The present state of the Detroit Pistons has been fairly depressing of late, so I prefer to keep my head in the clouds and think about the future.
There is no doubt that Detroit has some exciting young players in Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart and even Killian Hayes is starting to look like he’ll at least be a competent backup.
But one area in which they are sorely lacking is wing defense. We’ve talked about this all season (even before the season started) and it has just gotten worse, as the Pistons’ two main forwards (Bojan Bogdanovic and Saddiq Bey) have the worst and third-worst defensive ratings among NBA forwards, respectively.
The Pistons are a crossroads of their rebuild, as they try to decide the correct amount of development vs. roster overhaul that is necessary to finally make this team competitive.
Another team with decisions to make is the Toronto Raptors, who are surprisingly just 11th in the Eastern Conference with an 18-23 record even though most people picked them to finish in the top-5.
They have won two in a row, but the season is in its second half, so there isn’t much time for them to turn things around and make a run at the playoffs. If the Raptors fail to make the playoffs, they may need to make some changes themselves.
Which leads to my wild hypothetical. Let’s play a game of what if.
Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors: What if…
What if the Raptors do end up out of the playoffs, would they blow things up or try to move one of their parts to do a soft rebuild? Both Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. could be free agents after this season and both are going to want raises, particularly VanVleet, who is holding out for a max deal.
What if the Raptors wanted to stay competitive but get a little younger (and cheaper) in the backcourt?
What if the Detroit Pistons land the number two pick in the 2023 NBA Draft? Scoot Henderson looks like a prospect who is too good to pass on, so would the Pistons then trade one of their young guards?
So in this hypothetical, the Raptors miss the playoffs, want to do a soft rebuild around the backcourt and the Detroit Pistons land Scoot Henderson in the draft. What if…