If you were a new NBA owner in an undisclosed location granted the ability to poach an entire roster from a current team — taking with you all of the players and their contracts, but not the coaching and management staffs — who would you take?
He also answered it by ranking the rosters for all 30 teams, and the Pistons were first on his list:
30. Detroit Pistons
Assets: Greg Monroe, Austin Daye, Brandon Knight
Anchors: Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva
Questions: Talent, heart, (professionalism), futures of Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady
Analysis: Detroit’s roster sports the toxic combination of multiple, long-term, big-dollar contracts to average or below average players plus a dearth of bankable young talent. Monroe and Knight are the two brightest spots on the roster but they’re both still a long way from making rival GMs salivate jealously. Inheriting this bunch would require a lengthy, multi-year rebuilding plan.
Right, I forgot to mention Golliver listed the teams in reverse order of preference, but you probably already knew that. Overall, I think Golliver’s points in that excerpt are fair – even if I’d add Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko to the assets list, and even if I have no idea how Jason Maxiell escaped the anchors list.
But compared to other teams, I think Golliver ranked the Pistons too harshly. I’d definitely take the Pistons over the Bobcats, whom Golliver ranked 25th. I also think Detroit is in the mix with the Raptors (26th by Golliver), Suns (23rd) and Warriors (11th!).
Essentially, I’d argue the Pistons’ roster deserves a ranking between 29th and 26th. Makes you feel a whole lot better about this team, right?
No? Alright, well, here’s the real good news: the Pistons come with more than just their sorry roster. They come with a quality head coach in Lawrence Frank and, more importantly, a general manager with a proven track record of building a winner in Joe Dumars. Neither guarantees success, but they make me a heck of a lot more confident than teams with slightly better rosters who haven’t shown they can build a winner, like the Nets, Hornets and Kings.