz could be talking to the Pistons right now; Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine are names floating around, gaining traction, to potentially land in Detroit.
There is no doubt in my mind a deal could get done, but I don’t think the Pistons want to give up on him just yet. Why would they? Unless the Devil is influencing them.
LET’S CHANGE GEARS… Top trades that *NEED* to happen
Keldon Johnson is a player that needs to be traded for if I’m Troy Weaver. If you want to talk about having one of the best scorers in this league, why not make the conversation about Johnson?
He can be a good addition to their frontcourt and will allow Detroit to flip an aging Bojan Bogdanovic, his name has been in trade conversations for the past couple of weeks. Many compare the scoring attributes of Bogdanovic to Johnson with the forward being younger and constantly getting better.
Not only can you have a winning player with ever-growing skill, but you can also flip Bogdanovic (a veteran averaging 20 PPG) for more assets. It’s a win-win, even when considering the other factors of fit and contracts.
It’s believed Johnson could land in Detroit for multiple first-rounders and a lesser-known player, which would work knowing what we know about his situation in Texas.
A way to jumpstart the heart of this franchise in their ever-lasting rebuild would be to get a piece like OG Anunoby, why? Not only does this team have a burning desire, and need, to get a wing but it’s because his capability is overwhelmingly positive.
He can play on both sides of the ball with his defensive skills being the ultimate benefactor to players like Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duren, and even the rookie Ausar Thompson.
This is a very realistic grab for Detroit with the Toronto Raptors flirting with the idea of trading him away for future assets, which the Pistons do have. It should also be noted that Anunoby wants more playing time and a bigger role in helping a franchise be better.
Do you want to fill the need of securing a wing player? Then call up general manager Bobby Webster and have a simplistic conversation to get the ball rolling. I promise y’all he’ll open up and negotiations can begin.
The team can offer Bogdanovic to Toronto with draft capital to make it worth their wild, but this is a two-way player who can be a juggernaut on both ends of the court.
Who wants to get controversial? I don’t believe it would benefit the Pistons by making an aggressive move for Zach LaVine, it wouldn’t solve the issues they have currently or in the future. Plus, he doesn’t want to play for a team that’s contending for the lottery. Hence he wants the Los Angeles Lakers.
I believe it would benefit the Pistons more to acquire the versatile wing DeMar DeRozan due to him not allowing his age to affect his productivity and his quality on the court. He’s an assassin in the mid-range, has range from deep, can and will be clutch when the moment erupts, and has a nice defensive game added to his artillery.
This also makes sense for Detroit when considering DeRozan is on an expiring contract with a team ready to blow this mess up sky-high. So the trade can work and the negotiations can be reasonable, neither side would be wasting each other’s time and energy.
Talk about the perfect wing, I’d pick him if he’s willing to come to Detroit after the deadline date.
What we all need to understand
These names I am throwing out, these potential ideas of cobbling together a solid team are not going to make them great overnight. While I would love for it to work itself out to be the case, it just isn’t. But take whatever name from this list acquired during the deadline, lock them up contractually (unless they already have a deal), and then take the rest of the season and beyond to start shaping this team mentally and in the wins column.
Not to use the old cliche, but it is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s exactly where Detroit is at right now in their grueling, ungodly rebuild. However, make this deal (and maybe a couple of small ones to smooth out the bench issues) and now this team’s got something.
Honestly, the fit of any of these players works and this will not cause friction in the locker room. This whole guide is not only to help get wins for this season but also as a way to look into the future with a new perspective and with new pieces.
As a side note, what’s been going on with their bench?
The bench has been demoralizing, which is why it needs to be talked about. The starting five can’t do everything to try to win basketball games, why do you think some teams fail without the proper bench? Take the current Phoenix Suns, their bench isn’t the greatest and see how that is treating him.
Now take the Denver Nuggets bench of either this season or last, we all know the difference. Having a solid bench is pertinent to getting wins and staying competitive.
I’ve been appalled by how bad Detroit’s bench has truly been; and if I, and other fans, are feeling this way then imagine how the office and Monty are feeling about this current situation.
Players like Alec Burks, James Wiseman, Marvin Bagley III, and Isaiah Livers have been beyond disappointing. When this team was 2-1, everyone was playing well and it looked like a well-oiled machine. Now it looks like a depressing, crippling bench that wants to go kill themselves.
When no one can consistently get 10/5/2 a game, then it is a disappointing loss. What I am asking is not for everyone, but if your game is more offensive-driven then there should be an urgency and consistency of 10/5/2 per game.
While there is no immediate fix to this issue, even when looking at free agency, the team is going to have to make changes at the deadline. Either Wiseman, who has played well in the last three games or Bagley III has to be moved. Maybe throw some other assets in a deal that lands a solid power forward or center, a player like Kelly Olynyk could be targeted.
John Collins, despite having issues in Utah, could be a conversation to have when it comes to trading for him. Statistically, he is that forward/center they need to back Bojan (if they don’t move him) or Jalen Duren.
In my opinion, the frontcourt needs more help than the backcourt. The bench is just lacking in general. I believe some issues can be resolved by this deadline, which sets them up for next offseason. However, I am going to talk about that more after the deadline.
Let’s forget the trades… How does this team win *NOW*?
Let’s forget about the trade for right now, that isn’t as important right now as it may seem. We need to focus on something else, and that is what? That is figuring out how to win in the current moment, keeping the locker room listening to the coach, not losing morale from the players to the coaching staff, and pushing towards the deadline.
The 3-guard lineup needs to stay and develop
The starting lineup featuring Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jalen Duren can work. Why wouldn’t a head coach love to help take the pressure off their best player, Cade Cunningham? It would make a heck of a lot of sense and it sets up a firepower offense.
If Monty Williams is worried about Cunningham, don’t be. Why? Because he can play off-ball. It’s amazing to see the level of aggression and intensity he plays with when he doesn’t command the rock. Also, the other two guards can play off-ball. They have a switch-combo within them that allows for this type of system to work.
Besides making life easier for certain players, why wouldn’t Monty run this scheme if injuries are flaring up? If injuries are taking out the frontcourt, as it did to players like Duren, then this is the type of scheme to run to make things better.
This is a winning lineup so run it, Monty.
Make the Pistons more offensive-orientated
Let’s focus on Monty Williams for a quick minute, shall we? I believe a recipe for success is to turn the Detroit Pistons into the 2020-21 Phoenix Suns, but what do I mean? What I mean is that there is a recipe for more offense that overloads an opposing defense.
Detroit has the great luxury of having multiple options, that’s their entire starting lineup. Plus, there could be a bench player or two in the mix to heat up and be able to rise to the occasion.
The duo of Cunningham and Ivey can work, like how Chris Paul and Devin Booker worked, as it’s about finding the flow and those shot opportunities (resulting in attempts). Both players are known as good-great shot-creators, which should be played by Monty Williams.
Remember when we saw Paul and Booker play together then remember how they played different shifts? Monty needs to rekindle that fire but with Detroit featuring Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham. You always have a “number-one option” on the court leading others to be elevated and hopefully getting wins.
This strategy will preserve the stamina of many players, including Cunninghams (the main reason for this tactic), and stop those ugly scoring droughts. That’s one of the many reasons why they have quarter collapses and get into big holes or lose big leads.
Give Marcus Sasser more touches
While Sasser has his ups and downs, the 23-year-old rookie has shown glimpses of hope and being a solid point guard for the Pistons. He’s getting the minutes (16.8 per game) but the attempts aren’t there. I believe he needs more looks and more touches.
Yes, fans can turn to his streaky shooting moments and his shooting IQ being questionable, but he’s still a solid shooter who has range and can be a good enough playmaker so that he’s not limited in his style.
From November 27th to December 16th (10 games), he’s only been able to take, on average, 5 shots a game. For a rookie, or really for anyone, that is a very limited way to play the game. Honestly, especially for a rookie, he should be able to get 7-10 shots a game.
It should be that high when knowing he went late in the first round and given the state of Detroit and how shorthanded they truly are. Why not allow the rookie to do more when facing team injuries and many uncertainties?
In those last 10 games, the best one was against the New York Knicks (Nov. 30th). Sasser’s stats were 17 points on 6/11 shooting (5/7 3pt), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. When he gets around 7-10 shots, then Sasser can be really good.
I truly believe he is scratching the surface when it comes to his skill and his ability to find a solid role that fits himself and the organization.
He’s also been in the top 10 of ROY rankings; just saying… Marcus Sasser is a rookie to keep an eye on.
Limit the turnovers… like seriously… TONE IT DOWN
As a Phoenix Suns fan, I thought we had a problem and was the worst in the National Basketball Association. However, for once, I was wrong. While the Utah Jazz (17.2) have the most turnovers per game, Detroit is right behind them with 16.5 turnovers per game.
Last year, per game, Detroit had 15.1. Incredibly, it could get worse, but it has and this franchise appears as though they aren’t going to slow down any time soon.
I know it is easier said than done, but they gotta calm it down. There are too many lost possessions with the point differential being too much; if considering the points they are missing out on and the fastbreak opportunities they are giving to their opponents.
Cunningham (4.0) and Duren (2.7) are leading the charge with many other players having at least one turnover per game. With that said, though, I believe there is a lack of chemistry, and everyone beginning (or continuing) to freefall into rushed decisions that lead to destructive turnovers.
While this is an issue, I do see a future where turnovers are toned down severely. November 2nd is a date when the Pistons were ranked the worst in the league with turnovers at 18.6; was anyone expecting this stat?
Either way, there is a concentrated effort to get better and this team will… eventually.
Become more disciplined… STOP FOULING
Good news, Pistons fans. Y’all and the Indiana Pacers are tied for 29th/30th for team personal fouls per game at 22.8. This alone should make you cry, whether you are a fan of this team or not.
This falls on team discipline, coaching, and the player’s on-court knowledge of playing smart basketball. Now, I need to state something.
Even though this is true, it also falls on the key principles of playing aggressive defense. I don’t want them to stop playing hard, physical defense but it needs to be pulled back a little bit. The downside of aggressive defense is that it can lead to hard fouls, obvious fouls either out of frustration or pure stupidity.
I can appreciate the defensive pressure but not from the inbound territory of your opponents, there has to be a fine balance that allows for aggression and smart plays.
Monty Williams and his coaching staff need to crack down on this and fast. I get everyone is frustrated about this season, but they gotta check their emotions and the way it impacts the game.
Despite Christmas Day being a week away, Detroit has been passing out free-throw gifts to every opponent this season.
For example, the Philadelphia 76ers love it when they play the Pistons. On December 15th, Philly went 28/31 from the line. It’s insane they only missed three, but it’s even more insane when they had so many attempts. The final score was 124-92. Makes you think what would have happened if they didn’t foul that much.
Again, this is a fixable issue that all teams at some point go through, it just has to end in a hurry.
This is the end of this long “guide” revealing what the Detroit Pistons gotta do to get better and to change their course of this rebuild. In conclusion, these changes aren’t going to magically transform overnight. However, they are going to improve fan and team morale, stats will go up, and wins will begin to get picked up.
Once the deadline passes, I’ll be right here writing an updated version of this article to break down the Pistons once more.
I’m telling y’all this, if they make some of these changes and become aggressive on the market, then signs of improvement will be seen. Trust me, this is very realistic and saves many from depression.