DETROIT, MI – The Detroit Pistons are on pace to set the franchise record in least amount of wins in a season. The ominous mark of 16 wins for a full season was set by the 1980 squad that had just introduced ‘Trader Jack’ McCloskey as general manager. They finished with a winning percentage of just 19.5%, but the current 2024 team is threatening to beat that mark. At 12-59 they’ve only won 16.9% of their games.

To make matters worst, what was once a promising outlook to not set the record has spun into a 5 game losing streak. This, after a 3-1 stretch before losing rookie Ausar Thompson and Isaiah Stewart for the season.

With 11 games left in the season avoiding setting the franchise low in wins would be a consolation prize. But at this point all focus should be aimed at not repeating any of the last 3 seasons.

Change Now

Fans are on edge and souring on Troy Weaver’s rebuild attempt. This in addition to nearly 16 years of hopeless basketball, makes it important to capitalize this offseason.

No more of the rebuilding.

No more trying to figure out the core. Which has changed multiple times during the Troy Weaver era.

No more chances taken on project players who didn’t work out else where.

No more trades that bring in 3, 4 or 5 new players that wouldn’t crack an NBA rotation on a good team elsewhere.

It’s time for the Pistons to do right by their supporters and the young players like Cade Cunningham who are giving their all.

The Pistons will have $61.3M in cap space, the most in the NBA, and another top draft pick to work with this summer.

And with that comes some big decisions that will need to be made.

The Draft

Firstly, do you the Pistons use the top draft pick for a shot at another cornerstone piece? Or do they trade it in hopes of bringing in more NBA ready rotation players?

Where it get’s very interesting is if the Pistons secure the top pick with the opportunity to draft French star Alex Sarr. The 7’1” big is billed as an athletic and versatile defender who plays more around the rim on offense. He plays with an aggressiveness in the paint that’s not present on the current Pistons.

Yes, I know Jalen Duren is on the current team. And for everything I like about the 6’10” big man, consistent paint aggression is the area he NEEDS to improve.

So with the opportunity to draft Sarr, the most difficult choice is how does that mesh with Jalen Duren? Will Sarr need an adjustment period to the NBA or will his perceived traits translate early enough to help the team improve?

Do you try to play them together or bring Sarr off the bench? A lot of questions to be answered, but it highlights the potentially difficult decisions ahead for GM Troy Weaver.

This is what leads me to hoping they search every possible trade option available for their top draft pick.

Free Agency

The Pistons have the most cap space available for free agency. But the thought is this won’t be a strong class of available free agents. There will be some definitely able to upgrade the talent base with, but Cunningham is in desperate need of a co-star.

Tobias Harris has been rumored as a Pistons target since the trade deadline and could be an option during free agency. He wouldn’t bring star power, but does provide a steady shooting hand and experienced scoring that would pair well with Cunningham’s game.

DeMar DeRozan and Paul George are free agents both top 25 in scoring that the Pistons could sign for the right dollar amount. If they’re a good fit is another questions. But with how poorly the current young core has gelled to this point, it might not matter as much.

A Big Man via Free Agency?

The Brooklyn Nets’ Nic Claxton is in line for a big pay day as potentially the best rim protector on the market. Claxton sports a defensive rating of 111.4, 2 blocks and nearly 10 rebounds per game in 29.6 minutes. He also chips in 12 points and almost 1 steal per game. The issue here, much like Alex Sarr, would be his fit with current big man Jalen Duren. Where Sarr is known to be working on adding an outside shot to his game, that is not part of Claxton’s. He’s projected to command a contract with a yearly value of $21M. Not bad for the production and upside. But it may take more to retain his services with the Nets hoping to bring him back.


This trade market could be a more viable path for the Detroit Pistons free agency approach. There’s two ways things could go with the Pistons acquiring players into their cap space other teams seek to dump. The other option is breaking up the coveted young core not named Cade Cunningham. But to bring in a player of star caliber would take at least 1 young player and the Pistons 1st round draft pick at the minimum.

Assuming the Pistons are willing to pay the price there could be a few players available.

Lauri Markannen

Markannen’s name was brought up in trade rumors around the NBA’s trade deadline. That means the versatile stretch-4 may be a viable trade option this summer. But he’s not the only outside shooting big man that the Utah Jazz may be open to trading.

John Collins

If the asking price for Markannen get’s too high, Collins wouldn’t be a bad option. There’s been concerns about consistent defensive effort, but his rating is 113.5. Just a few points off from Claxton and a couple points better than Jalen Duren. He’s also shooting just shy of 36% from behind the arc.

What makes Markannen and Collins attractive options is their power forward fit with Duren, who is a center. Where as Nic Claxton and Alex Sarr play similarly to Duren.

Brandon Ingram

The New Orleans Pelicans star has had a checkered injury past, but his talent is up for no debate. Ingram’s flat out a star. He’s also been brought up in rumors as a potential trade candidate should the Pelicans seek to break up the star duo he forms with Zion Williams.

Ingram turned down his first attempt to sign a contract extension for the hopes of being able to earn a larger pay day. But are the Pelicans willing to bring the star wing back despite his medical past? It should be something that concerns prospective teams like the Pistons who could seek to trade for him. But at this point, having Ingram for 60% of the season would be a huge boost to the talent base of the Pistons.

Cade Cunningham Matters

The numbers for Ingram, Harris, George and DeRozan could be sky high, but the Pistons have the capital to support. And they have a need for players that can step in right away and taking the scoring load off of Cunningham.

Cade Cunningham ranks in the top 30 in NBA scoring and continues to stymie defenses aimed at stopping him. The whole point of the “Restore” rebuild was to find young pieces worthy to build around. Not to just hand young players the reins because of draft position and let them drive. For the first few years of the rebuild it’s been an understandable strategy. But with the Pistons inching closer and closer to Cade Cunningham being up for extension, it’s time to properly build around him.

That may mean some of the young core takes a back seat to incoming free agents, and trade targets. Or that some of the young core is traded to accelerate the rebuild.

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By Published On: March 24th, 2024Categories: Detroit Pistons, NBA, Podcasts, Trending News, Uncategorized

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