The Detroit Pistons are struggling mightily this year, and changes following them are coming. The Pistons saw their record losing streak extend to 17 games following their 110-101 setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Despite the Pistons sitting with a 2-18 record, the organization is preaching patience, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.
NBA Rumors: Detroit Pistons 5 Trade Candidates
In his article, Sankofa cites concern throughout the franchise as no one expected this season to start so badly. The Pistons, who experienced their worst stretch in team history over the last three years, drafted well and did some nice things in free agency. However, early-season injuries have prevented the Pistons from developing continuity and cohesiveness. Bojan Bogdanovic debuted against the Cavaliers, while Monte Morris has yet to play.
Injuries are not Detroit’s only issue. Three-point shooting, getting to the free throw line, fouling, defensive rebounding, and turnovers are among the topics for the Pistons. Transition defense and second-chance points differential are also problems.
Significant Changes Could Be On Horizon
While sources have told Sankofa that ownership is unlikely to make significant front-office changes with so much of the season remaining, but Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press believes that owner Tom Gores will have no choice to fire general manager Troy Weaver if things don’t get righted.
Changes will likely not be limited to the front office. Coach Monty Williams is safe, as he is in the first season of a huge deal. But the Pistons could make several trades.
Who Could Be Traded?
According to Yahoo’s Jake Fischer, the current thinking is that the Pistons will likely part with veterans, namely Alec Burks and Bogdandovic. Bogdanovic was a hot commodity at last year’s trade deadline and will probably be again this year.
Bogdanovic, coming off a career season a year ago, has a year left on his contract but only $2 million of the He tallied 22 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the field, though he was just 3 of 10 behind the arc against the Cavaliers.
Burks will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Known for his ability to score off the bench, Burks averages 10.5 points in 20 minutes a game over 13 appearances this year. But the 32-year-old has not seen more than 17 minutes in the last five contests, shooting just 34% from the field. Still, Burks should be highly coveted due to his scoring and 3-point shooting prowess, as he is a career 38.3% shooter from deep.
Morris is at least a month away from returning from his quad injury. But the 28-year-old point guard projects to be attractive to other teams on the trade market due to his leadership and shooting ability. He is also a solid distributor and possesses excellent handles.
While those three players top the list, a few other Pistons could also be dealt.
Marvin Bagley, Joe Harris and James Wiseman
The Pistons were looking to trade either Marvin Bagley III or James Wiseman before the beginning of the year. They will likely be willing to move either one at the trade deadline. Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, and Harris are others who could be dealt.
Harris has missed the past 13 games due to a shoulder injury. Known for his shooting ability, the 32-year-old wing has struggled in that department this year. He is on an expiring contract.
Bagley has played pretty well for the Pistons this season. The 24-year-old forward has done an excellent job scoring in the low post, protecting the rim, and rebounding the ball. He averages 9.8 points, 4.8 caroms, and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes of action over 19 appearances, including six starts. Bagley, who has one more year on his contract, has seen his minutes fall recently as the Pistons’ are getting healthier.
Wiseman is highly talented and can score and rebound in this league. But his lack of focus and motor is an issue, particularly on the defensive end. The 22-year-old big man, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, has recently started to see more playing time. In his lone start of the season, four games ago, Wiseman scored 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting in 24 minutes.
Jalen Ivey and Killian Hayes
Like Bagley and Wiseman, the Pistons looked to ship out Hayes before the season started but found no takers. Hayes has improved this year, and the 22-year-old French point guard has started 15 of 19 appearances. Hayes has shot the ball decently well, although he struggles from deep. He also has improved his ball-handling and been a menace on the defensive end.
Ivey is the least likely to be traded among the eight players mentioned. Simply put, it would be a massive surprise if Detroit were to ship out their 2022 lottery pick. But as Fischer said in his article, things could change with Williams tinkering with his lineup often.
In the 16 games this season, Ivey made just six starts. Ivey’s minutes are also down, from 31.1 -to-23.1 a game, and his usage rate is also down by 5%. On a positive note, Ivey is shooting the ball better, connecting on 49.6% of his attempts and 34.7% of his 3-pointers.
So, how active will the Pistons be on the trade market over the next few months?