2020 Offseason Outlook - Detroit Pistons


Overview


At the suspension of the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Detroit Pistons had a record of 20-46 which placed them at 13th in the Eastern Conference and 26th in the league. The Pistons have had a disappointing season after making the playoffs last year. Blake Griffin has one again not been able to keep healthy making his contract increasingly negative in value. Unfortunately for the Pistons, I do not believe they will be able to move him to another team so it is a contract that they will have to see all the way through. They have unearthed some new young talent in Sekou Doumbouya who they will look to develop into one of their star players moving forward. The other positive to come out of this season is that Detroit finally made their rebuild official by trading Andre Drummond to the Cavaliers in a salary dump to avoid either paying him or losing him for nothing in the offseason. The team has started to entertain offers for its older players like Derrick Rose in order to build assets as they enter an inevitable rebuild over the next several years. This offseason the Pistons should look to continue building assets for the future through the draft and free agency while keeping the team cheap in preparation for the packed 2021 free agency period.


Salary Cap


Currently, the Detroit Pistons have 6 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2020-2021 season. They have two players with options for next season. Tony Snell has a $12.1 million player option for next season which I expect him to opt into. Snell has had opportunities as a starter in Detroit and has never been able to develop into a certain starter in the NBA. With the salary cap in questions going into the offseason and with limited teams having cap space, it is extremely unlikely that Snell would be offered a contract worth anywhere near $12 million so he is expected to take his player option and remain in Detroit as a key bench piece. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk also has a $1.6 million team option for next season which I expect to be accepted. Mykhailiuk has had his best season of his early career in Detroit and is expected to be retained on a really cheap team option so he can continue to be a good young asset off the bench. Thon Maker will be a restricted free agent for the Pistons along with two-way players, Jordan Bone and Louis King. The Pistons have five players entering unrestricted free agency. These players are Brandon Knight, John Henson, Langston Galloway, Jordan McRae and most importantly, Christian Wood. Regardless of where the NBA lands on the salary cap for next season, the Pistons project to be one of the few teams with cap space going into free agency. If the salary cap remains the same, the Pistons look to have approximately $28 million in cap space this offseason.


Depth Chart –

Free Agency


The Detroit Pistons will enter free agency as one of the few teams with cap space, however I do not expect them to go after any of the top free agents. They should be looking to sign some cheap young assets as well as some veterans to help their team develop through a rebuilding period. Firstly, they should make retaining Christian Wood their top priority. Wood has been gaining interest from multiple teams since his rise after the team traded Drummond, however, few of the interested teams will have cap space available to sign him. It is expected the Detroit will re-sign him, but they will need to offer him a contract in double figures for him to stay and become their franchise center moving forward. They should also look to bring back some of their unrestricted free agents on cheap contracts in Brandon Knight and John Henson to continue contributing off the bench. The Pistons will need to look to sign a young wing who can provide some defensive support off the bench. I believe they could sign Glenn Robinson III on a relatively cheap contract after his promising season for the Warriors and then 76ers. They will also look to bring back restricted free agent, Thon Maker, as a young asset to come off the bench behind Griffin. Finally, the Pistons should look to bring in some veteran big men like Marvin Williams and Bismack Biyombo to provide some mentorship for they young bigs while contributing off the bench during this rebuild.


2020 Draft


The Detroit Pistons will have the 5th projected pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Pistons will most certainly look to draft with this pick as the begin their rebuild and try to find they star of the future. Due to the relatively weak nature of this draft class, it is hard to predict which players teams will draft at the top as they will most likely make selections based on team need over player talent. With the 5th projected pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons should look to draft LaMelo Ball, a 6’7” point guard out of the NBL in Australia. Ball is an offensively minded guard that possesses an uncanny ability to make incredible passes. He is the ultimate crowd-pleaser and will bring some much-needed positive media attention to this struggling team. There are some questions to be asked about his effort and energy on defence as well as his poor percentage from the field but under the mentorship of former MVP, Derrick Rose, Ball has the potential to thrive in Detroit as they look to the future.


Summary


The Detroit Pistons will enter the 2020 offseason at the start of a rebuild. They are one of the few teams that project to have cap space, but I do not predict that they will go after any top free agents. Instead, I anticipate they will look to build young assets and bring in some key veterans to mentor and contribute off the bench as they start their rebuild. They will make resigning Christian Wood a top priority and will hopefully draft LaMelo ball to be their franchise point guard moving forward. As they enter this rebuild, they will look to build around Ball, Wood and Doumbouya and make a star signing in the future so they can compete in the playoffs once again in a few years’ time.


Projected Depth Chart 2020/21 Season –

Players IN: LaMelo Ball, Glenn Robinson III, Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo

Players OUT: Langston Galloway, Jordan McRae