Trajan Langdon's Draft quote shows harsh reality for the Pistons

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In the 2024 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected forward Ron Holland. The first pick in the Trajan Langdon era was a defensive-minded forward who plays Piston Basketball closer than most of the prospects in the draft, and a prospect the team never worked out. Though fans are divided on the young forward, and rightfully so, his selection was not the biggest takeaway from the draft.

At the press conference following the first round, when asked about drafting a player we didn't work out by The Athletic, Langdon said:

" There were a lot of agents who didn't want to send their players here. Also, staying quiet was a strategy."

Though it was later clarified that agents wanted their clients in a situation with a clear path to minutes, this is a pretty damning statement for a number of reasons and highlights what Langdon's job in Detroit will really be.

Trajan Langdon has to restore more than the roster for the Detroit Pistons

First and foremost, the Detroit Pistons are one of the youngest teams in the league, and it showed on court. Any incoming players know that there will be a large number of players who need developmental time which could impede their playing time. In fact, Holland will be competing with Ausar Thompson and likely Simone Fontecchio for minutes. Agents want their clients to be in the best possible position to succeed, and this is not going to help.

Combine this with a team that doesn't have a set direction and agents will be hesitant. Going into the draft, the Pistons still don't have a head coach and are reeling after the worst season in franchise history. The last thing players need when entering the league is to immediately join a restructuring team that has a long recent history of losing. To be fair, the Pistons need to take on veterans to help the team grow, but that may also be an issue.

Though Langdon's draft statement focused on the players, recent news shows this may go beyond the draft class. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Pistons' free agent targets were Gary Harris, Nic Claxton, and Malik Monk, the latter two have already signed with their respective teams. Though it's possible that they just wanted to stay with their teams, it is within the realm of possibility that the Pistons are not an attractive location for any player. This is the reality for Pistons fans: This is a bad team and a toxic organization.

This is also the reason they hired Trajan Langdon.

At Langdon's introductory press conference, Pistons Owner Tom Gores noted that Langdon's job was more than basketball. It's becoming more and more obvious with every report that the damage done to the Pistons reputation is staggering, and one that didn't start with the previous regime. Detroit is now in a delicate situation where they have to change the narrative around the team, and they have to stat winning games.

Langdon is essentially tasked with rebranding the Detroit Pistons from an apathetic losing organization to a proud championship franchise, but this is easier said than done. Free agents are hesitant, agents are hesitant, and the media is relentless on the organization. While setting a proper foundation on the court, he's going to have to pitch a brand new mentality and organization to every single person who signs with the team and the audience watching.

This is not an enviable job. Everything he's going to do for the franchise for at least the first two seasons is about undoing the previous 15 years of failure, then after that, he can focus on building a proper playoff team. Even if he makes the proper changes to get the Pistons out of the hole, there's also the chance that he's not the President of Basketball Operations who oversees the team's resurgence, if it happens.

Players, agents, and teams are all looking at the Pistons' both short-term and long-term futures, and there's a chance that everyone in the organization is set up to fail. That includes this year's incoming rookie class. Whether it's due to the history or the sheer number of players the team has to develop, it is completely understandable that agents don't want their clients on the team. This is the mess that Langdon has inherited. Now, it's on him to make the change.