Detroit Pistons: It’s time to end the 2-big lineup experiment

Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images)
Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images) /

Many a Detroit Pistons fan has lamented the two-big lineups Dwane Casey used in order to provide minutes for Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley III, and James Wiseman. The jokes about Troy Weaver’s love of centers began when he turned the roster over in his first couple of months as general manager and in order to accumulate draft picks, salary cap flexibility, and talent, found himself paying a plethora of centers.

Although several of the first glut of bigs were traded or waived, the situations have more in common than it appears. Weaver didn’t trade for MB3 and Wiseman in order to build a coherent roster. He traded for them in order to add talent, either to develop into a future piece of the core or to create flexibility for future trades.

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Dwane Casey, whose job was never easy with the Detroit Pistons, played the two-big lineups in order to give young players time on the court. He did his best to deploy the players well, to hide their deficiencies and help them play to their strengths.

That often didn’t work. The balance on the roster was simply awful, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence when a team is rebuilding.

With two new draft picks, a wing and a guard, and a healthy Cade Cunningham, the days of two centers sharing the court should be over.

The Detroit Pistons need to trade a center

I don’t expect to see both MB3 and Wiseman on the roster to start next year. One of the two will need to go, depending on what other teams see as more valuable: a backup, athletic center on a reasonable contract for two years or an athletic center with more upside, who might cost a little more in the long run but is a restricted free agent at the end of the year.

It’s possible both players are moved as the Pistons take on bad contracts for assets. When introducing the rookies, Weaver mentioned he wasn’t overly concerned about moves in free agency. I expect he’ll look to develop the core he has and build assets to continue adding talent to the roster.

During the next few weeks, the two-big era will come to an end.

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