The Detroit Pistons eked out a victory over the Charlotte Hornets, who now account for 40 percent of Detroit's wins this season.
The Pistons pulled the old switcheroo at the last minute before the game and announced that Cade Cunningham wouldn't be playing despite listing him as probable for two days before. The Pistons love playing Lucy to our Charlie Brown, constantly pulling the ball away after promising this will be the time they won't.
But Detroit did get Monte Morris back, who showed what he'll add to this team in just 11 minutes of play, which is solid 3-point shooting, assists and no turnovers. Hopefully, he'll soon be flip-flopping minutes with Killian Hayes, though, to Hayes' credit, he was on the floor in clutch time last night and made two key passes that set up crucial 3-point shots.
The Pistons have now gotten three of their five wins against teams that made a trade the day before, as they beat Toronto after the Anunoby trade, the Wizards after the Muscala/Gallinari trade and now the Hornets after they jettisoned Terry Rozier for a draft pick. Maybe playing bad, depleted teams is the cheat code they've been looking for.
It was the two veterans, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, who led the way for the Pistons last night, which illustrates the dilemma they have as the trade deadline approaches.
The Detroit Pistons' veteran dillemma
The Pistons have clearly played better since adding two competent veterans to their bench, something fans have been complaining about all year after Troy Weaver blew $20 million in cap space on Joe Harris.
This is why it will be difficult for them to trade their two best veterans, Bogdanovic and Burks, at the deadline without getting a significant return.
The two accounted for 49 points last night, hit key shots down the stretch and spaced the floor beautifully during a 4th quarter run flanked by rookies Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser.
What Burks and Bogdanovic provide is going to be hard to find on the free-agent market, which is the Pistons' big challenge: How do they get better by trading away the exact kinds of players they need?
I don't envy Troy Weaver, who is under pressure to improve his roster now but has limited ways to do it (his own fault) that don't involve punting away two useful veterans for future hope.
If the Pistons are going to trade these two, Weaver had better have a plan on how he is going to use the assets he gets in return, otherwise, he'll just be setting the team back again in the name of hope and upside.