I hope it”s not breaking news that the Pistons selected PG Brandon Knight from Kentucky at #8, SF Kyle Singler at #33, and big man Vernon Macklni at #52 in the NBA Draft last night. At the Pistons draft party, Joe Dumars indicated that he expected all three to contribute and alluded to the positions that they will play. At first glance, we filled all three of our biggest needs: a) PG more pure than Bynum and Stuckey with range, b) SF that brings toughness that Austin Daye may lack, and c) big man capable of playing center and banging in the post. Unexpectedly, we acquired these players in an order that was reverse of the expected.
Anybody with an ounce of sense can see that the Pistons still have need for a rotation-worthy big man, and are offering up one of SGs Richard Hamilton or Ben Gordon. The most obvious targets are any of the four preexisting big men on the Utah Jazz: PFs Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors and FCs Al Jefferson and Mehmet Okur.
I argue that we hold off on that trade.
The trade values of Gordon and Hamilton were low before, if not negative, and now every team in the league knows that we need to unload at least one of our high-paid guards. We need to play both of them heavy minutes and provide them with enough shots to get their values back up. Similar to how Don Nelson’s Golden State Warriors and Phoenix’s Mark D’Antonio used to push the ball and “artificially” inflate their players’ stats, the Pistons should hire a coach that is willing to run and employ small lineups. When you have many weaknesses and are not able to mask them, you may as well play up your strengths, that being our backcourt.
Here is the three-deep, nine-man lineup I suggest:
PG Brandon Knight/Rodney Stuckey/Will Bynum
SG Rodney Stuckey/Ben Gordon/Richard Hamilton
SF Richard Hamilton/Austin Daye/Jonas Jerebko
PF Jonas Jerebko/Charlie Villanueva/Jason Maxiell
C Greg Monroe/Ben Wallace/Vernon Macklin*
That team may seem undersized (because it is) but it’s the best way to give minutes to the players that need and deserve them. Ben Gordon needs to be allowed to create his own shots and shoot with a green light, and Hamilton needs to have plays ran for him off of curls, both as the #1 or 2 option at all times on the floor. This is the best way to convince other teams that our 12.5 and 11.6 million dollar men are worth trading for without major incentives (draft picks, young prospects, taking back a bad contract).
This team would have to have to rely on Ben Wallace for reasonably heavy minutes until a younger center is acquired, and all three of Ben and Jerebko and Monroe are going to have to focus the majority of their efforts on rebounding and finding bunnies for themselves.
Tomorrow I’ll detail why Lawrence Frank is now the man for the job after our new additions…yet there’s still a place for Bill Laimbeer. Stay tuned.