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Grading the Detroit Pistons Eventful 2020 Offseason

The 2020 NBA offseason, as far as the draft, free agency, and trades, has mostly come and gone. It was a very eventful two weeks to say the least. The Detroit Pistons had their fair share of transactions and will be showcasing an almost entirely new roster this upcoming season. In this article I’ll be thoroughly grading each of these transactions in chronological order, including my overall grade on the Pistons’ entire offseason. 

Trading Bruce Brown to the Nets for Dzanan Musa and a 2021 2nd Round Pick

Grade: D

I really hated this trade on the Pistons end, mainly because I really like Bruce Brown. Last season, Brown took a huge step, improving his FG%, 3PT%, and every major stat. He’s a 24 year old that’s shown real potential of being a solid, all around player, and they traded him for a guy that will probably be out of the league in a few seasons and a second round draft pick. Bad trade.

Trading a future first round pick to the Rockets for Trevor Ariza and pick #16

Grade: C

I can’t really give an honest grade on this trade yet, because it still hasn’t been reported the specific future pick the Pistons gave up in it. One thing’s for sure though, the Pistons are not a team that should be giving up any of their future first round picks, especially for a non-lottery pick. This trade could end up being really bad for them, and they won’t even deserve a C for it. As for Trevor Ariza, they later used him as a part of a three team trade. 

Selecting Killian Hayes with the #7 overall pick

Grade: A-

I really liked this pick by the Pistons. They needed a franchise point guard, and they very well could have gotten one in Killian Hayes. A lot of people are high on him, including Kevin O’connor of the Ringer, who had Hayes as the #1 prospect on his draft board.

I like Hayes myself. I think he has a nice all around game, and because of that I think he has a high floor. I feel like the only other guy the Pistons could have gone with at #7 was Tyrese Haliburton. I don’t blame you if you believe that’s who they should’ve taken, I also like Haliburton. Either way, you have to admit that this was a good pick. 

Selecting Isaiah Stewart with the #16 overall pick

Grade: B-

This pick came as a bit of a surprise to me, because most mock drafts leading up to the draft had Isaiah Stewart going late in the first round, and some even early in the second round, so the Pistons taking him at #16 could be seen as a reach. I could see it playing out that way, but as my grade might suggest, I have a feeling it won’t.

If you remember way back when the 2020 mock drafts first started coming out, Stewart was being projected to go in the top 10. Then, after a somewhat disappointing freshman season at Washington, his stock dropped, although I thought he showed some promising things in his lone year.

He had a nice touch around the rim, shot well from the free-throw line, always played with a lot of hustle, was a pretty good rim protector, and showcased his athletic ability. He does need to work on his shot selection around the rim, improve his defensive awareness, and his ability to defend in space, but with his work ethic I would bet on him improving on those things.

One guy that I keep thinking about for a comparison is Montrezl Harrell. I’m not guaranteeing that Stewart will end up like Harrell, but I also wouldn’t be surprised. They both have similar builds, and have similar draft stock stories. Harrell, although a junior at the time, was also a projected high lottery pick going into his final season at Louisville, but his stock ended up falling as the season went along. If Stewart can end up being a player similar to Harrell, I think he has great value for the #16 pick.

Trading Luke Kennard in a 3-team trade to the Clippers for pick #19 and Rodney McGruder

Grade: C-

This was another trade I didn’t like for the Pistons. Again, because I liked the player that they were trading and thought they didn’t get enough in return. Luke Kennard had a good 2019-2020 season, averaging 15.8 PPG, 4.1 APG, 44.2 FG%, 39.9 3PT% on 6.5 3PA, and 89.3 FT%. Keep in mind he was only 23 while putting up those numbers.

Shooters like Kennard are hard to come buy, especially so young. So to trade him for the #19 overall pick and Rodney McGruder who, lets be honest, hasn’t been any good since 2018, is just bad. Maybe the Pistons did this because they didn’t want to have to pay Kennard, but I think that’s a bad move. I would have no problem paying a shooter like Kennard in today’s league. The Clippers will definitely be reaping the benefits of this trade.

Selecting Saddiq Bey with the #19 overall pick

Grade: A

This is the definition of a great pick. Spoiler alert, it’s my highest graded one the Pistons made on draft night. I love Saddiq Bey and thought there was no way he would fall all the way to #19. Most mocks had him going in the lottery, or just outside of it, so for the Pistons to get him at #19 was a steal. If you don’t know about Bey all you need to know is he’s a 6’8” forward that shot 45.1% from three on 5.6 attempts a game in his final season at Villanova, and showed good defensive potential.

No, he’s not a shot creator or great finisher at the rim, but he understands that and doesn’t try to do too much. I almost guarantee we’re all going to look back and wonder how he dropped so far down. Saddiq Bey is what every team wants in a glue guy, and that’s exactly what he’ll be for the next 15 years probably, and make a lot of money being just that. And yes, this pick makes the Luke Kennard trade a little better. 

Trading cash considerations to the Jazz for Tony Bradley and pick #38

Grade: C+

I don’t have too much to say about this trade. If I’m the Pistons, Tony Bradley isn’t really the type of player I’m looking to acquire, considering I just drafted Isaiah Stewart. Although I like the addition of the #38 overall pick. 

Selecting Saben Lee with the #38 overall pick

Grade: C-

Most mock drafts had Saben Lee going undrafted, so to take him at #38 probably wasn’t the greatest value pick. He’s a decently athletic point guard that’s good at attacking the rim and a decent shot creator, but that’s where his strengths stop.

He’s not really a playmaker or shooter, doesn’t have great size, and isn’t a good defender. He kind of reminds me of Jaylen Hands. I think this guy will struggle to get a real role on a team throughout his career. There were a lot of players available at this point in the draft that I would’ve taken over him. 

Trading Tony Snell and Khyri Thomas to the Hawks for Dewayne Dedmon

Grade: D

This was a terrible trade by the Pistons. First let’s talk about the cap side of this trade. Dewayne Dedmon is making $13.3 million this season and next season. Tony Snell is making $12.1 million this season, but then his contract is up. So the Pistons traded an overpaid player on an expiring contract for another overpaid player who isn’t on an expiring contract. What are they doing?!

Then let’s talk about how the Pistons didn’t get any type of pick for taking on that extra year of salary. If they got some type of pick it would’ve made this trade okay, but no, they just got Dewayne Dedmon and nothing else. Now let’s talk about the actual basketball side of this trade.

I thought Dedmon was one of the best role player centers two seasons ago in Atlanta, but last season with the Kings he mostly just looked bad. He’ll be 31 this season so who knows how he’ll look. Then on top of all of that, this is already the third center the Pistons have added this offseason. Again, terrible trade by the Pistons. 

Signing Mason Plumlee to a 3-year $25 million dollar contract

Grade: D


Is Mason Plumlee a solid player? Yes. Did the Pistons need Mason Plumlee? Not at all. They just traded for Dedmon and Bradley along with drafting Isaiah Stewart. On top of all that, he doesn’t even match this team’s timeline. He’s 30 right now, so they’ll be paying him until he’s 33. This was easily one of the most useless signings of this offseason. In a league where most teams don’t even have three centers on their roster, the Pistons have now added four this offseason.

Signing Jahlil Okafor to a 2-year $4 million dollar contract

Grade: D+

Another center, and another bad signing. The only reason I didn’t grade this singing as bad as the Plumlee one is because his was for a lot less money, and the second year is a team option. At this point Isaiah Stewart may not see the court all season. Now, could Jahlil Okafor be something for the Pistons? No probably not. I’m surprised this guy is still getting NBA contracts. There is always that one front office though. Center count is up to five now by the way.

Signing Josh Jackson to a 1-year minimum contract

Grade: C-

I feel bad for Killian Hayes at this point. His front office is just surrounding him with mostly garbage. I don’t think Josh Jackson will turn his career around in Detroit, but he’ll definitely get the chance to, because they kind of have to play him. Unless they want to play Jahlil Okafor at small forward, Jackson will probably get a decent amount of minutes. I guess credit to them though for only giving him a one year contract and nothing more. 

Signing Jerami Grant to a 3-year $60 million dollar contract

Grade: C+

I struggled giving this signing a grade for a few reasons. For one I like Jerami Grant and think the Nuggets will really miss him, but is he really worth $20 million a year? I lean towards no. He’s a player that needs to play off of others to be at his best. He’s not really a shot creator or playmaker.

There aren’t really any playmakers on this team outside of Killian Hayes and Derrick Rose. There also aren’t very many shot creators on this team, so Grant may be asked to do more of that then he’s used to. He will also likely have to play small forward on this team because of all the bigs they already have.

It’s safe to say I don’t love the fit of Grant on this team. Grant is still just 26, so I wouldn’t say he’s peeked. Maybe he can develop his game in Detroit and become a guy who can create his shot more. At the very least he’ll be a guy that plays defense and hustles hard every night. For the Pistons sake, hopefully he’s a lot more than that at this price point. Bottom line, I won’t kill the Pistons for this signing.

It also keeps together the Denver Nuggets backup front court, which I thought was worth mentioning. 

Trading Trevor Ariza and an undisclosed future first round draft pick to the Thunder for Delon Wright

Grade: C-

Again, I can’t truly grade this until I know what the first round pick is, but like I said before, the Pistons aren’t in any position to be trading first round picks. However, I do like Delon Wright. I think he’s a solid backup point guard, but along with the log jam at center this team now has, this is the third point guard they’ve acquired this offseason.

Don’t forget Derrick Rose is still currently on the roster. In my opinion this front office really needs to move Rose for a wing or a draft pick. 

Trading Tony Bradley to the 76ers for Zhaire Smith

Grade: B-

I actually liked this trade for the Pistons. It got rid of one of their many centers, and in return it got them a young wing who hasn’t really been given a chance to play. Unfortunately, it’s been mainly due to injuries, but Zhaire Smith was a former #16 overall pick for a reason. He’s very athletic, and showed defensive potential. Although none of this matters because the Pistons are planning on cutting him…why?!

That wraps up the Pistons offseason up to this point. It’s definitely been an eventful one to say the least. The only other transaction I can see happening this offseason is Derrick Rose being traded, as well as a potential Blake Griffin trade. Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

Overall Detroit Pistons Offseason Grade: C

Overall grade for trades: C-

Overall grade for draft selections: B

Overall grade for free agent signings: D+

As was evident throughout the grades, I wasn’t too high on the Pistons offseason, and these grades defiantly back that up. Their draft wasn’t bad in my opinion. They were able to acquire a potential franchise point guard in Hayes, a solid 3 and D wing in Bey, and a potential starting caliber center in Stewart. It was their signings and trades that ruined the offseason for me.

They gave starter caliber money to Grant and Plumlee, who have both been role players their entire careers, took on Dedmon’s big contract, and traded away two first round picks. As previously stated, I have my doubts about all of those moves. As a Pistons fan, you have to wonder where this front office is trying to lead this team.

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915 days ago
Not too sure if you just don't like Okafor because he can't shoot three pointers but this kid if given consistent 28 minutes per game can easily give you 20-11 numbers
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