At this point Detroit has two directions to go in, either trade away Rose & Griffin for draft picks, giving young guys some room to grow, or they can make the best of Blake’s huge contract that has become more of a liability at this point than an asset and make a playoff push.
In the 2018-19 season we saw how Blake’s loss in athleticism was replaced by improved ball-handling, playmaking, and shooting, allowing him to maintain his All-NBA caliber play.
While the Blake we got back this season was not the same, putting up 15pts, 3ast, and 4rebs on bad efficiency & 2tovs, he was rushed back from an injury he had suffered late in the 2019 season, which later put him out again for the rest of the year after he decided to have surgery.
With Blake on a huge contract (36.6M$ + 38.9M$ P/O), his value as a player has gone down with his old age, injury history, and contract.
All of these variables basically make the 31 year old Griffin untradeable, unless the Pistons are going to settle for something similar to what they got in return for Andre Drummond.
With Blake basically stuck on the roster, a quick reset back to the playoffs with a young team is unlikely.
So, in my opinion the best thing to hope for is Blake to return to All-Star form and build a team around him, which shouldn’t be too hard for Detroit to do…
The Pistons already have the pieces, and with the developmental opportunities the newly announced second bubble may bring, they might be able to pull it off.
First of all, the draft pick. At a 30%WP the Pistons have the fifth highest odds at the first overall pick.
With such high odds, they likely won’t drop outside of the top ten, where they should be able to select one of LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton or Killian Hayes to become the new starting point guard, being backed up and mentored by a veteran Derrick Rose.
On the wings they should be set with plenty of options and versatility, likely having Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Svi Mykhailiuk, Tony Snell and re-signing Langston Galloway to bring a mix of defense, playmaking, and shooting.
At the four they have two very different players, as mentioned Blake Griffin, who can realistically be anywhere in the rotation next year, and a young Sekou Doumboya, who showed a lot of promise towards the second half of the season when he got more opportunity.
I would like to see the team sign someone like Marvin Williams just to bring a reliable veteran presence off the back of the bench, as well as bring back John Henson to get some minutes.
Finally the most difficult thing to project, and in my opinion the make-or-break of the Pistons’ season next year, Christian Wood.
Wood is projected to be one of the biggest names in the 2020 free agent class, and while Dwane Casey dug him out of the G-League and gave him new life on a cheap contract, that contract will be much bigger next year.
With plenty of space under the Hard Cap, Detroit should be able to retain him, but other teams like the Knicks or Hornets in need of a big with more cap space and owners willing to throw around money might try to steal him away.
Wood was spectacular after the All-Star break, with his numbers rising to 24pts, 9.5rebs, and 2ast on great efficiency with more opportunity and the starting job.
With his modern ability to play off-ball and stretch the floor out, he becomes a great compliment to Blake Griffin even as a 17ppg scorer. To me, not re-signing Wood diminishes Detroit’s playoff chances, as he was a great piece as the season ended.
If the Pistons perform well and the new front-office is able to pull this off, I think Detroit can make a 2019 Nets/Clippers type run, with most of the roster over-performing to put together a team effort and make the playoffs.
This will be a very difficult thing to do, but I feel like the young players have finally come into their own, and the new front office is looking up.
My big roadblock would be Dwane Casey. Casey gave many a sour taste as they watched the players he was giving opportunity to and how he was neglecting young players.
Sekou, Svi, & Christian were getting the same amount of minutes as Markieef Morris (now on LAL) & John Henson. Yes, these guys are young, but with Blake injured any playoff appearance was clearly out of the picture.
To even be able to bring in Wood, Williams, Henson, & Galloway, Detroit’s owner will have to go even further over the salary cap than they already are, which being in Detroit & considering the current situation the world is in he may be unwilling to do.
With so much of the cap taken up by Rose, Snell, & Griffin, the Pistons don’t have much money or free agent appeal to work with. Not to mention Wood put out a tweet a few weeks ago saying “I want to win,” leaving most of us wondering what to think.
I personally think that with new Pistons GM Troy Weaver being quoted as saying “As long as Blake is in a Pistons’ uniform, I look forward to working with him. He’s in our plans moving forward,” Christian may be optimistic in the Pistons’ chances moving into next season.
As a fan I would much rather see us be a competent team than tank as Blake sits on the back of the bench to rot away as he collects his cash, but I look forward to see what Troy Weaver has in store for the franchise.
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