6th Man of the Year candidate could be Pistons' free-agent target

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons will have plenty of cap space this summer, but they have to decide whether they want to go star hunting or spread it around to multiple role players. 

There aren’t many stars available in free agency, so if the Pistons can’t find the right trade, they may use the free-agent period to target complementary role players who may not qualify as stars but are solid NBA players who impact winning. 

One such player is Malik Monk, who was recently named a finalist for the 6th Man of the Year award and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

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Monk is the right age, has some of the skills the Pistons covet, and it sounds like he is going to test the open market, at least according to his teammate D’Aaron Fox, who talked as if Monk were already gone: 

Given that the Pistons have more cap space than any other team, they are going to be connected to every unrestricted free agent out there. I’ve heard a lot of fans talking about Monk as a possibility, but does he really make sense? 

The Detroit Pistons and free agent Malik Monk 

Monk is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard coming off his best season as a professional for the Sacramento Kings, who were bounced from the play-in tournament. His 15.4 points and 5.1 assists per game were enough to make him a finalist for 6th Man of the Year. 

The Pistons do need an upgrade at shooting guard, but it’s not nearly as dire as their needs at wing, power forward and backup center. 

There’s then the issue that Monk isn’t particularly efficient, as he shoots just 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from long range on 5.9 attempts per game. These numbers aren’t a huge upgrade from either Jaden Ivey or Marcus Sasser. 

Monk starting with Cade Cunningham does make some sense, but would he get exposed in a bigger role? Pushing Ivey to the bench (if they don’t trade him) with Sasser could be problematic defensively, so there is an argument that if the Pistons are going to pursue another guard, it needs to be someone with size who can defend. 

Monk is about to get a substantial raise from the $9.9 million he made this season (especially if he wins the 6th Man award), so It's fair to ask if the Pistons should be investing heavily in a position where they already have similar players when they need so much help elsewhere. 

I love Monk in the 6th Man role for Detroit, but not at the expense of upgrades at forward, which are more crucial this offseason. He’ll be an interesting one to watch, as he is a solid player who would improve the overall talent level, but he’s not the greatest fit unless the Pistons make other moves.