The Detroit Pistons have all 15 of their roster spots filled. But, when you look at it by position, the players are ill fitting. Something will have to happen to correct the imbalance.
It was nice to see some unknown players get a chance in Summer League to stand out and put themselves in a position to be considered for a roster spot.
A by-product of the Detroit Piston benching everybody who really mattered after a couple of games, was it gave opportunities for players like guard Charlie Moore and wings Stanley Umude and Jules Bernard to get lots of playing time in crucial situations.
It is nice to find some possible ‘diamonds in the rough’, but it does not help you if there is no place to set the diamond.
The Pistons currently have 15 players under contract for this season, plus the 2 two-way players are also signed: Buddy Boeheim and Braxton Key.
Now, one spot will open up when the Kemba Walker buyout goes through officially, which should be fairly soon. Media reports say Kevin Knox will be taking that spot but who knows? It might be left open to give general manager Troy Weaver additional flexibility to make moves.
Another reason to keep Detroit’s options open involves the salary cap. Even though the Pistons made two cap-soaking deals with the Knicks so they could sign Jalen Brunson, they still have more open cap space than almost any other NBA team.
But the biggest sign that the Pistons are not done wheeling and dealing is simple, look at their roster. Position-wise, it does not make sense.
Why Detroit Pistons roster needs to get balanced
Yes, the NBA is going to more ‘position-less’ lineups but there is just so far you can stretch it. You don’t want Steph Curry guarding Joel Embiid and we don’t want Marvin Bagley III bringing up the ball and running the offense.
Let’s keep it simple in breaking down the roster: wings, post players and guards. We will not count Walker or Knox in the breakdown nor the two-way players.
Guards: Cade Cunningham, Saben Lee, Cory Joseph, Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks
Wings: Saddiq Bey, Hamidou Diallo, Isaiah Livers
Post players: Isaiah Stewart, Kelly Olynyk, Jalen Duren, Marvin Bagley III, Nerlens Noel.
There is a bit of wiggle room in the positions. Cunningham can play a wing at his size and Diallo can play guard with his athleticism. But two things immediately stand out:
- Geez, the Pistons have a whole lot of centers and guards, more than can possibly play.
- Detroit is really thin at wing.
The center part really stands out. In an undervalued position in today’s NBA, the Pistons have a lot of big guys. How on Earth is a young guy like Jalen Duren going to get any experience? And none of the post players, except Olynyk and (maybe) Stewart, who is learning, can make an outside shot.
And the biggest need the Pistons had entering the off-season: three-point shooting, was not really taken care of.
Of the new additions, only Burks has shown to be a consistent threat from the three-point line. That is not going to move the needle much for a club that was 29th out of 30 teams on three-pointers last year.
Simply put, this roster, as currently constructed, does not work. You would have players used to regular minutes bitching about playing time, too many bigs on the floor, not nearly enough shooting to space the floor and, if Bey got hurt, nothing really to replace him with.
The team would be a mess. Things will need to change.
So when do we see the trades?
In the perfect situation, coaches like to have their rosters basically set by the start of training camp. In the hectic world of the NBA, there is little time to hold real practices once the season starts, so camp is the only time coach’s can really teach the players their system.
Although the official date is not yet announced, usually training camp begins in mid-September. Undoubtedly, coach Dwane Casey has told Weaver that, if he is making more moves, try to have them completed before training camp.
That gives Weaver two months to work on things; get rid of some guards and centers maybe, find some shooters, add some wings. That is plenty of time for him to accomplish it, look what Weaver did in a couple of hours during the NBA Draft?
The Pistons roster needs tweaking. If we can see it, so can Weaver and Casey. So you can look forward to more moves to be made.