After squeaking their way into the NBA Playoffs last season, almost nothing has gone right for the Pistons. Not only has the team dropped 25 of it’s first 39 games in 2019-20, but Detroit’s been hit hard by the injury bug, specifically in the case of Blake Griffin. Once regarded as one of the league’s brightest young stars, Griffin’s contract now seems like an immoveable albatross that the Pistons’ will almost surely regret trading for. The 30-year-old had shot just 35.2% from the field prior to undergoing what’s likely to be season-ending knee surgery and, in the process, he essentially sent Detroit down the path of a rebuild.
With that in mind, let’s break down some of the Pistons’ possible roster options as we inch towards February’s trade deadline.
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Update, Jan. 27: There’s been plenty of trade talks surrounding the Pistons leading up to the deadline on Feb. 6. But things have shifted from Drummond over to Derrick Rose, who has drawn interest from both the Sixers and Lakers recently. It seems Rose’s resurgence this season should land him in greener pastures with a contending team. D-Rose is in the midst of one of his best stretches ever, scoring at least 20 points in 12 straight games. Rose would be a very strong addition in a bench role, but can also be used as the starting PG given how effective he’s been on offense this season.
— Ben Zweiman
Update, Jan. 20: Slowly, the Pistons are getting back into the playoff picture. It’s by no merit of their own, but Detroit has been less bad than the teams it is competing with. The Pistons have won four of their last six games, which looks good compared the Brooklyn Nets, who have lost four in a row and eight of their last 10 games. The Pistons have moved to within three games of the final playoff spot, potentially making them think harder about being sellers at the deadline.
Update, Jan. 16: The Pistons aren’t getting significant offers from teams in Andre Drummond trade talks, failing to see a first-round pick in any package thus far, per The Athletic’s James Edwards III.
Edwards goes over some teams who make sense for Drummond and other that don’t. In the article, he adds that the Pistons are only getting expiring contracts in any potential offers for Drummond. Obviously Drummond is a high-caliber center and one of the best — if not the best — rebounder in the NBA. Problem is his salary is high and the Pistons don’t have much leverage considering Drummond’s contract has one season left and the salary is $28.7 million.
Update, Jan. 10: — Apparently Andre Drummond is drawing interest from a number of teams and one of those teams is ... the New York Knicks? This coming from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
This is a bit surprising considering the Knicks shouldn’t really be buying considering how bad they are, but they also think they can draw free agents to New York every offseason. Still, the Knicks do have some appealing assets, including draft picks and R.J. Barrett. It’s just an inquiry, so this could just be nothing. We’ll keep you posted though.
Andre Drummond on the Move?
The trade winds have been swirling around Drummond for the past couple of weeks, with various outlets connecting the big man with Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Toronto. The diversity of those possible landing spots truly speaks to the divide within the league on what exactly the big man’s value actually is. Drummond currently leads the NBA in total rebounding rate at 26.6%, something he’s managed to do in three of his prior seven seasons in the league. However, Detroit’s possesses a worse net rating with Drummond on the court (-4.0) than off it (-1.7) so far this year and his inability to space the floor is definitely a red flag. In fact, the 26-year-old has attempted 92.8% of his shots within 10ft. of the rim in 2019-20.
If Drummond were to be traded, the ripple effects on the Pistons’ lineup would be interesting from a fantasy perspective. While it’s unclear which contracts would have to be included in a prospective deal, Detroit would likely be looking for draft capital as compensation, meaning it’s roster could look relatively similar. In such a scenario, the roles of Sekou Doumbouya and Christian Wood would expand astronomically, which is notable for the latter, considering Wood is averaging 20.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per 36 minutes this season with a .657 true shooting rate. Could his G League success transfer over?
What About Derrick Rose?
One of this deadline’s more surprising trade assets is Rose, who seemed to be on his way out of the league just a few years ago. The former MVP has built off the success he managed in Minnesota in 2018-19, averaging 17.8 points and 5.7 assists with the Pistons in a mere 25.3 minutes a night. Rose is the exact type of piece that many teams would be looking at to bolster their rotation going into the playoffs, a proven scorer who can create his own shot and also facilitate to some degree. The “Lou Williams mold” if you will. Additionally, Rose is in the first-year of a very affordable two-year contract. Still, it would appear that Detroit wants to hang on to the veteran. According to Bleacher Report, the Pistons will not move Rose unless he specifically asks to be dealt. We’ll see if they hold steady in that claim as we approach Feb. 6. With Rose’s injury history, it might be a good idea to ship him out at his highest value point in some time.