Joe Dumars, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
“We’re still open to doing things,” Dumars said. “I’m not sure how much more. I feel good about where we are.”
Of course, Dumars is still open to making a trade, but we know how this process typically ends. “We weren’t going to make a trade for the sake of making a trade,” Dumars will say. And that’s fine. He shouldn’t make a trade for the sake of making a trade.
But that leaves this roster – likely with Peyton Siva’s potential contract dropped or deferred – for Dumars in what very well could be his last season if the Pistons miss the playoffs. Should he feel good about where he is?
In Josh Smith, Dumars got the available free agent who is most capable of helping the Pistons reach the playoffs next season. Even if Smith isn’t a perfect fit – and there are ways to work around that – his talent is so far ahead of the best well-fitting free agent, Smith still projects to make a bigger impact for Detroit.
The rest of the offseason was OK, as judged through the lens of getting the Pistons into the playoffs next season. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can fill a role as a 3-and-D player, but it’s probably too early to ask for much more. Chauncey Billups is great for sentimental reasons, though he hasn’t played much, let alone played well, lately, and that problem rarely gets better for players his age. A re-signed Will Bynum is far enough down the bench that he’ll probably play his way up into a marginal role. Luigi Datome is intriguing, but credible comparisons to Austin Daye are hardly reassuring. Tony Mitchell is raw, and maybe if plays with sustained energy, he will carve out a role this season. He’s still more of a future investment at this point.
So, is this a playoff team? The Pistons have certainly put themselves in the mix, which is progress. I’d feel a lot better if they had added a point guard who was guaranteed to play better than Brandon Knight has the last two seasons, though an improved Knight, a healthy Billups, a hot Bynum or a contract-year Rodney Stuckey would do the trick. The Pistons have several players who could be a quality starting point guard next season, none of whom can be counted on to do it.
I’m not ready to make a playoff prediction one way or the other, but if I were Dumars and my job were on the line, I would be hopeful – though not quite confident – this roster can save me.
And I’d be on the phone looking for a point guard.