2012-13 Detroit Pistons

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Detroit Pistons (Last Year: 29-53)

2012-13 Season Summary:
After years of being one of the dominant teams in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons are mired in a 4-year slump in which they haven’t come close to sniffing the postseason. Things are slowly starting to look up though.

There were some positives for the Pistons this season; most notably the play of rookie Andre Drummond, who has the makings of being a steal at the ninth overall pick. The big man was banged up a bit, but looks like he can be a defensive presence in the paint. Drummond and Greg Monroe appear to be a formidable frontcourt duo for years to come. Kyle Singler also played pretty well in his first season in the league, but Detroit didn’t get what it needed from guards Brandon Knight or Rodney Stuckey to take a true step in the right direction.

The Pistons made a move for the future by dealing veteran Tayshaun Prince in exchange for Jose Calderon. Calderon provided some experience at the point but more importantly, will open up more cap space for the team this offseason. With Corey Maggette, Will Bynum, and Jason Maxiell all free agents and Rip Hamilton’s contract finally coming off the books, Detroit will clear out about $36 million in cap space this summer.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Andre Drummond/Viacheslav Kravstov

PF: Greg Monroe/Jonas Jerebko/Charlie Villanueva

SF: Kyle Singler/Khris Middleton

SG: Rodney Stuckey/Kim English

PG: Brandon Knight

NBA Free Agents:

PG-Jose Calderon (UFA)

PF-Jason Maxiell (UFA)

SF-Corey Maggette (UFA)

PG-Will Bynum (UFA)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $35.2 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Spend Wisely: The last time the Pistons had this much cap space was four summers ago when they spent $90 million on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. How’d that turn out? While Detroit enters the offseason with a ton of flexibility in free agency, the Pistons needs to learn from the past and avoid overpaying mediocre talent just because they have money burning in their pockets.

2. Guard Depth: With Jose Calderon a free agent, Detroit needs to add depth at guard behind Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Calderon re-signing with the Pistons, but he might want to play for a contender rather than be part of the rebuilding effort in the Motor City. A true shooter who can knock down open shots would be a welcomed addition as well.

3. Back-up Big: Jason Maxiell has been the consummate undersized, but solid, physical, role player for Detroit during the past several seasons, but he is a free agent. If the Piston decide to let Maxiell walk this offseason, they will need to find a solid backup big since Viacheslav Kravstov doesn’t look ready to play a significant role.

4. Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince has been a staple there for a decade, but Detroit needs to find a replacement for him. After spending a year overseas, Kyle Singler put together an okay rookie season in the NBA, but appears to be more of a glue guy than a true answer at the small forward position. I think the ideal fit here would be an athletic three who can get attack the rim.

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