The Detroit Pistons in 2019 made the playoffs as the eighth seed by the skin of their teeth. Due to Blake Griffin’s All-Star season, he was able to carry them just enough to get swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first-round. Griffin only got to play two games of that series, and those two games did not matter. The Bucks steam-rolled the Pistons in every single game, and there was the end of the Pistons regular season.
With a coach of Dwayne Casey and All-Star in Griffin, there was at least some hope in the team’s future. One thing was for sure on the Pistons, they needed more. Everyone knows that Reggie Jackson is not a top-tier point-guard in the NBA. Everyone knows a one-dimensional center in Andre Drummond is not nearly enough to compete in the Eastern Conference. Moves need to be made and talent needs to come to Detroit if they want to be taken seriously.
So what Detroit do this off-season? Well, they signed Derrick Rose as their back-up point guard. Sure he has lost a step, but coming off the bench he was a solid signing who is always looking to prove something. Pistons also got Markieff Morris, a veteran wing-player who shows toughness when needed. They also traded for Tony Snell, who although has some really awful moments can also get hot from three at any moment. As a team that was around .500, surely this should help their team possibly get them a definite sixth to eighth seed yet again.
That has clearly not been the case, they sit at 11th seed in the East (13-24) being 3.5 games back from a playoff spot. And there isn’t just one glaring reason, there are several. First and foremost, Griffin is considering getting season-ending knee surgery, which eliminates their most versatile and well-rounded player. Even when he was playing, he was quite awful across the board. Griffin was shooting 35 percent from the field, 24 percent from three and having career-lows in almost everything. Whether he knew this team had no direction and gave up or was really hurting from his knee injury is hard to tell.
A whole other issue is the Pistons may have the worst young core in the NBA. Outside of Luke Kennard who has looked really good, who is on this team that is impressive? Bruce Brown is not exactly eye-popping offensively speaking. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a solid three-point shooter, and that is about it. Christian Wood is just kind of there, and how many years does Thon Maker have left in the NBA? Sekou Doumbouya just started to get the opportunity to show what he can bring to the Pistons. Many around the league have questioned whether the Pistons have the worst core of young guys in the league. Kennard has carried the team in that regard, but there isn’t any names that stick-out.
Don’t you think I forgot about Drummond and his lack of game he attains. We all know he can rebound, block some shots near the rim and dunk. What else can he do? Drummond still struggles against elite bigs, if you need an example go see his games against the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been turning the ball over at an alarming rate, with 3.6 turnovers a game. That is probably because he is now the best player on the team, and he just can’t be the best player when the game has moved on from his prototype of big-man.
When Casey took this job, he thought he was getting a playoff team. However, this year that isn’t the case. Injuries and lack of talent have made this team’s hopes spiral downward. Griffin will probably be lost for the year, and the focus will be developing the young talent that so far, hasn’t been that impressive. Do they break this team up and ship their best players out? Drummond has been in multiple trade rumors, the biggest one being to Atlanta. Can they get a young talent like Cam Reddish over? Maybe a DeAndre Hunter? Until the Pistons make a decision on what to do with this team it’ll be lots of losing, Kennard enjoyment, and Twitter pages drooling over Rose highlights with captions of “HE’S STILL GOT IT!” and yelling “DERRICK ROSE IS AN ALL-STAR!”