Are the Pistons the new Lions in Detroit? The Larger Picture of the Bey/Wiseman Swap
Good lord. Here we go. The Pistons have seemingly become Detroit's new Lions. They make stupid move after stupid move. The Lions are on their way up, and the Pistons continue to toil away in the cellar.
I want to jump ahead of the criticism here. "They're in a better situation than when Stan Van Gundy ran the show." That's a dumb argument. They were irrelevant then and irrelevant now. "What about the cap space?" So, we can overpay aging 3-point specialists and not turn them into draft capital? That's the same crap that Dumars did and the same crap Van Gundy did.
The only difference is that Troy Weaver has drafted better. However, Cunningham, Ivey, and Duren were obvious picks. What about Killian Hayes, who Weaver took over Tyrese Haliburton? Then we have Isaiah Stewart. Good pick, but they've removed everything great about his game and forced him to become a stretch four. Then, of course, they traded Saddiq Bey.
So, I know that Saddiq Bey isn't all-world, but I'm not overvaluing him. Bey is a contributor and a solid ball player. The idea that he's one-dimensional and can't play defense is ridiculous. He was one of the Pistons' better defenders. Additionally, he scored in a multitude of ways.
I think Pistons fans say someone is a "bad defender" when they want an excuse not to like them. Maybe it says something about the Pistons, but Bey was one of the top 3 defenders on the team.
The occasional blocked shot and steal don't make someone an excellent defensive player. The defensive measure we should follow is how frequently and easily a player is scored against. Then, we must consider who they guard and how often they defend out of position. Bey's defensive numbers may have dropped because he was forced to guard 4s instead of 3s. Additionally, he frequently matches up with players like Jayson Tatum.
I fear Bey will become a key contributor on a good team like Spencer Dinwiddie or Khris Middleton.
James Wiseman could still pan out, but history says that's wishful thinking. Why did the Pistons trade for yet another injury-prone center that didn't live up to the potential? Name a big man in NBA history that had major injury issues through his first several seasons and turned it around.
Wiseman could turn it around like Joel Embiid (the exception to the rule above), but it's more likely his career will follow Greg Oden's. I'd love nothing more than to be wrong about Wiseman. I'd love for this to turn out to be a genius move. However, the motivation behind the trade suggests otherwise.
Furthermore, why make this trade when the Pistons have the younger, healthier Jalen Duren? Do the Pistons plan for Wiseman to come in and play major minutes at the four, or is Duren sliding over to the four?
The #TrustinTroyWeaver campaign (or whatever it is) has lost its momentum in year three. The team isn't improving. Isaiah Stewart's development has been stunted, and Killian Hayes has shown some signs, but lottery picks aren't for backups. Cade Cunningham is hurt all the time.
This trade feels like a panic button move reminiscent of the Pistons trading for Blake Griffin before Stan Van Gundy was fired. And yes, the Griffin trade was a horrible move. If you are asking why I think that, tell me this? How much did we pay him and how many playoff games did we win? What about Tobias Harris? How many significant games has he contributed to? That's all that matters to me.
I've been a staunch Weaver guy up until this point, but I'd been assuming that the jack-up 3s offense was poor coaching; it turns out that this could be the game plan and that the front office is on board with it. Reportedly (I saw this thread on Twitter via Duncan Smith from James Edwards III), the Pistons wanted Bey to jack up 3s instead of working for good shots in the lane.
I've been praising Bey as the only Pistons player who works for good shots all season. Now, sometimes he forces some bad shots, sure. But I prefer bad shots going toward the bucket to contested step-back 3s. Is this philosophy why we've been subjected to Stewart and Hayes hoisting so many 3s when both are better players inside the arc? Is this philosophy why the Pistons let Alec Burks play like he's MVP James Harden? If so, that's why they are horrible.
Not even the Golden State Warriors run such a stupid offense. They emphasize 3s, yes, but the main objective in their offense is to get HIGH PERCENTAGE SHOTS. Jordan Bell didn't jack up 3s, nor did Gary Payton III. Every player has a unique role.
The Pistons, however, seem to think that every player should be a 3-point shooter. Spot up and shoot. No one will or can replicate the Warriors' formula for success. Every great team builds its own style. This Pistons team had more of a bruising, attack the paint makeup to me, but we emphasize isolation and force 3s. This strategy is why we lose so often and by so much.
How does James Wiseman fit into this? Is he an all-world rebounder or a post-defender? If not, then why make this trade? Why not trade for draft capital or a player that could contribute to the team's needs? This team needs more drivers, not more centers.
Wiseman doesn't seem like a good fit for the current personnel. I hope I'm wrong. I hope someday someone will point out this article and mock me because that means that James Wiseman panned out. Furthermore, some of that precious cap space will be eaten up by Wiseman.
Many have pointed out that Weaver essentially traded Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown for Wiseman. My ranking of preference:
Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown
Letting them go in free agency for nothing
But we'll see. Perhaps, I'm overreacting. That would be wonderful.
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