3 Risks the Detroit Pistons Should Consider This Off-Season

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin dunks. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin dunks. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons are heading into the 2019 NBA off-season as uncertain as there has been in recent memory. What are some risks they should take?

As the NBA Finals play out, everyone is focused on the off-season, which has the potential to be historically significant. The prospect of new superteams, players changing teams, and drafting the next star can be exciting for the fan base, but it has its risks.

Franchise altering moves can be both positive and negative, but these risks are necessary for every team as they can set in motion a sequence of events that can define a decade.

Any team with uncertainty can get clarity by buying into a player or embracing change, so what can the Detroit Pistons do? Here are Three Risks the Pistons should consider this off-season.

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1. Trade Up in the Draft… By Any Means Necessary

Before you say anything, let me start by saying Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are understandably untouchable. Now with that out-of-the-way, the other three top five picks can be worked with. RJ Barrett was viewed as to top prospect in the draft before the start of the NCAA season until Zion and Ja showed their ability. This is not to say Barrett is bad, at all. Barrett was projected to be a star and recorded nearly 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. He absolutely met expectations, posting but the other two just exceeded theirs and did so at positions that are in desperate need in the NBA. It’s also no secret that the New York Knicks are disappointed in losing out on Zion, who has a ton of cap and could dangle the pick for more cap relief or to get an established starter/star. Though this move is unlikely, if the Knickerbockers open up trade talks for the pick, the Pistons should consider making serious inquiries for the pick.

Any of the picks between 4-7 should be up to grab as many people see this as a three player draft. I’m not going to be that blunt with it because it isn’t true. While it’s likely that the top three have franchise changing potential, several players in this draft have star roleplayer potential. Players like Coby White, Cameron Reddish, and Jared Culver are talented wings that would easily fit into a Detroit lineup that needs perimeter play and shooting. For the sake of argument, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to win now with LeBron James, and depending on the package, could pry the fourth pick away from LAL as well as another player.

(This argument heavily depends on Anthony Davis trades or any others you can think of)

For Detroit, one of the better options this off-season is to trade into the top 10 of a Draft that is perimeter wing heavy, but the risk here isn’t from the players, it comes from the who we are willing to give up. Depending on the package, Detroit could build for the future at the risk of several more seasons missing the playoffs, but depending on the players involved, you could get suitable value in order to make a deeper playoff run. The only problem here is with Dwayne Casey and Blake Griffin, we’re looking to win now.

2. Sign and Trade of Kemba Walker

This piece is about risks, and why not gamble on a name that has floated around the team for a while? Kemba Walker is the Charlotte Hornets. He has given this team everything he has, but the team hasn’t had any long-term success. The Pistons are a team that has talented NBA players but our players don’t fit the specific needs or coaching. This is a necessary risk.

Kemba provides outside the outside shooting and playmaking that fit Casey’s style and compliments Griffin’s interior play. Walker can penetrate and kick out to Blake who can consistently hit a 3 point shot, or play off-ball and wait for Blake to pass out of the post. Casey thrives off of high scoring guards and Kemba can do that in spades.

The risk involved? One is defense, where our team needs improvement, but with a player of Walker’s caliber, we can make moves. The bigger /hit will be who to trade? Andre Drummond would be a good choice, though he is necessary for our team’s success. Blake is most likely to stay, so we would have to experiment with new lineups, some through trades, but more than likely through internal development. Another major risk comes from will it be enough to compete with a rising Eastern Conference? Which brings me to my third option:

3. Rebuild

I love our team. This is a team I want to see succeed, but we have a definite ceiling and it’s become clear. Detroit is capped out, we have good players, but most of them fit better as role players on a contender, and we’re not the most desired free agency destination. The Pistons are in a worse place than worst record: purgatory. Dante wipes his brow. Decisions…

The best option is to sell to the lowest bidders. Stock up on draft picks and young assets and try again. We have a stable future with Casey leading the team, but we may consider that the best way to preserve our future is to invest in the future instead of retooling a team that may run out of time and effort by the end.  The Detroit Pistons are 15 years removed from their last title, 11 years since their last Conference Finals appearance, and our last three playoff appearances resulted in a sweep. Now maybe the time to double down on what made Detroit teams famous (or infamous) and rebuild with our original culture.

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The Detroit Pistons are a franchise known for hustle, a blue-collar work ethic, and taking risks on players. The risks we take this off-season could restart our franchise either short-term or long-term. With the Pistons current outlook, our immediate future is repeatable. In order to secure a future, risks need to be taken.