The Detroit Pistons aren’t often a name that comes up in discussions of superstar players in free agency or on the trade market.
But it only takes the right stars and some winning to change that, as we’ve recently seen with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Like the Detroit Pistons, the Bucks are not in one of the glamorous cities on the coast that have beaches, warm weather and no state income tax to entice players.
But it only took them drafting a two-time MVP in Giannis Antetokoumpo for that to change, as Milwaukee just landed the offseason’s biggest prize in Damian Lillard.
It has become an inevitability that stars will eventually try to get to their preferred destinations, but this recent Lillard trade went against that and is good for small-market teams like the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit Pistons: Lillard trade a win for small-market teams
Small-market teams can keep their stars
Damian Lillard has played his entire career for small-market teams, as he has spent all of it so far with the Portland Trail Blazers and is now with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Of course, Lillard wanted to go to Miami, one of the teams that always seems to be in the mix for the top guys, but the Bucks swooped in at the last second and got him.
There is no guarantee Milwaukee will win titles with the Lillard/Antetokoumpo duo, but it makes it much more likely that Giannis sticks around and signs an extension with the Bucks.
With small-market teams often forced into trades when their stars want to go to LA or Miami, it was nice to finally see one go the way of the little guy.
And it shows that not all superstars are eyeing the coasts, as Giannis is perfectly willing to play his entire career in Milwaukee as long as they show they can keep winning.
Landing your star, building the team around him and never getting complacent are the keys to keeping them around and that is exactly what the Bucks have done.
The Detroit Pistons hope to have this same problem with superstars of their own someday and both Dame and Giannis are good examples of how you can win without forming superteams on one of the coasts.
I was happy to see Lillard end up in one of the smaller markets, as it shows that these teams can compete for titles as long as they are well run.
The Pistons hope they have their superstar of the future in Cade Cunningham, now it’s just a matter of letting him develop and building a sustainable winner around him. It’s no easy task, but if the Bucks can do it, so can Detroit.