My Hopes for the Pistons in 2021

Today marks a new year that will be filled with plenty of Detroit Pistons’ basketball. In this article, I’ll be going over my hopes for the Pistons in 2021. That consists of the rest of this season, trades, free agency, and even the draft. I believe I speak for Piston fans as a whole when I say, I hope this year will be better than last year. 

2020 wasn’t a very good year for the Pistons. They ended the 2019-2020 season by missing the playoffs and being one of the worst teams in the league. They followed that by having a very questionable offseason, which left a lot of Piston fans confused. Of the few games this season that were played in 2020, the Pistons won none. Many people would say, there’s only going up from here. For the fanbase’s sake, I hope those people are right. 

What I Want to See the Rest of This Season 

I don’t expect the start of 2021 to be much different then the end of 2020 for the Pistons. This team just isn’t very good right now. Although what I really want to see is improvement, especially from the young guys. Killian Hayes has gotten off to a rough start, and I’m alright with it.

In fact, I expected it. Players like Hayes take some time adjusting to the speed of the NBA. I’m by no means out on Hayes, because of his rough start. I expect him to continue to improve as the season goes on, and by the end of 2021 to be much better than he is right now.

One last thing I want to see out of this team is a fight. Losing teams that still come to play each game, set themselves up for bright futures. Teams that rollover, and accept a losing culture is a recipe for a bleak future.

I would say up to this point in the season I have seen that fight. They played the Timberwolves close all game, took the Cavaliers to two OTs, came back late on the Hawks to make the game interesting, and played the Warriors well. Eventually, they’ll start to win some of these games.

What Trades Do I Want to See Happen This Year

I know everyone reading expects me to talk about the Pistons trading Blake Griffin, so I will. That is one of my hopes for the Pistons in 2021. There’s a pretty obvious case to why the Pistons should trade Griffin. He’s an older star on a young rebuilding team, and he could opt out of his contract this upcoming offseason.

If the front office does decide to trade him, I would want them to get a first-round pick in return. Even if they have to take on a bad contract along with the pick. The Pistons should be doing exactly what the Thunder did this offseason. Holding onto their young guys, and stocking up on as many picks as possible. 

Another player that has been in a lot of trade talk is Derrick Rose. The case for why Rose should be traded is pretty similar to Griffin’s. Although, there’s a strong case to why the Pistons shouldn’t be looking to trade Rose. He’s clearly taken on a mentor role for Killian Hayes.

In a recent interview when Rose was asked about Hayes’ rough start, he stated, “He’s thrown right in. He’s got a poker face. I’m talking with him as much as possible and letting him know he has to relax and just play his game, but he’s going to have to learn with experience.”. As a Pistons fan you have to love hearing that. If Rose does end up getting traded, I’m sure it would make Hayes upset.

What I Want to See in Free Agency This Year

It’s hard to say what I really want the Pistons to do in free agency this year, because it’s so far away. I’ll talk about what I want right now, but of course this could all change in just a few months. 

Projected Free-Agents:

  • Potentially Blake Griffin (UFA)
  • Derrick Rose (UFA)
  • Wayne Ellignton (UFA)
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (RFA)

If Blake Griffin does decide to opt-out of his contract he probably wouldn’t want to re-sign with the Pistons. Instead, he’d probably look to sign with more of a contender. Either way, I don’t think the Pistons should be looking to bring him back anyway. His timeline doesn’t match this team’s, and a player with his injury history at his age can be very risky to give a long term contract to. 

Derrick Rose is a bit more of an interesting situation. If he wants to stay in Detroit, I wouldn’t be opposed to giving him a short term deal. Again, having Rose around only helps Killian Hayes’ development. 

They can let Wayne Ellignton walk. Svi as a RFA is interesting though. I don’t have a strong opinion on if the Pistons should look to re-sign him or not, because I think that decision relies heavily on how he performs this season. He’s gotten off to a bad start this season though, so if he continues to play like he is right now they shouldn’t bother bringing him back. 

As for potential realistic free agents I’d like the Pistons to try and sign. It’s important to note that they will have a lot more cap space if Blake Griffin does decide to opt out of his contract. If he does, I’d like to see the Pistons go after Norman Powell, considering he declines his player option and becomes an UFA.

The Raptors just paid Fred VanVleet big money, and they already have a few big contracts on their books. If the Pistons offer Powell a contract worth around $15 million a year, the Raptors might not feel like it’s worth trying to compete for him. You also have to keep in mind that he’s a UFA, so he can sign wherever he wants. 

As far as the actual basketball stuff goes with Powell, he’s proven to be a good player. Last season with the Raptors he averaged 16 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, and shot 49.5% from the field, 39.9% from the deep, and 84.3% from the free-throw line. He’s a very efficient scorer that could fit very well next to Killian Hayes in the backcourt.

Powell has gotten off to a rough start this season, but I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. It’s only been four games, and the Raptors as a team haven’t been playing well. Again, so much could happen between now, and the start of free agency. As of right now, this is just an idea.

What I Want to See in the Draft This Year

Like free agency, it’s hard to say what I really want the Pistons to do in the draft because so much could happen between now and the draft. Hopefully, the Pistons are picking high, or even with the #1 pick. This draft is said to have potential stars in it. So the Pistons, a team without any young or current stars, can only hope that’s true.

I can’t honestly give you the one player I hope the Pistons land, but we all know the names: Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and Evan Mobley just to name a few. As a Piston fan, I only hope the Pistons don’t get screwed in the draft lottery, and whoever they end up drafting isn’t a bust. History has shown us how a true star player can help turn around a franchise. 

My Hopes for the Pistons in 2021

At the end of the day, as a sports writer, I can only hope what I want to happen will happen. And whatever does happen, I’ll still watch almost every Pistons game, like so many other fans. This fanbase is so strong, and just itching for their team to return to great heights as they’ve reached in the past. These were my hopes for the Pistons in 2021, Happy New Year to everyone, and Go Pistons!

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