Next summer is everything for Troy Weaver with the Pistons

Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The last thing fans of the Detroit Pistons want to hear is “wait until next year.”

We’ve been hearing this for four years and running, and after a 2-9 start, “next year” looks like it may never come. Reminds me of the old “Free beer tomorrow” joke at bars, as it’s perpetually today when you walk through the door and tomorrow never delivers its promise.

There is a vocal segment of the Pistons’ fanbase that thinks Troy Weaver should be fired now, citing his inability to put a team on the floor that has made any progress in the win column.

But context matters, and for me, you can’t completely judge this team until we see it all healthy at the same time. However, it’s completely fair to debate some of his recent moves and wonder if this team might have survived all of these injuries had they used their cap space more efficiently.

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So I am stuck between the FIRE TROY people and the BELIEVE IN TROY truthers who sometimes have a slight cultish feel (sorry, it’s true).

I think injuries have bought Weaver some time and that he should be allowed to see this thing through, but next summer is it, as everything is set up for him to build the roster he wants, and there won’t be any excuses if he doesn’t.

It’s time for Troy Weaver to build the Detroit Pistons into a real team

The injury to Cade Cunningham set the Detroit Pistons’ rebuild back a season, as last year was pretty much a wasted one with the franchise player on the bench. The same can be said for this season so far, as the Pistons have had as many as seven rotation players on the injured list, including all of their key veterans. Young teams don’t win in the NBA, so losing those guys has been huge, even though most of them are role players.

Despite what some might think, the Pistons have a nice collection of young talent with Cade Cunningham, Ausar Thompson, Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Stewart and Marcus Sasser and if you squint hard enough at times this season you can see the start of a very good team.

Weaver has done a good job collecting young talent, few would argue that, but he has failed to put the right veteran players around them, continually pushing his cap space into the future and taking chances on high-ceiling busts.

The Detroit Pistons have six players coming off the books next summer, so Weaver will once again have copious cap space to use on free agents and trades. It’s not a great position for the Pistons to be in, as a desperate GM is a dangerous one, but at some point Weaver has to try and use his cap space to actually build a team.

With his young core in place, this will be his chance to put the right veterans around them and he has to get it right. Unfortunately, the free agent crop is not great past the top and most of those guys would never sign with the Pistons and are likely to stay with their current teams.

It’s not going to be an easy task for Weaver, who has to make the right calls on who stays and who goes while adding significant talent to this roster, proven talent, not more draft picks and flyers on first-round busts.

He’s got his coach, he’s got his core, so now Weaver has to build an actual team that makes sense on paper, complements Cade Cunningham and isn’t just a stop-gap until “next year.” It’s hard for me to imagine Tom Gores firing Weaver during the season, so he’ll get one last shot at this, but it truly will be the last if he can’t build the roster he’s been promising for four years and counting.

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