Detroit Pistons ranked in middle of pack for offseason moves

Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

Opinions about the Detroit Pistons’ offseason vary widely depending on who you ask, as some fans think it has been a complete dud so far, but others see pragmatic moves that should strengthen team weaknesses.

Detroit dropped all the way to 5th in the 2023 NBA Draft but were still able to land Ausar Thompson before trading up to get Marcus Sasser in the first round. Additions of Joe Harris and Monte Morris in trades didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but Morris in particular is an underrated player who should shore up the guard ranks with his shooting and ability to take care of the ball.

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When it comes to how these moves will affect the win/loss total for next season, the jury is still out, as the most optimistic of us see a 2023-24 season yielding upwards of 30 wins, while sites like ESPN have the Pistons closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

So when ranking NBA offseasons, it makes sense that the Detroit Pistons land in the middle of the pack, as there are just too many unknowns.

Detroit Pistons ranked 15th in the NBA for offseason moves so far

In a recent article in The Athletic (SUBSCRIPTION) long-time NBA analyst David Aldridge ranked the best offseason moves in the NBA.

The Pistons came in at a “meh” 15th, which is hard to argue given that they only won 17 games last season and haven’t made any blockbuster moves so far. They were sandwiched in between the Hawks (16) and Bucks (14), two teams that also didn’t make headlines with their offseason additions.

Here is some of what Aldridge had to say about Detroit:

"“Williams will demand accountability. I would ask, though: Why would any opponent ever leave Harris, given the Pistons’ current frontcourt? And that remains the rub for the Pistons. Yes, Cunningham’s return will help immensely, but Detroit’s offensive numbers, across the board, were abysmal last season…”"

My first response is that I don’t think the Detroit Pistons will be leaning heavily on Joe Harris, as he was more a financial trade than a basketball one. He’ll be coming off the bench with other shooters (Alec Burks, Isaiah Livers, Monte Morris) so should get plenty of looks as the Pistons spread the floor around at least one guard that can create.

Aldridge is right about one thing: If the Pistons plan on using two bigs that can’t shoot, Harris’ impact will be lessened and Detroit will once again be fairly easy to defend in the half court. But there is no indication that Monty Williams will go that route, and it’s much more likely that you see him keep multiple shooters and a playmaker on the floor at all times.

The Detroit Pistons still have a lot of question marks, but their offseason success will be judged far more by the impact of Ausar Thompson than Joe Harris, so we’ll have to wait to get answers.

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