Is it time for the Pistons to tear it down?

Garrison Ritts, Staff Reporter

In today’s National Basketball Association (NBA), one is either competing for a championship or not; there is very little in between… unless you are the Detroit Pistons, who have been fighting mediocrity since trading for Allen Iverson in 2009. At the time this article was published, the Pistons have not been up to par to say the least, starting out 8-14 in the first 22 games of the 2019-20 NBA season. That record is good for ninth in East. The question is, should they ride out the storm or just tear it down? Detroit has been in NBA purgatory since the legendary 2004 championship team and could probably use a restart button after failing to win a playoff game in over ten years. 


Tanking for Anthony

           The Pistons are projected to land a high draft pick in the upcoming draft. University of North Carolina (UNC) Point Guard Cole Anthony is likely to go in the top five. Anthony in four games is averaging 20.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UNC. The Pistons have a lot of uncertainty at the point guard position between the inconsistent Reggie Jackson (whose contract is set to expire at season’s end) and Derrick Rose, who is effective off the bench, but cannot play big minutes due to injury concerns. Landing Anthony would be a great starting piece to start this rebuild. Now the draft lottery is a mixed bag and no team is guaranteed a top pick. The New York Knicks (17-65) were by far the worst team in the league last season but only ended up with the third overall pick and the New Orleans Pelicans won 33 games and still landed the first pick. LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards are also projected to go high in this year’s draft and could be possible targets if the Pistons land a lottery pick.


Breaking up the band

         6x All-Star forward Blake Griffin is entering the wrong side of 30 and is due over $100,000,000 by 2022 (including if he accepts his $38,000,000 player option in 2021). Trading him now while his value is still high would get you the best chance to land legitimate assets for your rebuild. Griffin is worth by himself at least a solid young prospect, a decent role player, and a future first round pick. Ridding themselves of that huge contract will also give them cap flexibility moving forward. Pistons star center Andre Drummond headlines free agency this coming offseason and is not expected to accept his $28.7 million player option. 

“Yeah, it should be fun,” Drummond said in an interview at a special event for New Britain Highschool ( “I’m excited. I think I’m the only one that has a big contract coming up for the year.”

 Why not trade him while you still can instead of letting him leave for nothing? Granted Piston’s owner Tom Gores loves Dre and is likely to try to keep him in the Motor City, even if it means overpaying the bigman and possibly crippling all cap flexibility for years to come. But this whole article is hypothetical so let us say for the sake of the rebuild, we trade Drummond to a team looking for a starting center (teams that come to mind are the Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, and Atlanta Hawks). Drummond could net you another prospect, and first round pick to stash.  Reggie Jackson and Langston Galloway are both off the books after this year along with Drummond. 


Now what? 

       With all the big name guys out of the way, what are we left with? After trading Griffin and Drummond, you should have quite a stash of extra draft picks, along with few prospects. The Pistons would also have a nice bit of cap space to work with. Even only hitting on one or two of these picks could move them a long way into long term success, adding that to young prospects already on the team like Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard, and Bruce Brown. Now, all of this is extremely unlikely under the current regime in charge of the Pistons. However if they fail to reach the postseason this year, do not be surprised to see some changes.