The Detroit Pistons returned to the NBA playoffs following a three-year hiatus. Unfortunately, the newest acquisitions to the coaching staff and roster weren't enough to change the narrative of Detroit Pistons basketball and first-round playoff sweeps. Milwaukee dominated the Pistons into a third-consecutive first-round playoff exit since 2009. What can the new titleholders of the NBA consecutive playoff game loss record do to revitalize their early 2000s reign as tenacious contenders within NBA's Eastern Conference?
1. Don't trade Andre Drummond
With the 9th pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Andre Drummond from the University of Connecticut. Throughout Drummond's six years in the NBA, he continues to adapt, learn, and overcome the adversity surrounding his athleticism and play-style.
The 2018-2019 NBA season was arguably the best offensive and defensive season for the 25-year-old center. Trading the three-time NBA total rebound champion that led the league in defensive win shares the past two years is not the answer to our problems.
2. DEFINITELY (and I can't stress that enough) trade Jon Leuer
Jon Leuer received a four year, 24-million-dollar contract in 2016 under the management of Stan Van Gundy. As Pistons fans' suffering slowly comes to an end, we still have an opportunity to trade Leuer to acquire a player or draft picks that are basically guaranteed to prove more beneficial than Leuer's inconsistent run as a backup power forward.
The Detroit Pistons trading for Thon Maker mid-season was the nail in the coffin for Leuer's run as a Piston, finishing the season averaging 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds throughout 41 games. We're already paying Josh Smith $5.3 million to sit at home and watch us get swept in the playoffs, we don't need Jon Leuer sitting on the bench doing the same thing.
3. Acquire size, strength and defense on the wings
Whether it's in the NBA Draft, a trade (hopefully involving Jon Leuer) or even a free agency signing this off-season, the Pistons desperately need to establish depth of wing players. Currently, the Pistons don't have a single small forward on the team.
The Pistons current depth chart (considering we do not re-sign any expiring contracts) is made up of a single point guard, five shooting guards, three power forwards and one center. A wise man once advised the Pistons to use their size and strength to "form a fuckin' wall." Without small forwards, forming a wall isn't an option and mismatches will be an easy exploit for larger teams.
4. Weigh every option with the 15th draft pick
Due to our past drafting history, it's crucial for the front office and coaching staff to weigh every option before we use our 15th overall draft pick. It's common knowledge Detroit has struggled when it's come to the NBA Draft. The narrative began after skipping over talents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2003 and most recently with Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent drafts.
Trading the pick away, trading down in the draft, even trading up in the draft must all be considered. Shopping the draft pick should rank above using it specifically based on our shameful lack of cap space. The Pistons' picks in the 2019 NBA Draft are the only elusive assets Detroit has left until 2020.
5. Find a legal way to force Tom Gores to sell
Since blackmail is illegal, how about brainwash? Tom Gores bought the struggling team in 2011 for $325 million since then not much has changed. He's proved he isn't capable of responsibly owning the team after allowing Stan Van Gundy to take over as head coach and president of basketball operations on top of approving ridiculously priced contracts for players. I'm grateful he gave the Pistons a shot to prove themselves when rumors of relocation circled like vultures but it's time to move on.