Feb 23, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons small forward Khris Middleton (32) and referee Bill Spooner (22) during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at The Palace. Pacers win 90-72. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Life On Dumars Roundtable: Draft and Free Agency

Hello readers, I’m guessing there are more of you out there now than there were when I was here. In case you have just joined the reading experience from the new team, I am the former editor. This was a crew that I didn’t handpick, but a lot of similar names are here to the ones I would pick out. These guys are great, and if I could still be here I probably would be. Enough of the formalities though, I’m Cole Patty and welcome to the first and possibly only Life On Dumars Roundtable.

1: Who should the Pistons go after in off season free agency?

Cole:

From here until the day he signs, there will be O.J. Mayo to the Pistons rumors swirling. I’m not particularly keen on these, especially because it seems like Ben Gordon didn’t fit the organization before. My guy certainly isn’t the youngest, and there is no guarantee he will even be available, but I gravitate much towards the Pistons getting Andre Iguodala if they can. I don’t find a 4 year deal dumb for him, which is what the Pistons would probably give him, and I think his size and versatility at the 2 and the 3 is awesome for this squad.

Thom:

I don’t know how I feel about Cole coming back and pretending he still runs the place, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m conflicted when it comes to Mayo. He’s having a nice season, but it’s a contract year, and while he’s a much better defender than Gordon was/is and doesn’t have Gordon’s size issue, he’s probably going to end up overpaid. Honestly, I’d rather have Gerald Henderson. The Pistons desperately need a solid wing defender and Henderson can fill that hole. That’s not to say he’s strictly a defensive player — Henderson has pretty steadily improved his offensive game each year he’s been in the league. He’s added a reliable three point shot to his repertoire this season to go along with his excellent mid-range game, and he’s getting to the free throw line at a higher rate this season than Rodney Stuckey is. Lack of attention in Charlotte — which is basically the Bermuda Triangle of the NBA — should keep Henderson’s price in the $5-8 million range, which is pretty reasonable.

Daniel:

There’s not really any major acquisition in this year’s free agent class I think I’d really want to see the Pistons make. It’s already a somewhat unexciting class, and you can already pencil in starting roles for Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe, and — in an ideal world — Andre Drummond, so I wouldn’t expect anything altogether groundbreaking. If they’re going to make a move, I’d like to see Jose Calderon return on a short contract, if only because I really love Jose Calderon and the idea of Jose-Drummond pick-and-rolls makes me happy. The “upper tier” of point guards is a mixed bag this season, as I don’t think Brandon Jennings or Tyreke Evans will be quite worth whatever they get, and you have to figure the Hawks will match anything that comes Jeff Teague’s way. Therefore, I think it’s likely Calderon will be the best value the Pistons can find until they come up with a long-term solution at the point guard position.

2: Who should the Pistons go after in the 2013 Draft:

Cole:

I have a personal bias here, but I am actually going against it. I don’t think Otto Porter or Shabazz Muhammed will be there, which I find unfortunate, so I’m going Victor Oladipo. I am not a fan of his game personally, feeling that he would benefit a ton for both him and Detroit if he was 6’7″ instead of 6’5″, but I don’t like the idea of drafting Gary Harris.  With a lack of talent otherwise, and getting a bigger two guard being a need, there are worse picks than Oladipo.

Thom:

I’m a big fan of Oladipo, too. He fills the same need that Henderson would; a long, athletic SG/SF who can defend multiple positions, score in transition, rebound, spot-up pretty reliably. The Pistons missed out on Kawhi Leonard two years ago, but I feel like Oladipo can be just as good. Porter would be a nice fit, if he’s available, and I have a pretty big soft spot for Trey Burke. It’ll be interesting to see where Burke goes this season, but I feel like he should be a top ten pick, despite his size issues. If the Pistons draft him and resign Calderon, they’d have two efficient floor generals running the offense for the foreseeable future.

Daniel:

All Otto Porter everything.

I’m a huge Otto Porter fan and I’m not entirely sold on Kyle Singler as a starting forward. It’s going to depend on where Detroit lands in the lottery – and, tanking or no tanking, all they do is lose, so they should be pretty high up there – but I think Porter could be an interesting option if they get the positioning to take him. Should they miss him, I could also see somebody like Shabazz Muhammad or Victor Oladipo to add a bit more of a scoring punch to the roster, although those two may be contingent on whether or not the team believes Brandon Knight can become an effective point guard or not.

3: Monroe-Drummond, Can It Work?

Cole:

Can is definitely possible, will is an entirely different conversation. On defense, it will swing on Monroe being able to guard stretch fours. This isn’t the daunting task that the offensive issues will be. I don’t see Drummond coming to Pistons camp next year being able to hit a 15 footer (CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?). So, it will come from Monroe being able to work from the elbow. Though different styles, Monroe and Drummond score from the same area of the floor a lot (under the basket, in case you don’t watch). So, if it doesn’t feel like a good fit, and a really nice deal comes for Monroe (last year on rookie contract is really valuable) I say make the move. Teams have made worse things work than a Monroe-Drummond front court though.

Thom:

I can’t see how it won’t. Ideally you want your team to have a skilled big man paired with an athletic one, and Monroe-Drummond fits that paradigm. Monroe might be a bit slow to guard some opposing power forwards, but with Drummond’s almost supernatural quickness, Detroit could easily switch him for a more desirable match-up.

The one issue I could see is Drummond pushing Monroe out of the lane a bit — which has happened a bit this year — and forcing him to operate out of the high post. That could force Monroe to shoot a bit less efficiently, but I feel like it’s a sacrifice worth making. At the very least, the two will absolutely murder opposing teams on the glass.

Daniel:

Anything can work if it takes minutes away from Jason Maxiell.

In all seriousness, though, absolutely. I’ve been all up on the Greg Monroe bandwagon since he was drafted, and I like the contrast in his game with Drummond’s. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Drummond in the starting lineup with Monroe next year, which would be an interesting trial run for the two playing major minutes together. Monroe has struggled at times playing efficient offense (his TS% and eFG% are at career-lows of .526 and .485, respectively) and has looked occasionally looked overmatched defensively against opposing centers (see: Horford’s 20-20 game). Drummond frees Monroe from sole responsibility for protecting the rim in Detroit – already not his strongest aspect as a player – and he also gives defenses another threat they have to respect up front. Because let’s face it, teams don’t exactly fear Jason Maxiell offensively.

4: How does Drummond play even better next year?

Cole:

First of all, bringing back Calderon or Bynum can help Drummond grow. When it comes to improvement withing, I see one way Drummond can get better. Being able to get his own shot. There is an easy way for Drummond to do so. If he add strength to be able to push people under the hoop, a la Shaq, a two foot hook shot or drop step dunk is something he can possibly do. He puts that in his game, and there is no question he will be an All-Star on a continual basis.

Thom:

Experience alone should help him a great deal. Drummond is still only 19 years old and has played extremely well despite only half a season to adjust to the NBA game. He’s still raw, but has shown flashes of potential skills to develop — a step-back jumper out of nowhere, a no-look pass, a euro-step finish, etc. Drummond would continue to be a good player almost solely based on his athleticism and instincts, but these hints essentially make him a blank canvas for the Pistons staff to paint as they see fit.

Daniel:

It’s all about polish, if you ask me. Drummond’s obviously a ridiculous athlete, and he’s already a dominant rebounder, it’s just a matter of learning the game at the NBA level. He’s shown the ability to be a dominant rim protector – and a gaudy 1.7 blocks per game in only 19.7 minutes shows that – but defense is more than block stats, and he needs to improve things like positioning to take the next step. His offensive game is also extremely raw and he needs to develop some kind of go-to move under the basket. Naturally, the free throw shooting is an abomination, as well, and that needs to improve dramatically before we end up looking back on Hack-a-Shaq as “tame.”

The biggest thing that’s bothered me about my time covering the Pistons so far is that I haven’t seen Drummond play once, and that’s obviously why this analysis is somewhat lacking. I’m excited to catch up on what I’ve missed, though, even if I may have to wait until next season to do so.

5: Player you feel Detroit should avoid in the off season (through free agency or draft)?

Cole:

Personal bias warning, but please don’t give OJ Mayo 4 years $48 million. You are just now climbing out of the Ben Gordon hole, Joe Dumars.  Don’t just re-dig that grave.

Thom:

I’d agree on avoiding Mayo. It’s hard to see him being worth the money he’ll call for, especially when there are solid options at his position available for less money. Despite his flaws, Josh Smith is still a good basketball player, I just don’t want to see the Pistons blow max money on a player like him who creates positional issues and scores so inefficiently.

Daniel:

Does “any bad contract” count? The Pistons are an extremely young team, and they have a lot of cap space, which is going to encourage some offseason activity. I just don’t want to see them bring in somebody like, say, Al Jefferson, who might take time away from Drummond moving forward. I’d prefer to see the Pistons keep to short contracts for affordable veterans (like Calderon) and allow their younger guys room to grow together on the court.

And under absolutely no circumstance should they pursue Andrew Bynum. Nope. No way.

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