Detroit Pistons: A five-step plan to get back to the playoffs next season

Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against Cory Joseph #18 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have the second-worst record in the NBA right now, so talking about the playoffs next season might be a bit of a pipe dream.

But if you have watched the games, you’ve seen that the Pistons are a talented young team who plays competitively, has a top-12 defense in the NBA and might be ready to make that leap sooner than expected.

I feel that the Pistons will make the playoffs next season if they have a good offseason, which is going to start in just four games.

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There could still be a lot of movement in the NBA Draft lottery odds between now and then, so I won’t venture a guess about where the Pistons will be choosing, but as long as they are in the top five, fans will be happy.

That pick will determine a lot, as the Pistons could get the type of impact talent that could propel them into the playoffs with the right complementary moves.

Here is a five step plan to get the Detroit Pistons back to the playoffs next season.

Detroit Pistons: Step one, cut the fat

Troy Weaver had a great first season, especially when it came to the draft, where he found Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart to add to lottery pick Killian Hayes.

But Weaver also did a pretty good job with trades and free agency, bringing in a mixture of smart veterans who were good mentors, didn’t really block anyone from getting minutes and didn’t take much off the table.

But some of these guys have to go.

The Pistons should cut ties with Cory Joesph, as he is owed $12.5 million if they pick up his contract, far too much for his services. He is the one guy in this group I would consider keeping at the right price. The Pistons will owe him around $2.4 million if they don’t pick up his contract, and if they could get him for just over that, I wouldn’t mind if they kept him.

If he gets a bigger offer somewhere else, so be it and see you later.

They should not bother with Dennis Smith Jr., who has not shown enough to give a qualifying offer to in my opinion, as he might take it and the Pistons would be stuck paying him way too much. No thanks.

Rodney McGruder should be waived before his contract kicks in and Wayne Ellington should be allowed to walk in free agency.

If the Pistons could find homes for Josh Jackson and Jahlil Okafor, they should consider moving them, as they are probably not part of the long-term plans and the Pistons might be able to clear some extra cap space.