The NBA off-season is almost to an end and what the Pistons did this summer had me thinking a lot about what their plans are moving forward. After free agency concluded, I don’t believe what the Pistons are saying they are doing is the same from what they are actually doing. I believe that Blake Griffin and maximizing his window were never apart of the Pistons plans in the first place.
Now, before you tear this apart, let me try to explain this. I first considered this after Ed Stefanski and Dwane Casey justified their draft choice in Sekou Doumbouya. Leading up to the draft many of us were led to think that the Pistons were taking someone who would be ready to play now. In fact, Cameron Johnson was a fan favorite during the pre-draft process.
Cam Johnson is 6-foot-9, shot 46 percent from 3 and averaged 16.9 pts and 5.8 rebs. He's a catch-and-shoot threat and defense/ball-handling are question marks.
At 23, he won't take years to fit into the roster. Stefanski talked about maturity and fit.
Cam checks many boxes.
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) June 19, 2019
Rod Beard talks about what the Pistons are looking for in a prospect and how Cam Johnson fits that.
They took Doumbouya, someone who is considered a massive project. Stefanski said that they didn’t think he would be at 15 after they saw him work out. Fortunately, he was there for the Pistons management. So, it makes sense to stray away from their “plan” to get a player of his potential.
Our two second-round picks were confusing as well. Deividas Sirvydis and Jordan Bone are both players who have high upside but are both not ready to step on an NBA court. I know, that most second-round picks have this description. Although, Stefanski was able to find second-rounders who contributed year one in last years draft.
Why? Why would the Pistons’ front office make us think that we are going for NBA ready prospects and then turn around to do the opposite? It doesn’t fit with the plan of maximizing Blake’s window.
Free Agency confirmed my suspicions. We grabbed two veterans that both can indeed help right away, but also brings in something else. Good mentors. Derrick Rose is someone who came into the league relying on his pure athleticism, something Jordan Bone shares a similarity too. Markieff Morris could also help a lot with the development of Doumbouya and Maker.
🌹Watching these Derrick Rose highlights on repeat the rest of the d̶a̶y̶ summer. 🌹 pic.twitter.com/q77O4i6RWJ
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) July 7, 2019
A little Rose hype, to get you through this article.
Finally, to my point. To win now with Blake Griffin isn’t the plan. I’m 100% convinced that the plan is to develop the surplus of young talent. While at the same time being competitive to some extent. Our plan is to build a contender by hitting on one of these players. One of these players that could become a superstar talent, possibly Doumbouya.
Dwane Casey did say that he was open to doing a rebuild when he was being considered for Head Coaching jobs. The Pistons hired Casey before hiring a general manager. So, we have to assume whatever GM that we hired had to have the same vision Casey had when it comes to building a team.
You’re probably asking, why not just trade Blake and grab better picks? I think Tom Gores steps in the way of that. Gores wants a team that is competitive, a team that can be respected. The NBA has proven that you don’t need top 5 picks to get stars and the Pistons are testing that theory.
What does this mean for Russell Westbrook?
I don’t think this takes Westbrook out of the picture. I do think there is one possibility where we could end up with Westbrook and still stick with the philosophy of keeping our young talent.
If we added Westbrook, arguably, the Pistons could become top 3 in the East. It makes sense to pull the trigger on this. The East will only be weak for so long. The Pistons potentially could be better than the Nets without Durant. The Heat with Butler as a lone wolf. The Celtics with Kemba and Tatum as their core. Probably neck and neck with Philly. And a Milwaukee mishap away from a finals appearance.
That is all speculation though.
I could go into all of the stats that are pro-Westbrook and anti-Westbrook, but all of that has been said.
Westbrook could be toxic and ruin everything that we have been building. On the other hand, he could come to Detroit and embrace the situation as Blake did. Better his game and better his play style. There is no guarantee.
What would a trade have to look like for Detroit to take the risk on this?
If Detroit can find a way to keep Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown, Svi Mykhailiuk all while trading for Westbrook. They will pull the trigger. At most, a trade would be similar to this.
Reggie Jackson, Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Khryi Thomas, Two First Round Picks
For my trade machine fans out there.
Then the Pistons would turn around and trade Langston for a tall wing and sign Matt Costello to play small minutes as a backup big.
This way the Pistons can be competitive in the East while keeping a good amount of their young core. The Thunder can clean out Westbrook’s contract and get two young pieces to develop themselves.
I don’t think the Thunder could get a better offer than that. They could just choose to keep Westbrook and build around him themselves.
In this scenario, Gores stays happy with a “contender” in the East and in 2-3 years the Pistons can hand down the reigns to Sekou Doumbouya. Hopefully living up to his potential, making the Pistons a once again respected franchise.