Why the Detroit Pistons should waive Saben Lee this offseason

Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons already have a full roster though they are not likely finished making moves.

They still have a number of needs, including shooting and depth at forward, so it is possible they will make additional trades or even waive someone from the current roster.

The most likely player is Saben Lee, who is owed just $1.7 million next season and then has a team option for the season after that, so it wouldn’t kill the Pistons’ salary cap situation to let him hit the waiver wire and try to find a better situation.

This is not just a knock on Lee, who played well in the G-League last season but has yet to have it translate to the NBA. But there are a number of reasons why he is the guy the Pistons should let go.

Detroit Pistons: Saben Lee hasn’t made progress at the NBA level

While Saben Lee might look like the second coming of Isiah Thomas in the G-League, that has yet to translate to NBA success.

The 23-year-old has averaged the exact same number of minutes per game in his two seasons so far and his numbers actually got worse in season two.

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Lee can only really defend and play one spot, a tough position in which to be in the modern NBA that favors wing players who can defend multiple spots on the perimeter.

Lee has not improved as a 3-point shooter (actually got far worse, dropping to 23 percent last season), so he just doesn’t have a clear fit on a modern NBA roster.

Where is Saben Lee getting minutes?

The Detroit Pistons only won 23 games last season but I still don’t see any way Saben Lee is going to get minutes next year, even on a roster this young.

He has at least three guys ahead of him on the depth chart, and would basically be sitting on the bench or in the G-League most of the season anyway, wasting a roster spot that the Pistons could use on a guy who could actually crack the rotation.

Without a slew of injuries, I see no realistic path for Lee to see his name on the depth chart, especially after the Pistons added two more guards to go with Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes.

The Detroit Pistons have other needs

The Pistons lack depth at the forward position especially the four where they are likely to have tweeners who aren’t really power forwards. They only have Hamidou Diallo backing up Saddiq Bey on the wing and could use another guy there as well.

Detroit also desperately needs shooting, which Lee does not provide, so if they could replace him with a guy like Isaiah Roby, they’d be potentially helping two needs at once.

Lee has played hard for the Pistons and won over some fans with his hops and energy, but he just isn’t a fit on this current roster, so it may be time to bid him a fond farewell.

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