Will Stan Van Gundy regret the Steve Blake trade?

Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /

Point guard depth is crucial.

For this reason, I understand the acquisition of Steve Blake. It makes basketball sense. Blake is a tough as nails veteran with a high basketball IQ who makes good decisions with the ball and can shoot the three. He’s an ideal bench player, and he will fit in nicely with the Pistons.

Additionally, the Pistons don’t know when Brandon Jennings will be back from his Achilles injury. Even if Jennings returns sooner than expected, he may never be the player he was prior to the injury. There is also a question as to whether Jennings will embrace his new reserve role. With these things in mind, getting a player like Blake as insurance is a no-brainer.

But it’s not Blake who concerns me. It’s who Detroit gave up to get him.

Quincy Miller is 22, 6-foot-10 with length, good ball handling skills and a smooth shooting stroke. While he hasn’t played well enough to earn consistent minutes in the NBA, he has shown some promise. Miller dominated the D-League last season, averaging 23.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from three. D-League stats are not always indicative of future success at the next level, but regardless, the potential is there.

Miller has primarily played small forward since being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the second round in 2012, but Stan Van Gundy seemed to think he may be better suited as a stretch power forward.

Apr 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert (4) drives against Detroit Pistons forward Quincy Miller (34) during the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been reported that Miller has been a gym rat this offseason. He allegedly added 16 pounds of muscle to his slender frame as he prepared to take advantage of a what would have been a huge opportunity in Summer League. He was likely going to be one of the main focuses on offense and he would have been given every opportunity to prove himself worthy of a roster spot.

That all came to a screeching halt when he broke his nose and fractured his orbital floor during practice.

Miller watched from the sidelines as the Pistons competed in the Orlando Summer League. Then he was traded to Brooklyn for Steve Blake.

I can’t help but be perplexed by the timing of the trade. I find it hard to believe that a player of Blake’s pedigree wouldn’t have been available two or three months from now. At that point, the Pistons would have been able to see just how much Miller had improved, and he would have had the chance to compete in training camp against legitimate NBA talent.

I’m sure the Pistons have monitored Miller closely this offseason. Maybe he’s destined to be a fringe NBA player who never takes the next step. Maybe Stan Van Gundy saw that and decided to cut ties with him now while he could still get something in return. That is certainly possible. Personally, I would have liked to see the Pistons take a little more time to make that determination.

While adding Steve Blake provides much needed depth in the back court, I’m not sure it moves the needle. It’s a short term stop gap while the Pistons wait for the situation with Jennings to sort itself out. Miller, on the other hand, could have potentially been another piece to an already promising young Pistons core.

Do you think insuring depth at point guard was worth trading a potential impact player at a position which thrives in Van Gundy’s system?

Only time will tell.

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