Detroit Pistons: the Big 5 candidates to play Center this year

Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The most unsettled position for the Detroit Pistons could be center. Having a solid Man in the Middle certainly would help a young team. We present our top five candidates.

The center position might be devalued compared to the days when Bill Laimbeer was helping the Detroit Pistons win two straight NBA championships but, as the Houston Rockets found out in the playoffs, you still need a big guy to go far in the playoffs.

For years there was no question who was the center for the Pistons. Andre Drummond was solidly ensconced  in that position since being the ninth pick in the NBA Draft back in 2012. Drummond averaged 14.4 points and 13.8 rebounds for Detroit in almost eight seasons.

But Drummond was traded on February 6th to the Cleveland Cavaliers for John Henson, Brandon Knight and a 2023 2nd-round draft pick.

Since Detroit’s season ended unexpectedly a little more than a month after the trade, there was not much time to look for his replacement. Christian Wood, John Henson and Thon Maker all got a chance to start in Drummond’s spot.

Wood came on strong at the end while Maker and Henson also had their moments. However, none of the three are guaranteed to be back in a Pistons uniform. Wood and Henson are unrestricted free agents while Maker will either be an unrestricted or restricted free agent, depending on whether the Pistons make him a qualifying offer.

Related Story. What is next for Blake Griffin? An in-depth look at his future in Detroit. light

Blake Griffin was already out for the year with an injury by the time of the Drummond trade. He prefers to play power forward but could serve as a small-ball center. Of course, there are a lot of trade rumors swirling about him, so he is not a lock to return either.

Who will be the starting center for the Detroit Pistons is a very open question at the moment. Besides players from last year’s team, the fast approaching NBA Draft plus free agency will also offer candidates for new general manager Troy Weaver.

In ascending order of probability, here are our top five candidates to be next year’s Pistons center: