Pistons deadline trade with Knicks looking good for Detroit

Jan 15, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks (5)
Jan 15, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks (5) / David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Weaver has taken plenty of heat for some of the moves he has made as GM of the Detroit Pistons.

I had a go at him after his baffling buyout of Mike Muscala, which put the cherry on top of a sundae of bad moves that started with trading for Marvin Bagley III in what ended up being a crime against asset management.

But you have to give him credit when one works out, and it appears his flurry of trade deadline moves could benefit the Detroit Pistons.

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After releasing both Danilo Gallinari and Muscala, the Pistons trade deadline mainly revolved around swapping out veterans Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks for Simone Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes, though Fontecchio came in a deal with Utah and Grimes in the deal with the Knicks.

While the Pistons have looked better with their new pieces, the two veterans in New York are not having the same success, though that could certainly change.

Alec Burks with the New York Knicks

Burks has not been good in his eight games with the Knicks so far. We knew both he and Bogdanovic were going to have smaller roles with the Knicks, as New York already had a good team and wouldn't be leaning as heavily on them as the Pistons had to.

We expected their counting stats to go down with fewer minutes and fewer opportunities, but Burks is only playing three fewer minutes per game, and his scoring has dropped more than four points per game, from 12.6 to 8.5 since joining the Knicks. It's his shooting that will concern New York, as Burks is hitting just 31 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range.

Look, Burks is a streaky shooter and had stretches like this in Detroit before going on tears from 3-point range and I expect that will happen with the Knicks, but so far, he's had a poor shooting run in New York.

Bojan Bogdanovic with the New York Knicks

Bogdanovic has watched his minutes slip from 32 to just 23 with the Knicks, not surprising considering they are built around defense and he doesn't play any. Bojan is still shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range, down slightly, but hitting just 41 percent of his shots overall, down from 46 percent and that's with fewer attempts.

His scoring has dropped from just over 20 points per game to 13, which you would expect now that he's not a featured option. But when you factor in his below-average defense, it's hard to say he's been a positive for New York, which many of their fans have pointed out in angry rants.

The Knicks defense has fallen off a cliff in the last 10 games, while the Pistons have improved on both ends. Part of this is because the Knicks have a ton of injuries right now, but this graphic is telling:

Simone Fontecchio on the Detroit Pistons

Fontecchio wasn't directly traded for Burks or Bojan, but he's the guy who took Bogdanovic's spot in the rotation.

Since joining the Pistons, Simone is playing five more minutes per game and his scoring has gone up from 8.9 to 15 points per contest.

He's shooting 48.8 percent overall and 42 percent from long range. Possibly more importantly, he's not a sieve on defense, so he's been a net positive for the Pistons, as Bogdanovic can't defend the wing.

If the Pistons can retain Fontecchio on a reasonable deal, this will be one of Troy Weaver's best acquisitions via trade, as he fits with the core and has given them a boost on both ends.

Quentin Grimes on the Detroit Pistons

Grimes hasn't played enough with the Pistons to form much of an opinion as he's only made three appearances thus far.

But he's in the mold of what Detroit needs, as he is a very good defender who can knock down a 3-point shot. He's also not terrible off the bounce (though he should not be the primary initiator) as we saw in the controversial loss to the Knicks.

I love his future fit with this team and he and Fontecchio are far better defenders than Burks and Bogdanovic, which the Pistons needed more than shooting.

We know Burks and Bogey can get hot, and if one of them wins the Knicks a key playoff game, they won't care about losing Grimes. The two teams are in far different positions with the Knicks trying to win now and the Pistons building towards the future.

But it looks like a rare win so far for Weaver, who does deserve some credit for making impactful changes at the deadline.