I slept early on day 1 of the NBA Free Agency. Rookie mistake, I’m sorry. I had a good reason, one you will never know.
But when I slept, the stamps were just finished bringing Josh Jackson home. They hadn’t yet handed out a stack to Jerami Grant, hadn’t yet brought Delon Wright to throw up on the backfield, they hadn’t unleashed any Detroit Pistons fan with Josh Smith flashbacks using Stretch Provision yet.
But falling asleep when I did, strangely, helps me put the list of wholes in context this morning. Although the individual moves throughout the extent of the bowel reaction, it is all not as bad as some of the reactions I read this morning made me believe.
This team looks very different than we all thought they would. By and large, these important roster building points are still quite true:
This list is not playoff quality
This is the most important thing. This list is not good enough to make it to the playoffs, not even in the Eastern Conference (as spoiler alarms will get tougher this year), though we will be completely healthy, All-NBA caliber Blake Griffin left.
Blake Griffin could be as good as he was in 201
If this is not a playoff team – and it is not – then it is a lottery team. And the lottery is more forgiving of “winners” than it has ever been. I want to remind you all (again) that the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft were New Orleans (coming out of a 33-win season) and Memphis (coming out of a 33-win season). The Charlotte Hornets had about 35 wins last season and were rewarded with a top-3 pick in the lottery (And with that top-3 pick, they got the player who most said was the best talent in the draft).
Teams have much less incentive to create a list designed to win 19 games so the stamps do not. Troy Weaver said he would not preside over a rebuild, and although I think he could have gotten away with it from a fan appetite perspective, he did not.
This list is full of marketable assets
The watch list is full of a number of asset types, most of which are movable as individual pieces.
Are you trying to trade a lot of pay? The stamps have Blake Griffin and Jerami Grant. (My big Jerami Grant Take is that if Western Conference Finalist Denver Nuggets were willing to offer him the same deal as Detroit – which was reported by Denver media outlets – then he might not be as overpaid as everyone thinks.)
Are you trying to trade a medium-sized deal? What about Delon Wright? What about Mason Plumlee? What about Derrick Rose? How about any of these guys plus a Dzanan Musa to get into $ 12 million dollars? All of these players make similar money in different years, I’m sure Detroit has something you like.
Do you just want some cheap filler? The flasks have Josh Jackson and Jahlil Okafor at veteran minimum. Tony Bradley earns less than $ 4 million and was / is a very useful backup center.
In the past, it was hard for the Stamps to make deals because they paid guys like Reggie Jackson more than anyone else was willing to. Team could not take a cheap fly on Reggie Jackson, because to get him you had to put something worth about $ 15 million in the deal. Now, if you want to make a deal with Detroit, they have the flexibility to offer you good contract values to do so.
This list is nicely built for life after Blake
Some true statements: Blake Griffin owes $ 74 million over the next two years. He plays the same position as the Pistons’ latest major signing of free agent and their 2019 election in the first round. The last time we saw Blake Griffin after an extended period of injury repair, he was an All-Star and All-NBA level player.
These statements make many of us, including myself, believe that Blake Griffin will not be a stamp forever. And if you wave a wand and turn Blake Griffin into a useless pile of contracts and traction choices, rotation without him makes a TON more sense:
|Position||Point Guard||Shooting guard||Small forward||Power forward||Center|
|Starter||Derrick Rose||Hele Mykhailiuk||Save Doumbouya||Jerami Grant||Mason Plumlee|
|Bench||Killian Hayes||Delon Wright||Josh Jackson||Saddiq Bey||Tony Bradley|
|Depth||Delon Wright||Dzanan Musa||Saddiq Bey||Jahlil Okafor|
(You trade Derrick Rose, and things get even clearer, but I think it’s less likely right now.)
Blake Griffin is the most talented player on the Detroit Pistons list. His presence is the only thing that makes people think that this team is something that is approaching competition. Finding a place for Blake (who could just “wait for teams to see him healthy”) is the last piece of this list puzzle. Replace him with auxiliary pay and a first-round pick, and the image most fans had in their heads of a Pistons team rebuild clicks into place.
This team has to defend, play hard and run in transition (when the kids play), but gets talented most nights. They have few sources of consistent shooting, though you’d think Saddiq Bey would step into the league with a 38% three-point shooter. They added several shot formations, but the bulk of this addition comes from a rookie point guard.
In the end, Troy Weaver said he wanted to build a team that would compete every night, and so far he has. It’s not the same as building a team that wins every night, which the stamps certainly are not.