Through the first four games of the season, it’s obvious the Detroit Pistons could use another floor spreader and secondary scorer.
Luckily, they will get one back eventually when Bojan Bogdanovic returns from injury, but in the meantime, the Pistons were hoping that veteran Joe Harris would provide some kind of shooting spark off the bench to compensate.
Troy Weaver decided to punt his $30 million in cap space this past offseason, instead using it to take on the expiring contracts of Harris and Monte Morris, a potentially pragmatic financial move that underwhelmed the hopeful fanbase and did little to help the Pistons in the present.
I wasn’t angry at the move and am still not, as the free-agent group wasn’t great and the Pistons would have had to shell out huge money to land an impact one, but you have to wonder if Troy Weaver could have at least gotten one veteran player who could help the Pistons now.
The Pistons have $30 million in wasted space
So far the Pistons have gotten next to nothing from the two veterans they used all of their cap space to acquire.
We weren’t expecting a ton out of Joe Harris, but he has looked washed, averaging under two points per game so far and shooting just 20 percent from 3-point range. Again, it’s not like we expected Harris to score 20 a game, but I at least thought we’d see some short stretches where he got hot and gave the team a boost off the bench, which has not happened.
Harris hasn’t been able to get himself open, and with a lack of other shooters on the floor, teams aren’t going to give him any space. If Harris isn’t getting shots, he’s a negative, as his defense is bad and he doesn’t create for anyone else.
The other $10 million is wrapped up in Monte Morris, who has yet to play for Detroit and will miss at least a couple more weeks with various injuries.
It’s fair to wonder if Weaver should have spent that money elsewhere, as there were useful and inexpensive free-agent veterans out there like Torrey Craig, who signed for $2.5 million per season and can at least give you rotation minutes. He’s shooting 45 percent from 3-point range for the Bulls off the bench and can actually defend.
I liked the trade for Morris, and still do, as he can still play and could be part of the future, but Harris is looking like sunk cost and the Pistons could have taken on another cheaper veteran without any long-term financial obligations in his spot.
The second-round picks acquired for Harris don’t seem worth the waste of a roster spot.
But it’s not all bad news
The good news is that Morris will be back and he’s going to help this team. His steady hand should help Detroit’s massive turnover problem (2nd-worst in the NBA) and he’ll give them another shooter off the bench.
Although Harris looks cooked, it’s improbable that he will shoot this poorly, and at some point, he will likely give the Pistons a big game. The even better news is that after Bojan Bogdanovic comes back, Harris likely won’t leave the bench.
I’m not going to kill Weaver for this move four games into the season, but the Harris trade was suspect right away and it does feel like the Pistons could have spent that money more wisely and got a player who could help them without sacrificing much future cap flexibility.