I. Team History
The Detroit Pistons finished the 1996-97 regular season with a 54-28
record, marking their best effort since the 1989-90 season, 59-23. The
Pistons have won two titles in the history of the team, 1989 and 1990.
The Pistons had a steady decline in wins, from the 1988-89 season with
63 to the 1993-94 season with 20. The Grant Hill era started in the
1994-95 season where the Pistons improved with 8 by wins to 28. The
Pistons broke to 50 game mark this year, just as I predicted they would.
Grant Hill is not only the number one Piston he is the future of the
league. In two years, the NBA belongs to him.
The Pistons recent draft history has been average. In 1996 they drafted
Jerome Williams from Geogretown. In 1995 they drafted Theo Ratliff at
#18, Randolph Childress at #19, Lou Roe at #30 and Don Reid at #54. In
the 1994 they drafted Grant Hill at #3. In 1993 they drafted Lindsey
Hunter at #10 and Allan Houston #11. Randolph Childress was traded
with Bill Curley to the Portland Trail Blazers for Otis Thorpe on
9/20/95. Alan Houston went to NY Knicks via the free agent market last
year. Grant Hill, Houston and Hunter are all quality choices. Jerome Williams
may turn out to be good.
The Pistons could use help almost everywhere, except small forward. They
need the most help at Center and the Point just like last year. The
Pistons will have a hard time improving their team drafting #19 . They
are obviously not going to find an NBA quality starting Center at this
selection in the draft. They seemed to survive this past season using a
platoon of Mills, Reid, Mahorn, Thorpe and Radliff. The problem is that
Thorpe and Mills might be gone. In the backcourt they got by this past season
with Dumars and Hunter but could use some help. They might find some back-up
guard help at pick 19. I think Micheal Curry, Aaron Mckie and Jerome Williams
might play bigger rolls next year. I do think the Pistons would be all right by
taking the best available player at the spot.
The starting Center position for the Pistons last year was divided up by
Theo Radliff 38 starts, Don Reid 14 starts, Rick Mahorn 7 starts and
Mills 5 starts. It seems that Reid was the man down the stretch for
them. Theo Radliff played in 76 games, he seems to be getting better,
17.0 minutes per game, 3.4 rebounds per game g and 5.8 points per game.
Terry Mills averaged 25 minutes per game and played in 79 games. Terry
averaged 10.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Mills has
improved and the Piston need to resign him. I don't think the Pistons
can't survive another season with these 3 players playing most of the
minutes at the Center spot. They might be able to find some help in the
free agent market, the CBA or through a trade. Mills does play some Power
forward as well.
B. POWER FORWARD
Otis Thorpe. He is on the way out. His numbers are down and Thorpe and
Collins don't see eye to eye. His exit will put a big hole at the
number 4 spot. Last years draft pick, Jerome Williams from Georgetown
didn't see much Playing time last year. I am not sure the Pistons want
to gamble on him having a break out year. The pistons do have a lot of
big bodies hanging around but none to take the place of Thorpe. Thorpe
will be traded or released, if a trade is worked out, the Pistons must
get a big body in return. Of course, the problem is solved if Thorpe and
Collins work things out.
C. SMALL FORWARD
Grant Hill! The future of the NBA. He leads the team in; PPG 21.4, RPG
9.0, APG 7.3, Steals with 144, MPG 39.3, and endorsements. He just keeps
getting better and better. The Piston game still goes through Hill, with
the ball in his hands good things happen. Hill only missed 2 games last
year. I would safely say that the Pistons are set with Grant Hill at
Small Forward for the next 10 years.
D. SHOOTING GUARD
Linsey Hunter stepped up and played well at this position. Hunter
played in all 82 games and is one of the most improved players in the
NBA. He dropped in 14.2 per game. He has an option to be a free agent
and I think he is going to exercise that option. I think he is a must
resign. This team is guard still guard poor, Mckie and Curry should
help. I feel the pistons could help their team a bit in the draft here.
There seems to be a lot of shooting guards in the draft.
E. POINT GUARD
This position is getting weaker, Joe Dumars had a good year. He regained
his importance to this team. With Houston is taking off to NYC, Dumars
stepped up big for the Pistons. Joe poured in 14.7 per game and averaged
37 minutes per game in 79 games. Dumars started 79 games this year,
last year he only started 40. Last year I called for the passing of the
torch from Dumars to Houston but now I say Alan who. I say the Pistons
give Dumars one more two year contract. I believe in Joey D, I was
wrong. I still feel if there is a good guard in the draft, the Pistons
take him and let Joe groom him.
Detroit Pistons ($27.21 million)
Otis Thorpe ............. $7,000,000
Grant Hill .............. 5,025,000
Joe Dumars .............. 3,075,000
Stacey Augmon ........... 2,480,000
Terry Mills ............. 2,457,000
Grant Long .............. 2,260,000
Lindsey Hunter .......... 1,715,000
Theo Ratliff .............. 821,000
Jerome Williams ........... 568,000
Michael Curry ............. 400,000
Rick Mahorn ............... 400,000
Don Reid .................. 400,000
Litterial Green ........... 247,500
FREE AGENT UPDATE: Terry Mills would like to return and the Pistons
wouldn't mind having the 6-10 three-point shooter come back -- but only
for the right price. Salary cap is a consideration here. ... Joe Dumars
would like a two-year contract to come back and likely will get it, if
only as a reward for his tenure. Lindsay Hunter will exercise a clause
in his contract to become a free agent July 1. The Pistons may have to
go overboard to retain him, which they want to do. ... Sub guard Michael
Curry and backup center/forward Don Reid are likely to be signed again
but Randolph Childress is probably a goner. Litterial Green could return
if he's willing to play for what the NBA calls a minimum wage.
NOTES AND QUOTES
While wearing his general manager's cap Tuesday, Collins hinted that the
Pistons might use their 19th pick in the draft as trade bait. "We have to get
bigger and if a big man slips to No. 19, he's going to be a ways away from
helping us," Collins said. "Then you are in a situation where you are
developing him for a couple of years and hoping you can keep him when his
contract is up." "With the stars getting all the money these days, a lot of
good players are getting shut out and they become minimum-salary players.
Unless we feel we can get a perimeter player at No. 19 who really turns our
heads, we might be better off getting a veteran big man or a CBA guy."
It also appears the Otis Thorpe-for-Jayson Williams trade talks are
heating up again, although salary-cap restrictions make a deal difficult.
Sources close to the New Jersey Nets said Williams, a 6-foot-10 power forward
who has had problems with Coach John Calipari and has asked to be traded, has
expressed interest in playing for the Pistons. Thorpe is under contract to make
$11 million over the next two seasons. But his base-year salary, the figure
that will count against the salary cap for next season, is only $2.6 million
and will increase to $4 million in August.
PISTONS' EIGHT-MAN ROTATION:
Guards: Joe Dumars and Lindsey Hunter;
Forwards: Grant Hill and Otis Thorpe;
Center: Theo Ratliff.
Top Subs: Forwards Terry Mills and Grant Long and Guard Michael Curry.
NOTEBOOK: (from NBA.com)
One of the many so-so big men eligible for the draft is North Carolina's Serge
Zwikker, whom the Pistons have brought in for workouts. The draft is next
Wednesday. Zwikker, a native of Vlaardingen, Netherlands, is 7-feet-3 and 273
pounds. The upside on Zwikker is that he played for Dean Smith at North
Carolina and got better each season. As a senior, he posted career highs of
11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds for the 28-7 Tar Heels. He became the first
Carolina player to post 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game since Mitch Kupchak
when he scored 22 with 20 rebounds in a victory over Southern California.
Zwikker, 24, might be around when the Pistons draft 19th because he is such a
liability on defense.
Other players the Pistons will look at are 6-7 Danny Fortson of Cincinnati, 6-6
Olivier Saint-Jean of San Jose State and formerly
of Michigan, 6-9 John Thomas of Minnesota, 6-6 Anthony Parker of Bradley, 6-5
Charles O'Bannon of UCLA, 7-2 Garth Joseph of College of St. Rose (New York),
7-foot Paul Grant of Wisconsin (and Birmingham Brother Rice), 6-8 Jerald
Honeycutt of Tulane, 6-5 Shea Seals of Tulsa, 6-10 Marc Jackson of Temple, 6-11
Jason Lawson of Villanova, 6-11 Scot
Pollard of Kansas and 6-9 forward Mark Sanford of Washington.
The Pistons need to sign Hunter and Mills and work something out with
Thorpe. Thorpe will be traded or released. Reed and Curry would help
out to. A nice blockbuster pre-draft trade is in order for this team. I like
the Jayson Williams trade idea, I think he spices up this team. They might get
a higher second round pick and grab Center project Serge Zwikker.
As far as the draft goes, the Pistons needs are basic. They need some
back-up Point Guard help and some size. They should look for someone
willing to be patient, work hard, and learn the game. Someone who is
intelligent and an unselfish player. I think a player like this will be
available at #19. The Pistons like to play all the options that are
available to them, so it is hard to say what they will do in the real
draft, trade up or down or stay where they are. I say the Pistons will
be dealing before the draft. They have some holes to fill that can't be
really be done with the 19th pick.
II. My Selection.
Bobby Jackson, Point Guard, Minnesota.
I wanted to pick Serge Zwikker but felt he wasn't worth the 19th pick.
I made this same pick last year, a combination PG/SG to spell the backcourt.
This defiantly fill a need for this team. I also like the fact Bobby is a
Scouting Report from: Uncle Vasya)
Background: A major factor in Minnesota's excellent season,
which included a Big Ten title and a Final Four NCAA appearance,
Bobby Jackson had seemingly come out of nowhere to become
one of the top college players in the nation this season,
earning 2nd team AP All-American and 1st team Big Ten honors.
Strengths: Bobby is an excellent overall athlete. He has the speed and
quickness to push the ball up the floor, break a press, apply defensive
pressure, and get in the lane. Has nice strength and toughness for his
size, as well as leaping ability. He is good at finishing or drawing
fouls. He is an excellent rebounder for a six-footer. Has all the
intangibles you could ask for -- heart, desire to win, ability to
elevate his game when necessary, etc. as demonstrated by his
NCAA performance. A solid free-throw shooter, and able to
make them with the game on the line.
Weaknesses: Not a pure playmaking PG. More of a scorer's
mentality. Doesn't have the range of a guard either - shot
32% from the college arc this season, averaging less than one
make per game. More comfortable taking the shorter jumper.
III. Other Considered
Regional Star, and might bring some excitement to the court. I just feel
this guy isn't going to be an impact in the NBA. The pistons would be
limited to playing him at power forward only.
I Really think this guy shines as a pro, if he had dropped to 19, I
would have grabbed him.
Big, Tall Aussie. He might fill the bill for the Pistons like Luc
Longley did for Jordan. This guy isnit Luc Longley but he is tall. He
could use a few cheeseburgers. He has Pro experience and is only 22
years old. Still I think too big of a project.
I included Anthony Johnson because I went to the College of Charleston
and I couldn't refuse. Nice to see one of the guys has a chance to make
the NBA. He is a 6-3 point guard.
I just couldn't use the 19th pick for him.
IV. Who will they take.
I think the Pistons take nobody here, this pick will be traded along
with Thorpe. If they do not trade it away, I like Derek Anderson. He
has been labeled "damaged goods" and he might fall to 19. I think the Pistons
could take a chance on this guy. No knee injury last year and this guy goes
lottery. I think an outstanding gamble for a possible star in this league.
This is a guy the Pistons could bring along slowly. He is a talent with
something left to prove. I think he has a good attitude and comes out of a
great program. He might somehow end up on the Celtics.
V. Other moves they should make.
1. Trade Thorpe, nobody needs a trouble maker.
2. Resign Mills and Hunter.
3. Resign Reed and Curry.
4. Fill the Bench with some CBA talent or low end free agents and hope
for a break out year from one of them. Hill will make the players around
him better than they really are.
5. Lose Grant Long
6. Keep Rick Mahorn around, he knows the way to a title and could be a
bonus in the locker room.