What is the No. 1 thing Joe Dumars can do to step up and help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Trade Greg Monroe
Trading Monroe for a proven wing player would probably make the Pistons better in the short term and increase their odds of reaching the postseason. Suddenly, the difficult task of making a jumbo frontline work would vanish. Every Piston could fill a role without straining himself.
But that would likely lower the Pistons’ ceiling, and I don’t want to do that. I believe in Monroe’s upside, and unless it’s clear a Monroe-Josh Smith-Andre Drummond frontline won’t work, I wouldn’t want to sell low on Monroe.
This Playoff Push series is about, well, making a playoff push this season. That seems to be the Pistons’ No. 1 goal, and that makes sense for an owner looking to make money right now. But I’m aiming bigger and thinking longer term, and through that lens, Monroe is more valuable.
Don’t treat this roster as a finished product
If this truly is a make-or-break season for Dumars, I hope he’s willing to go down fighting. At his best (and sometimes, at his worst), Dumars has explored compelling trades. As the team has declined into irrelevance and burned through coaches, the constant has been Dumars doing very little tinkering with failed rosters he’s put together in previous seasons. This roster certainly has more talent, but if the pieces don’t quite fit as expected, I hope Dumars is willing to make a bold move in-season if one comes along.
There’s a lot on the line this season, but Dumars’ job may be the biggest. He’s built a team capable of making the playoffs, and now he’s got to make sure it does. There are two key pieces that could make that effort a sure thing — the expiring contracts of Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva. If those two produce all this year, their $17 million of expiring deals could fetch someone capable of helping the Pistons in their push for the postseason.