Detroit Pistons: Could Stanley Johnson be the next rehab project?

Stanley Johnson #5 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Stanley Johnson #5 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have had recent success turning around the careers of underperforming lottery picks. Could former Piston Stanley Johnson be next?

I can almost hear the collective “NOOOOOOOOO!” coming from Pistons’ Twitter but hear me out.

Stanley Johnson is an unrestricted free agent after this season and there are some compelling reasons he might come back to Detroit.

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The reasons are Jerami Grant, Josh Jackson, Delon Wright, Mason Plumlee and hopefully Dennis Smith Jr.

These are the players who have found new life in Detroit, headlined by Jerami Grant, who went from role player to star since coming to the Motor City.

Josh Jackson was a former #4 pick who looked like he might be out of the league until the Detroit Pistons took a chance on him. He is now a valuable contributor and the Pistons’ best bench player.

Delon Wright and Mason Plumlee have always been decent but are having career years under Dwane Casey, who deserves a lot of credit for what is happening in Detroit even though they are not winning.

Could Stanley Johnson be next?

Detroit Pistons: The case for Stanley Johnson

If you are loath to see Johnson in a Pistons’ uniform again, I can’t blame you. His first stint in Detroit was not a success, especially considering the Pistons took him 8th overall when they could have had guys like Devin Booker and Myles Turner.

But there are some signs that the problems that plagued him in Detroit might be going away, namely his terrible shooting.

Johnson is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range this season, albeit on a low volume and he is averaging nearly a steal a game in only 14 minutes.

The NBA is a league dominated by big wings and guys who can defend them. Johnson has always shown he can be the latter but has never had enough offense to keep him in a rotation.

He is still relatively young, will likely be on a minimum deal and has the size to be a defensive asset for the Pistons. If he can continue to shoot the ball at this level, then he might have  place in an NBA rotation, either way it would be another low-risk move that could pay off for Troy Weaver.

The Stanley Johnson era was not a happy one for Detroit but a lot of players come around slowly and he could be one of them. Detroit has never been a free-agent destination but could become the home for rehab projects to breathe new life into their careers.

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