The playoffs revealing free agents the Detroit Pistons should avoid

Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers
Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

There is a debate raging among fans of the Detroit Pistons, with two distinct camps emerging. 

One group thinks the Pistons should hold onto all of their young players and just supplement their roster with the best free agents available, a strategy employed by the Houston Rockets last offseason. 

The other thinks the Pistons should use some of their young players and draft assets to make a trade for a more impactful player, as free agency is not great, and they’ll likely have to overpay to get anyone. 

I tend to fall into the second camp, as overpaying for mediocre, past-their-prime free agents has never been a good idea unless your team is on the cusp of a title and you can get a player to help get you there. 

Related Story. Realistic or unrealistic? Fan trades and free agents for the Pistons. Realistic or unrealistic? Fan trades and free agents for the Pistons. dark

There are two free agents the Pistons have long been attached to whose playoff performances are showing exactly why Detroit should avoid them in free agency. 

Detroit Pistons free agency: Buddy Hield 

The Pistons need shooting, so it’s natural that they’d be mentioned as possibility for unrestricted free agent Buddy Hield, who is one of the NBA’s greatest shooters. 

Hield is one of the best high-volume 3-point shooters in NBA history and rarely misses games, which are qualities the Pistons could use, but other than that, he doesn’t offer much. 

Hield can’t defend, which is why he has barely left the bench in three playoff games for Philly, scoring one basket in the trio of contests.  

The Pistons are far from a playoff team, but should they be pursuing big-dollar free agents who are unplayable in the playoffs? I can understand the people who would say, “You have to get there first,” but Hield is going to cost upwards of $20 million per season for a one-dimensional player who can’t defend, which sounds quite a lot like the guy they traded for last season. Hield is better and far more durable than Joe Harris, but he’s headed in that direction. 

At 31 years old next season, is Hield going to make a much bigger impact than Alec Burks did for the Pistons? At least Burks was cheap, which Hield won’t be, and like Burks, can’t get off the bench in the playoffs. Hard pass. 

Tobias Harris 

Harris is another guy who has flopped in the playoffs, averaging just eight points per game for Philly so far. This is a small sample size, and we know Harris is a solid and consistent player, but is that worth $30 million a year? 

Harris is now the 3rd or 4th option on a good team, perfect for a team like Philly who already has their two stars in place. How’s that going to work in Detroit? Harris would be the Pistons secondary scoring option behind Cade Cunningham, a role he is not suited to fill at this stage of his career. 

This would be eerily similar to the Pistons trading for Bojan Bogdanovic, who was their second scoring option but can barely get off the bench for a good team. How long is Detroit going to continue to put past-their-prime veterans around Cade Cunningham and expect things to change? 

You can get Harris’ level of production far cheaper. I’d rather have a player like Obi Toppin, who shot over 40 percent from long range, is still young and won’t be making as much money. 

Can you honestly tell me that switching out Bojan Bogdanovic for Tobias Harris or Alec Burks for Buddy Hield this season would have made a meaningful difference? The Pistons would be better off doing nothing than overpaying for mediocrity and losing all of their financial flexibility for a few more wins.