Detroit Pistons 2021 Offseason Outlook


Overview


The Detroit Pistons completed the 2020-2021 NBA season with a record of 20-52 which placed them at 15th in the Eastern Conference and 29th in the league. Troy Weaver took over the Pistons and did not take it slow, surprising everyone last offseason and showing the league that he isn’t afraid to make moves to improve this team. Signing Jerami Grant turned out to be an instant success with Grant thriving in his larger role. Mason Plumlee proved to be a worthwhile investment at the center position and the three draft picks the Pistons moved tons to get are showing some serious development in their first season. Despite having the worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons showed that they are well on their way back to the playoffs in the seasons to come. This offseason looms as another crucial one in Detroit after winning the draft lottery and holding the first overall pick in one of the best rated draft classes in years. While they don’t have a lot of roster space to play with in free agency, don’t expect the Pistons to be quiet this offseason especially after last year. Troy Weaver will likely be a very busy man trying to kickstart this rebuild.


Salary Cap


Currently, the Detroit Pistons have 9 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2020-2021 season. They do not have any team or player options, but they do have some non-guaranteed salary to decide on. Cory Joseph’s contract is largely unguaranteed, and it is very likely he is waived prior to free agency as well as Rodney McGruder and Tyler Cook. Dennis Smith Jr and Hamidou Diallo are both restricted free agents with bird rights, and it is very likely we will see these players return to the Pistons next season. Frank Jackson and Saben Lee are both two-way free agents and are also likely to be on the roster again. The Pistons’ only unrestricted free agent is Wayne Ellington and due to his age and the up-and-coming guard depth in Detroit, it is unlikely he’ll be back next season. The Pistons will likely have cap space this offseason if they waive Cory Joseph and will be able to make some small moves in free agency to solidify their depth. They will also have the $4.9 million room exception available to them.


Depth Chart 2020-21 Season–

2021 NBA Draft


The Detroit Pistons will have the 1st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and are in prime position to draft the next superstar of the NBA to their rebuilding roster. The consensus number one pick in this draft is Cade Cunningham, a 6’8” guard out of Oklahoma State, and it is almost impossible to see the Pistons drafting anyone else at this spot. Cunningham looks to be a superstar in the making with nearly every mock draft out there projecting him at the top of this draft. He is an incredible offensive player who can get his own shot while making plays for others. He raises the floor of every team he is on and has a unique ability to make his teammates better. He is also projecting to become an all-defensive team type of player on the other end of the floor. He will bring a lot of attention to Detroit and will help ease the load on players like Jerami Grant and Killian Hayes. The Pistons will also have several second-round picks in this draft. They will likely target at least one big man with solid upside with these picks as they could use some extra depth in this area moving forward. A player like Charles Bassey, a 6’10” big man out of Western Kentucky could be the perfect guy for them to take a chance on.


Free Agency


The Detroit Pistons will enter free agency with likely a small amount of cap space to play with. They will start by using their bird rights to bring back Hamidou Diallo and Dennis Smith Jr on multi-year deals. After this, they will be looking to add at least one key role player to improve their weak areas. What the Pistons need most is some floor spacing as they were one of the worst shooting teams in the league last year. An ideal free agent for them to sign would be Doug McDermott from the Indiana Pacers. McDermott can help add some shooting and some depth at the forward position and is well within their price range. He also fits the timeline of the Pistons’ rebuild quite well being only 29.


Summary


The Detroit Pistons are one year into their rebuild with a new GM at the helm, a GM that is not afraid to make drastic moves to make his team better. The 2020 offseason proved to be a chaotic but successful one for the Pistons and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2021 offseason brings something similar. The Pistons also have the top pick and the chance at drafting a future superstar in this draft which should make all their fans excited about the next few season. Look for the Pistons to be a competitive and exciting young team in the 2021-2022 NBA season.


Projected Depth Chart 2021/22 Season –