Pistons news: Overrating vs. Underrating Detroit's prospects

Los Angeles Clippers v Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Clippers v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons just completed the worst season in franchise history, but depending on who you ask, you’ll get conflicting views on the future. 

Some fans believe the Pistons are stacked with young talent, with four players destined to be All-Stars. They want to hold onto and develop the youth and wait patiently for the day when they all peak at the same time. They are scared to move any of the young players in a trade or “give up” on them too early, a mistake the Pistons have made in the past. 

Others think Detroit is bereft of talent and the only way to get it is by trading away some of the young players for proven ones. They think the Pistons should sell high on their middling prospects before the rest of the league figures it out and their value plummets. 

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So, who is right? 

Risk of underrating prospects for the Detroit Pistons 

We know the risk of underrating your own guys as we’ve seen it before. Players like Khris Middleton and Spencer Dinwiddie were shipped out before they got a chance to prove themselves and then went on to have successful careers elsewhere. There are enough of these guys that I was able to write an article about seven players the Pistons gave up on way too soon. 

Taking back a non-All-Star for a player who then becomes one can set back the franchise and leave holes at the exact places where you had answers, which happened with Middleton, as the Pistons have been looking for a 3-and-D wing ever since. 

Most players aren’t in their peak form until at least 25 years old and some later, so giving up on guys in their early 20’s is a surefire way to give away a future star. 

Risk of overrating prospects 

For me, the consequences of overrating your own guys is far riskier than the alternative, as we recently saw with Killian Hayes. 

If you trade young players while they are still unknowns with “upside,” your reward will be much higher than waiting to find out it isn’t true. Just ask Killian Hayes, who was given endless chances but ultimately all he did was show everyone that he isn’t good. The Pistons had to cut him and got nothing in return. 

If the Pistons were to trade a player like Jaden Ivey this summer, they will get something substantial in return, especially if he is packaged with other pieces. Even if Ivey goes on to be great someday, they’ll at least reap something from him now. 

Wait too long to move him and suddenly the shine is off the fancy new toy. Another season like this, and Ivey’s “upside” is going to be reevaluated and he may not be worth much more than a couple of second-round picks, that’s how quickly perception changes in the NBA. 

So few players end up being stars that the odds are in your favor if you trade a young player away, so the Detroit Pistons can’t overrate their own guys or they could end up with a team full of 25-year-olds that no one wants, including them.