General overview of the Pistons offseason needs.

So I've already started looking at individual players, but while doing a draft preview for Demetrius Jackson, I realized that I was spending a lot of time talking about the Pistons general needs. I had also done that in some other posts, and I realized that I probably should have done this post first. Better late than never. So in essence, this will be a pretty general overview of the Pistons roster heading into next season and what the priorities should be. (not really looking at specific players to fill those holes so much, just identify the holes.)

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Current roster outlook for next year?

You can look at the Pistons payroll right here.Some notes:

  • Andre is getting a max deal, he is waiting to sign it so the Pistons can have more cap space (and then sign him with bird rights.) which is super cool of him.

  • Spencer Dinwiddie's 3rd season is not guaranteed so the team can cut him without paying him anything.

  • I think the basketball reference notes are incorrect on Joel Anthony and 2016-2017 is non-guaranteed. (it says 2017-2018. Which he isn't even signed for at all.)

  • No that is not a typo. The Pistons take a 5.4 million cap hit for Josh Smith through 2020.

The Pistons will have all 5 starters return next season (barring a trade of some sort of course) along with Stanley Johnson and Aron Baynes. So of the 9 guys who were the most regular in the rotation next season, 7 are going to be back. And no one would really miss Steve Blake.

PG: Reggie Jackson is obviously the starter, and no need to be looking for anyone else. Unless Steph Curry tells the Pistons he wants to play with them next, Reggie will be the starter through his contract. And that's great. Backup PG is of course the issue. The Pistons have both Lorenzo Brown and Spencer Dinwiddie under contract for next year if they want them, but neither is guaranteed. So the Pistons can cut loose from either/both of them if they want.

SG: KCP is in a contract year before hitting restricted free agency next summer. Ditto for Reggie Bullock. Jodie Meeks will be an unrestricted free agent after the coming season. Darrun Hilliard is the only (Full time) SG who is under contract past the upcoming season. (Stanley obviously does/can play some SG)

Forwards: (Combining them since the Pistons basically only have combo forwards lol) Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris are in it for the long run, as is Stanley Johnson. Anthony Tolliver is a free agent this summer and has been told that although the Pistons will have interest in bringing him back, there are bigger fish to fry for the Pistons. Leaving the Pistons with their 3 combo forward types under contract for long term, and no others for next year.

Center: Andre is signing his max extension this offseason. And once again, since some people do not seem clear on this, it is a done deal. He was going to sign it during the season but he talked with Gores and agreed to wait to give the Pistons more cap space. So don't say "signing Andre has to be the first priority" or "They should let him walk." It is a done deal, nothing to see there. Aron Baynes is essentially going into a contract year next season as he is (allegedly) going to opt out of his final year. Joel Anthony is non-guaranteed.

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Priority #1: Keep Eyes and Ears open for potential big piece.

I do not think it is terribly likely to happen, but the Pistons should absolutely be ready to pounce if the opportunity arises to get another really good player. A young team that wins 44 games is nice, and the team should get a lot better purely with internal development. But between the rising cap and Andre waiting to sign his extension, the Pistons have a unique opportunity to maybe steal one more piece. Whether through free agency or a trade, if they could add 1 more big time core piece it would be great. That said, there are lots of teams with lots of money to spend, and not enough guys to spend it on, so I doubt much will materialize for the Pistons in this manner. Still though, if the chance comes around, the Pistons have to be ready.

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Priority #2: Backup PG.

Assuming that there isn't a surprise trade or free agent signing in the works, finding a new backup PG is the Pistons most pressing need. SVG has said he wants to keep Reggie Jacksons minutes from going to far above 30, so there will be around 18mpg here. And the weakness of Steve Blake was, literally, a killer for the Pistons this past season. Also important here is that the Pistons don't way overpay for someone who can't be considered a "Core piece." Because they will have to pay at least 1 SG next summer and most likely 2. (Most likely from the roster, KCP and/or Bullock. But possibly outsiders. Possibly just 1 because if Stanley were to move to SG full time then the Pistons would need to just pay for 1 backup or starter to compliment him.) And also likely have to pay for a backup center. Simply put, unless it is someone who will be a really valuable piece for the future, they shouldn't overpay for a vet who will just give solid minutes at the PG spot for 2 years. If they splurge on a backup PG make sure he's a good one essentially. Because the more money they spend on a backup PG means less money for KCP/Bullock/other SG/backup center. (Most concerned about KCP of course.)

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Priority #3: More Defense.

Preferably this would come at a position of need, but the reality is that this Pistons team could use a couple more defenders on the roster. As this past season, of the 10 guys who were in the rotation over the season, 2 of them (KCP and Andre) were really good defenders, 1 was pretty solid (Morris), 1 has potential but will take another year or so to reach it (Stanley), and the rest are pretty mediocre defenders. Simply put, the Pistons could use more defense, even if it comes at a spot where they have some players already. (like the wings.)

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Priority #4: Another 4.

I put this all the way back at priority 4 because the reality is, that if the Pistons end up not getting a real rotation quality 4 this offseason, I think they can do just fine between Mobias and Johnson. It would make rotations a little goofy, but they could do ok. That said, it should be a priority that they get a backup 4 of some sort. As previously stated, I would prefer it to be someone who can really play defense, because Tobias Harris is (as of now) a pretty mediocre defender, and Marcus Morris is much worse as a 4 than 3. And to be clear, this does not per say mean they need a bigger PF to deal with other big PFs. Paul Millsap ate up the Pistons this season and he is an undersized PF. They really could just use a better defender to throw out. That said of course, if they re-sign Tolly or pick up some other stretch 4 type who is not a great defender that would be ok. But they will want one more PF.

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How About the Draft? (Once again, some of my thoughts have already been shared in my Sabonis preview, so if you've heard some of this already I apologize lol.)

First and foremost, if they believe there is a star/really good player they can try and get. Then get him, regardless of position. Once again, the Pistons are not yet in a position to just fill in the holes remaining. Even if the starting lineup is set, they (probably) had the worst bench of any team trying to win games last year. If there is a guy they really believe in, then go for it.

Beyond that, (aka, if there isn't someone they are super high on) I would much rather go for a PF with the first round pick than a PG. Because if they pick a PG, they either will have to trust a rookie who is not a very high pick to give a solid 18mpg from the get go, or have him rot behind a veteran who takes the backup minutes. Neither of which is terribly appealing to me. Whereas if they pick a PF, it will be easier to find them minutes, while not having to rely too heavily on them. That said however, is that I cannot stress enough, if there is a PG that the Pistons are really high on, and they really think he is the best player on the board by a wide margin, they should pick him.

With the second round pick, I'd hope they either go for one of the highest upside guys they can see. Essentially, look for a guy who may have fallen a bit for whatever reason, or a risky type of guy. So whether this means taking a chance on someone like Caris LeVert who might fall due to injury, or going for Thon Maker or Zhou Qi. If they have one of those types of guys on the board still, they should go for them. Because this is really the last season where it would make any sense to swing on a project, because (by my rough timeline at least) the Pistons have at least 1 more year before they should be in real contention, and probably 2 more before it is time for the big stage. And once you get to the big stage, you don't want to be drafting guys who are "2 years away" anymore, you want guys who can help you right away at that point. So now is the last hurrah so to speak to try and swing for the fences with a risky guy.

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Should they try and trade the Pick?

No. And what I mean by that is that they shouldn't try and trade it just because they don't really want it. They should probably shop it around some and see what sort of action there is for it, but don't trade it for some old veteran who is on an expiring just because you don't think you need the pick. Obviously a big thing here is what they would be trading the pick for.

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Other trades?

The Pistons might have ammo for 1 more "steal" of a trade that has been the calling card of the current front office, whether it is Reggie Jackson for Singler and Augustine (and a pick), Ersan for Caron Butler and Shawn Williams, Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock for a 2020 2nd round pick (lol), or Tobias Harris for Ersan and Jennings. Aron Baynes and Jodie Meeks could potentially be used to swing a trade of that manner, I don't know for sure that they have enough value to net anything of much good and the rising cap means that teams won't be as eager to dump salary this offseason as well. But this sort of ties in with the #1 priority. If a team decides they are putting "insert good young player who fits the Pistons here" on the block, the Pistons should make a play for them.

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What do you think? What are the biggest needs this offseason? Let me know! We all get smarter!