Detroit Pistons

Five Options For The Pistons At No.12

Pistons Target 3PT Shooters; Team's Contracts Graded

After a disappointing 2016/17 campaign, the Pistons will look to shore up their three-point shooting. So says head coach Stan Van Gundy, at least. Aaron McMann of MLive wrote about Detroit’s goal heading into the offseason.

We’ve got to shoot the ball better, there’s no question about that,” Van  Gundy told the media following his exit interviews with Pistons players.

Not long after, he’d go on to complain about the team’s regression throughout the season, as has become somewhat of a custom for the Pistons bench boss.

We just talked about that with our team. I think a lot of that can be internal development. [The Pistons] had virtually an entire roster that took a step back in that area this year.

Pistons Committed To Keeping Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons plan to match any offer that restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope receives, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

The organization is prepared to give the fourth-year shooting guard a maximum deal if that’s what it takes to keep him in Detroit, Ellis adds, with several sources saying he is an important part of the team’s future.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season, but his numbers declined after the All-Star break. Ellis states that the Pistons may have viewed the situation differently if they were confident that Stanley Johnson was ready to become a starter, but they believe keeping Caldwell-Pope is vital and they wouldn’t be able to get an adequate replacement because of their cap situation.

Ellis touches on several other Pistons-related matters:

  • Trade talks involving Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will continue this offseason. Ellis states that the organization is becoming impatient with Drummond, with coach/executive Stan Van Gundy saying in Friday’s press conference that he needs a “sense of urgency to elevate his game.” Jackson’s drop in production stemmed from left knee tendinitis that plagued him throughout the season, and Ellis claims the only available replacement who might be an upgrade is the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.
  • The Pistons believe they have enough young players and future first-rounders to acquire a star this offseason. There were rumors that Drummond was offered to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins before he was sent to New Orleans, and a source told Ellis the Pistons contacted the Pacers about Paul George but never got close to a deal. George has another season left before he can opt out, and Detroit might be interested in taking the chance that it can re-sign him, but only if the price in a trade comes down. Other targets could include Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Although the Pistons might benefit from a franchise-altering move, Van Gundy said smaller deals are more realistic. “There’s a couple things we’d like to do and make us a little bit better, but I don’t think we’re broken” he said. “Getting our point guard situation back to where it was or even better is more than feasible and corrects a great deal of the problems we’re talking about. Our roster is pretty good from there.”

Pistons Notes: KCP, Baynes, Drummond

The Pistons would like to bring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back next season, but GM Jeff Bower sounds as if the organization will wait for another team to make an offer before making any commitments, Rod Beard of The Detroit News passes along.

“With the timing of things, you never know for sure until the period begins. There is a danger because we don’t have it with any certainty,” Bower said. “Hopefully, we’re able to move along with the things we have and everything is aligned. That’s a hand we have to be ready to play, no matter what direction we go. We have a lot of control in the situation, which is something we value and expect to be able to take advantage of.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • Aron Baynes hasn’t yet made a decision on his player option for the 2017/18 campaign, which is worth $6.5MM. He’ll take his time on the decision, but staying with the Pistons remains a strong possibility, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays (Twitter links). “Being here, it kind of feels like we have some unfinished business,” Baynes said.
  • Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy must figure out if the Andre DrummondReggie Jackson pairing is the best option for the Pistons long-term, John Niyo of The Detroit News argues.Drummond has four years remaining on the max contract he signed last offseason, while Jackson has three years remaining on the five-year, $80MM deal he signed back in 2015.
  • Van Gundy feels Drummond needs to take additional steps to reach his potential, Niyo passes along in the same piece. “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game,” Van Gundy said. “He’s been in the league five years now. He’s still young, he hasn’t turned 24. The sky’s the limit for him. But he needs to do some work to get there.”

Van Gundy: Andre Drummond Needs To Improve

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy will hold a meeting Monday with Andre Drummond to discuss the center’s future with the organization, tweets Rod Beard of the Detroit News. At a press conference today, Van Gundy expressed confidence that the 23-year-old can still be a leader in Detroit, but added that he needs to commit himself to getting better. “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game,” Van Gundy said (Twitter link). “He has the potential to be good or great, but he needs to do some work to get there.” (Twitter link).

Drummond is coming off a season in which he played 81 games, averaging 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per night. While those numbers are solid, the Pistons were hoping for more after giving him a five-year extension last summer with a potential value of more than $125MM. Detroit’s front office reportedly began to sour on Drummond as losses piled up this season and was listening to trade offers before February’s deadline. Van Gundy stated that motivation remains a concern with Drummond, adding, “It’s an issue we need to address — and probably in a different way.” (Twitter link).

There’s more from today’s meeting with reporters:

  • Van Gundy is hopeful that point guard Reggie Jackson can bounce back from an injury-filled season. “Our medical people are confident he’s back now physically,” the coach said. “What he didn’t get back to was confidence.” (Twitter link). Jackson battled tendinitis problems in his knee all the way back to training camp and was shut down in early April even though the Pistons were still in the playoff race. Van Gundy said Jackson looked good in a recent practice and should be back to normal by the start of next season (Twitter link).
  • Van Gundy says Stanley Johnson needs “a better offseason” than he had last year to secure a spot in the rotation (Twitter link). Johnson is an elite defender, but needs to improve his offensive game by making more shots and committing fewer turnovers (Twitter link).
  • Van Gundy added that the team doesn’t need “a bombshell move” to get back to the playoffs (Twitter link).
  • GM Jeff Bower, who also spoke to reporters, believes the Pistons are in a good position to help themselves through the draft. Detroit holds the 12th pick heading into next month’s lottery, and Bower says the top half of the first round is especially strong (Twitter link).

5 Candidates To Replace Rob Hennigan As Magic GM

Interim GM Matt Lloyd is among the leading candidates to take over for Rob Hennigan in Orlando, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

Lloyd, who was named to the position after Hennigan was fired on Thursday, has been running the Magic’s scouting department for the past five years. He has also served as director of college scouting for the Bulls. Owner Alex Martins is keeping his list of potential Hennigan replacements confidential, but he has said Lloyd will be among those considered.

Robbins lists four other potential candidates:

  • Travis Schlenk — The vice president of basketball operations and assistant GM in Golden State, Schlenk has spent the past 13 years with the Warriors. He also worked as an assistant coach and video scout. Schlenk has ties to Orlando, breaking into the NBA in 1997/98 with the Magic’s basketball operations department.
  • Brian Wright — The assistant GM in San Antonio started as a summer intern with Orlando in 2006. He spent eight years with the Magic and served as director of college scouting before leaving to take an assistant GM’s role with the Pistons.
  • Pat Garrity — A former Magic player, Garrity is among the league’s rising stars in the front office. He is currently associate GM in Detroit.
  • Michael Zarren — Boston’s assistant GM was recently tabbed by ESPN as among the top candidates to land a full-time GM job. He is a Harvard Law School graduate and serves as lead in-house counsel for the Celtics.

Magic Fire GM Rob Hennigan

With their offseason now underway, the Magic have started making changes in their front office, firing general manager Rob Hennigan, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). The team also dismissed assistant GM Scott Perry, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).Rob Hennigan vertical

“We appreciate Rob’s efforts to rebuild the team, but feel we have not made any discernible improvement over the last few years specifically,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement. “It’s time for different leadership in basketball operations.  We certainly wish Rob and his family well.”

Hennigan was considered to be on the hot seat for much of this season, as his flurry of moves a year ago failed to lead to tangible on-court improvement for the Magic. An eventful 2016 offseason saw Orlando trade for Serge Ibaka, then sign Bismack Biyombo, D.J. Augustin, and Jeff Green in free agency.

The franchise had playoff aspirations to start the year, but lost its opener to the Heat, and never got back above .500. Orlando’s spot in the standings prompted the team to flip Ibaka to the Raptors before February’s trade deadline, and Hennigan and the front office were widely criticized for giving up far more for Ibaka last summer than they got back for him at the deadline.

Hennigan’s seat likely became hotter in recent weeks after a photo taken by Patricio Garino‘s agent that showed an apparent list of Orlando’s offseason targets on a dry-erase board went viral. Hennigan insisted that the leaked white board wasn’t indicative of the Magic’s summer plans, and that it was just a list of possible options for the team, but it wasn’t a great look for a management group that was already under fire.

2016/17 was the fifth straight season that the Magic finished with a losing record, dating back to 2012/13, Hennigan’s first year at the helm. During Hennigan’s five years as Orlando’s GM, the team posted a 132-278 record (.322). The club has employed four different head coaches during that time, never winning more than 35 games in a season or earning a spot in the playoffs.

With Hennigan no longer in the mix in Orlando, the Magic have named Matt Lloyd as the interim general manager, the club confirmed (via Twitter). Lloyd will be in the mix for the permanent job, though he won’t be the only candidate considered.

According to Robbins, Magic officials have interest in Grant Hill as a potential president of basketball operations. Robbins adds that Pistons associate GM Pat Garrity and Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk could also be among the executives targeted by Orlando.

There were rumblings earlier this year that Doc Rivers could consider jumping to the Magic in a head coach/president of basketball operations role, but that seems like a long shot — Rivers dismissed the idea at the time. For now, Frank Vogel remains the head coach in Orlando, and he just finished the first year of a four-year contract, so a new GM may be reluctant to make a change unless the Magic are willing to eat a significant chunk of money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NBA Draft Lottery Odds

With the NBA’s 2016/17 regular season now in the books, the odds for this year’s draft lottery have been set. With the help of our Reverse Standings, as well as information from LotteryBucket.com, here is the 2017 lottery order, along with each team’s chances of landing a top pick:

  1. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets)
    • No. 1: 25.0%
    • Top-3: 64.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 4
    • Note: Celtics acquire pick due to ability to swap first-round picks with Nets.
  2. Phoenix Suns
    • No. 1: 19.9%
    • Top-3: 55.8%
    • Lowest pick: No. 5
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
    • No. 1: 15.6%
    • Top-3: 46.9%
    • Lowest pick: No. 6
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Sixers if not in top 3 (odds: 53.1%).
  4. Philadelphia 76ers
    • No. 1: 14.7%
    • Top-3: 45.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 7
    • Note: Sixers have right to swap picks with Kings, so their No. 1 and top-3 odds are a little higher than they otherwise would be. No. 1 and top-3 odds for Sixers’ own pick are 11.9% and 37.8%, respectively.
  5. Orlando Magic
    • No. 1: 8.8%
    • Top-3: 29.12%
    • Lowest pick: No. 8
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves
    • No. 1: 5.3%
    • Top-3: 18.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 9
    • Note: Timberwolves won tiebreaker with Knicks.
  7. New York Knicks
    • No. 1: 5.3%
    • Top-3: 18.2%
    • Lowest pick: No. 10
    • Note: Knicks lost tiebreaker with Timberwolves.
  8. Sacramento Kings
    • No. 1: N/A
    • Top-3: 2.5%
    • Lowest pick: No. 11
    • Note: Sixers have right to swap picks with Kings, rendering No. 1 pick impossible and greatly reducing odds of top-3 pick.
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Bulls if not in top 10 (odds: 0.01%).
  9. Dallas Mavericks
    • No. 1: 1.7%
    • Top-3: 6.1%
    • Lowest pick: No. 12
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
    • No. 1: 1.1%
    • Top-3: 4.0%
    • Lowest pick: No. 13
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Kings if not in top 3 (odds: 96.0%).
  11. Charlotte Hornets
    • No. 1: 0.8%
    • Top-3: 2.9%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  12. Detroit Pistons
    • No. 1: 0.7%
    • Top-3: 2.5%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  13. Denver Nuggets
    • No. 1: 0.6%
    • Top-3: 2.2%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  14. Miami Heat
    • No. 1: 0.5%
    • Top-3: 1.8%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14

Jackson's Injury Hurt Pistons' Season

  • Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy sees Reggie Jackson‘s injury as a major reason why the Pistons never met expectations, Rod Beard of The Detroit News passes along.  Jackson didn’t play well upon returning, but Van Gundy believes he will bounce back next year. “I think Reggie will come back and be as good as or better than he was two years ago. I honestly do. There were a lot of things that were physically and mentally very difficult for him to handle,” SVG said. “He’s committed to getting those things changed. He’s a talented guy and he’ll be really good next year — I have confidence in him.”

Stan Van Gundy Vows To Bring Change To Detroit

The Pistons underachieved this season and coach/executive Stan Van Gundy vows that changes will be made this offseason, Rod Beard of the Detroit News relays. “You’re not going to see all 15 guys come back next year, but it’s also not going to be two guys,” SVG said.

While Van Gundy takes the majority of the blame for the lost season, he points to the team’s lack of professionalism. “I will say I’m not totally happy with our professionalism and the way we approach things,” he said.

Adding a veteran this offseason may be a solution for the club. “Yes, we may have to [find a veteran], but some of those guys should be saying that they don’t need a babysitter; I need to do things the right way,”

Van Gundy continued to stress professionalism, pleading for his team to show up next season acting like NBA players.

“[Our approach is] going to have to change and part of that is going to have to come from us being a little bit stricter and tougher with them on things in our expectations and part of it is going to have from them. You’ve been in the league four or five years — let’s take care of yourself better, let’s be more ready, pay more attention to the game plan, get our extra work in, be more dedicated to the lifting. All those things.

“The young part has to go by the wayside as an excuse. You’re a professional and you’re getting paid. If you don’t want that responsibility, don’t come out after one year. If you want to come out after one year, then you decided you wanted to be a pro — be a freaking pro.”

He added that he likes the team’s core, but is disappointed with its overall progress.

“That is the biggest reason we are where we are right now: We did not have enough guys where you can look and say he made a big jump. That’s something we have to address in the offseason as a staff and as players,” Van Gundy said. “We’re at an age where some guys should be making significant improvements and everybody should still be getting better — and we had some guys actually take a step back.”

There were times this season where Detroit looked like a playoff team, but there were also instances where the club appeared destined for the lottery. Identifying players who can contribute consistently will be a key objective this offseason.

“There have to be some changes and we have to make, as a staff, some good evaluations on the guys who can and are willing to make some of those changes,” Van Gundy said. “That means who are the guys we’re going to bet on to make improvements in their game and who are the guys we can bet on their professionalism and commitment on a night-to-night basis?

“We had too many some-of-the-time guys who we couldn’t count on. If we don’t think those guys can change, well then they’ve got to be changed. I didn’t think on a night-to-night basis we were consistent in our approach.”

The Pistons enter the final game of the season owning a record of 37-44. Van Gundy is confident that the team can be better next season, though the status quo won’t produce the desired results.

“This has been a year of misery for me but I still want the challenge,” SVG said. “It’s hard. It does mean you’re going to have to make some changes.”

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