They got their man.
Last week at the NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected small forward Stanley Johnson in what appears to be a slam dunk decision.
Johnson is known for his defense and will pair with shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and center Andre Drummond to give the Pistons a solid defensive core.
Beginning today however, Detroit will enter the free agent sweepstakes with an eye on offense, especially 3-point shooting. Expect Detroit to be extremely aggressive while going after San Antonio Spurs free agent Danny Green. They will also make a play for Atlanta Hawks DeMarre Carroll, who could be the more well-rounded player.
Both Green and Carroll can play small forward and each would be a solid upgrade for the Pistons as they attempt to build depth. The ultimate prize would be Green, who will be sought after by several teams. With Green helping to space the floor, Detroit’s offense would immediately kick into another gear.
It’s clear Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy eagerly desires to spread the court and get his best shooters plenty of 3-point opportunities. With Green and recently acquired power forward Ersan Ilyasova, Detroit would have concluded a complete shift in just over a season.
Signing Green would big a huge step forward for Detroit because of how he fits offensively. But that shouldn’t limit Detroit defensively, as Van Gundy would still be able to play situational basketball and substitute Johnson during important defensive situations while leaning on Green at small forward when offense is needed.
It would be a win-win for Green and the team.
On the other end of the spectrum are Detroit’s own free agents. Greg Monroe is as good as gone, but Detroit will make a big pitch to retain restricted free agent point guard Reggie Jackson with a long-term contract.
That task didn’t get any easier this week as former Pistons guard Brandon Knight agreed with the Phoenix Suns on a five-year, $70 million contract.
Jackson averaged 17.6 points and 9.2 assists in 27 games with the Detroit Pistons. Those numbers are enough to trump Knight, who averaged 13.4 points and 4.1 assists after being traded to the Suns.
That leaves Detroit in a questionable situation. Do they possibly overpay to sign Jackson to a long term deal? Or do they take the chance theu took with Monroe and possibly let him leave next season as an unrestricted free agent.
Don’t be surprised if the Pistons end up paying much more for Jackson than many think they should.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.