Pistons news: Detroit should "not plan on winning next year"

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Everyone thinks they have an idea for how to fix the Detroit Pistons. 

Some think the time for patience is over, that the Pistons need to make some kind of dramatic move this summer to shake up a roster that has been the worst in the NBA for two straight years. 

Others want a more measured approach, to add a couple of good free agents, keep building around the young core and run it back with a better supporting cast, much like the Houston Rockets did last offseason. 

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But there is still a group not interested in any of that, who think the Pistons are still miles away from being good and should be collecting assets instead of foolishly trying to win a few more games. 

That group is currently being led by Sam Vecenie from The Athletic, who didn’t hold back in his assessment of the Pistons in a recent episode of The Pistons Pulse podcast. 

Vecenie thinks the Pistons are still a long way from being competitive and that they should be looking to take on bad contracts in exchange for draft assets and tanking away another season for more hope in the 2025 NBA Draft, which has more hyped star power: 

"I would want to be more deliberate with how I build this roster. Like, I would want to rent out cap space for picks. I would be willing to, like, take the Ben Simmons deal... if they (the Nets) were willing to give me pick capital for it, right, or if they were willing to give me an asset for it. I'd be willing to take certain deals that are shorter term in order to try and build my asset base — which by the way, the Pistons are still out one future first-round pick potentially.

It doesnt seem like ownership and the people that are in charge want that. I understand that, theyve been bad for so long. ... I would be more deliberate I think than what the Pistons will be this summer, and I would not plan on winning next year is what I would say."

So, does he have a point? Should the Pistons be “building more deliberately” and not planning to win again? 

The deliberate approach for the Detroit Pistons 

I don’t know how much more deliberate this team can be when it comes to building their roster around Cade Cunningham, who Vecenie loves and thinks will be a top-15 player. 

You could argue that Detroit hasn’t drafted or taken on a single player other than Simone Fontecchio who is a real fit with Cunningham, so deliberate doesn’t really capture just how slow this process has been. They’ve been in talent collection mode without regard for fit for four years and so far have one player who looks like a star and a bunch of question marks. 

I understand the idea that the Pistons are bad and still need draft assets, but how long can this go on? How long before the fans tap out? How long before Cade Cunningham asks out? 

If they don’t land Cooper Flagg next season, do they do it again? Which current middle schooler are we expecting to save this team?  

I do understand Vecenie’s point and don’t totally disagree with it, this team is probably further away than we would like to believe, but at some point, these young players have to learn how to play, have to do something other than lose if they ever want to climb out of this hole. 

While I don’t think the Pistons should waste money on big free agent contracts of guys who aren’t going to move the needle (Tobias Harris), they have to put a better cast around Cade Cunningham. They have to try to win at some point or they are going to look up and see that the only prize they have for all of this tanking is a top-15 player for another team.