Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. If you were to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons’ general manager, what would be your No. 1 priority with players not currently on the roster?
Dan Feldman: Acquiring a top-eight pick through tanking. The Pistons shouldn’t have another opportunity to pick this high anytime soon, and I don’t want to squander it. This is an excellent chance to add a talented and high-potential player on a cheap contract. With one more of those, I’d feel really good about the roster going forward.
Brady Fredericksen: Throw all of Tom Gores’ money at Eric Bledsoe and Lance Stephenson. Both are among the NBA’s top up-and-coming wings, Bledsoe a restricted free agent and Stephenson unrestricted. The Pistons won’t be able to sign both, but being able to get one will be a big boost for the Pistons terrible perimeter game. The argument for both of these guys is simple — they’re significantly better than any Pistons’ guard since… um… Chauncey Billups in 2008? But the argument against them is totally reasonable, too. Bledsoe has played at a max-contract level for 26 games, and Lance Stephenson has a screw or two loose and also doesn’t have to deal with the spotlight of being THE guy in Indiana. Risky, but what team builds without risk?
Tim Thielke: The first priority has to be looking into the possibility of landing a star. There’s a long-shot chance that Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony or Rajon Rondo may be attainable; maybe even Dirk Nowitzki or Chris Bosh. If any of those guys could be acquired without giving up Andre Drummond, that needs to be done. Everything else can be sorted out later.
2. If you were to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons’ general manager, what would be your No. 2 priority with players not currently on the roster?
Dan Feldman: Draft the best prospect available, using fit as a tiebreaker only when multiple prospects fit on the same tier. Drafting is too difficult to get right, anyway. I’m not complicating it by choosing a rookie based on how he fits with a roster that could change very quickly.
Brady Fredericksen: Find shooters. If you don’t have a superstar-caliber wing scorer — which, believe it or not, are extremely hard to come by — you need shooters to succeed in the NBA. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade all fit that superstar wing bill, and all three have led their teams to the NBA Finals in the past eight seasons. The teams that won without those kind of guys were Dallas and San Antonio, two teams built around smart coaching, great big men and fantastic floor spacing. The Pistons lack all three of those aspects currently, but finding shooters is a good place to start copying the blue print.
Tim Thielke: Get some shooters. This overlaps with both of my other priorities, but it is also the roster’s biggest need. I still believe much of the defensive woes could be fixed schematically because Detroit actually has good defensive players. But shooting just requires shooters.
3. If you were to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons’ general manager, what would be your No. 3 priority with players not currently on the roster?
Dan Feldman: Use all available cap space to offer Stephenson a contract the moment free agency opens. Yes, I’d be concerned about removing Stephenson from his stable Indiana environment and paying him eight figures per year. But as current players get raises, the Pistons probably won’t have an opportunity to sign a near-All-Star anytime soon, either. By offering Stephenson a contract immediately, I’d ensure I’d act before Monroe signs and increases his cap hit. It’s all about taking advantage of an opportunity, even if the risk is high.
Brady Fredericksen: Sign-and-trade Monroe for role players and picks. If the Pistons were to successfully land a Bledsoe or Stephenson, it’d probably spell the end of Greg Monroe’s tenure in Detroit. If that’s the case, you have got to value for him, plain and simple.
Tim Thielke: Find a good wing or two. Ideally in trade for one of the big men on the roster. But if not, in free agency. Stephenson, Gordon Hayward, Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng and Paul Pierce (in order or desirability) are all viable options. Even if the Pistons draft a wing in the lottery, they should still go after another at least as insurance.