Detroit Pistons: The 9 players who may need to go before next season

Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have completely rebuilt their roster over the last few seasons and they no longer have any players that Troy Weaver didn’t acquire himself.

They have some exciting young talent to build around in Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, and a couple of guys in Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart who look like they will be quality role players at least and you could probably talk me into Isaiah Livers being in that group if he can ever stay healthy.

They have two veterans who fit the young core in Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, but beyond that the Detroit Pistons need some big upgrades. They have nine players who have already shown that they are not part of the future or still have a lot to prove, so we could see even more roster churn this season and next offseason via trades and free agency.

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Whether it is through poor performance or fit, there are nine players on the current roster who may have to go before next season starts.

Detroit Pistons: The “pack your bags” group

This is the group of players that the Detroit Pistons absolutely must upgrade if they are going to compete next season, as none of them are making an impact.

  • Nerlens Noel (Player option)
  • Hamidou Diallo (Unrestricted free agent)
  • Cory Joseph (Unrestricted free agent)
  • Kevin Knox (Team option)
  • Rodney McGruder (Unrestricted free agent)
  • Braxton Key (Restricted free agent)
  • Buddy Boeheim (Restricted free agent)

Out of this group, only Nerlens Noel or Cory Joseph might have some slight value on the trade market, but other than that, Detroit will likely just let all of these guys walk or decline their team options.

Diallo is fun to watch sometimes, but you have to be able to provide something offensively to be in an NBA rotation unless you are an elite defender, which he isn’t. CoJo is fine for what he does, and of this group, I could see him to be the one to come back on a veteran’s minimum, especially if Dwane Casey is still the coach.

Knox is too inconsistent and he and McGruder are pretty much wasting roster spots. Braxton Key is a 25-year-old “prospect” and Buddy Boeheim does literally nothing that is worthy of being in a G-League rotation, much less an NBA rotation.

None of these players are playing big roles or doing much off the bench, so the Detroit Pistons definitely need some upgrades to guys who can actually get on the floor and do something. If I were Troy Weaver, none of these players would be returning to the Pistons next season.

The “prove it” 2

These two players have flashed talent at times but have major flaws and may not fit with the core of the team. They still have plenty of season to show that they belong, but if not, they could both be playing somewhere else by next season too.

  • Marvin Bagley III (Signed through 2024-25)
  • Saddiq Bey (2024 restricted free agent)

Marvin Bagley III does one thing pretty well, which is score around the rim, but he’s pretty much below average at everything else. He’s also a tweener without a real position, as he can’t defend either big spot effectively, doesn’t shoot well enough to be a stretch and isn’t an efficient rebounder, especially on the defensive end.

I’m not sure where he fits on a roster that already has two better, younger players at his position. MBIII hasn’t been terrible for the Pistons by any means, but he isn’t a great fit, especially when they need big upgrades on the wing and defensively. MBIII is one of three players eligible to be traded on December 15th, and though I don’t think the Pistons will be shopping him, they should listen if anyone calls, even if it means taking on a player who wasn’t as talented but was a better fit.

It hurts me to write this about Saddiq Bey, as he is one of my favorite players of the team and has an attitude and work ethic that embodies everything the Detroit Pistons are supposed to be about.

But how does he fit on this team moving forward? It’s possible that his 26 percent shooting from 3-point range this season is an anomaly and that he will turn it around like he did last season. But he’s a slow forward who can’t defend very well, isn’t a good rebounder and is currently one of the worst volume 3-point shooters in the NBA.

If he can morph into an efficient bench scorer, there is a place for Saddiq Bey with the Pistons for sure, but so far that has not happened and he doesn’t do enough of anything else to make up for it.

There has already been talk of trading Bey this season, though it would definitely selling low on the forward, so I can’t see it happening unless the Pistons found a deal they couldn’t pass up, but he’s a guy who has to prove he can fit into this roster moving forward.

Either of these two guys could be fits and have the talent, so it will really just come down to what the Pistons do with those other 5-7 roster spots.

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