Pistons.gif (6914 bytes) The 11th pick in this years draft belongs to the Detroit Pistons.  The Pistons select: Michael Dickerson, SG, 6-5, Arizona.

Submitted: Russell Pahl.  

I. 1998 Team Review

The 1998 campaign was litterlly a disasterous year which ultimatley culminated with the firing of Doug Collins on February 2nd. On April 28, 1998, The Detroit Pistons took the interim from Alvin Gentry's coaching role. Detroit went 16-21 under Gentry, including victories over playoff teams Chicago, Indiana, Miami, San Antonio and Atlanta. This will be Gentry's second opportunity. Three years ago, Gentry finished out the season as Miami's coach after the Heat fired Kevin Loughery. He guided the Heat to a 15-21 record over the final 36 games of the 1994-95 season, but was not offered the permanent job at the end of the season. He then joined the Pistons as an assistant coach for the 1995-96 season.

UPDATE: Joe Dumars, the only remaining member of the Detroit Pistons championship teams of 1989 and 1990, announced Friday he will return to the team for one more season before retiring. Dumars, a six-time All Star, is averaging 13.3 points a game. He got off to a slow start this season, hampered with hamstring and shoulder injuries. Since Dec. 28, he is averaging 15.2 points in 51 games. Dumars has 15,959 career points, second only on the Pistons' career list to Thomas with 18,822.

II. Draft Strategy

Under the Pistons' two-year plan to become a playoff contender, keeping the No. 11 pick in the June draft might not be their best move. Grant Hill has two years left on his contract before he can opt out. Brian Williams can opt out in two seasons. Coach Alvin Gentry has a two-year deal with an option for a third. "If something would've happened and we would've been 1, 2 or 3, we would've been ecstatic, but when I saw the way the probability factor worked, I knew we had no chance," Gentry said Sunday at the NBA draft lottery. "I think it's a deep-enough draft that if we decide we're going to keep this pick, I think it's going to be someone who can help our team." But a free-agent center or power forward would help more. That's what Gentry and Rick Sund, vice president of basketball operations, must decide before the June 24 draft. The Pistons have the option of sending the pick to Atlanta as compensation for getting Grant Long and Stacey Augmon two years ago. Or, they could convey the pick to Philadelphia as compensation in last season's Theo Ratliff-Aaron McKie trade for Jerry Stackhouse and Eric Montross. The Los Angeles Clippers landed the first pick because Vancouver and Toronto, under the terms of their joining the league, were ineligible to win the first pick until next season. Vancouver's combination of Ping-Pong balls actually came up first and third, but the Grizzlies were awarded the No. 2 pick and Denver the third. Elgin Baylor, the Clippers' vice president of basketball operations, said: "I knew this was in the bag. Prayers are stronger than a rabbit's foot. We have our eyes on somebody, so at least by drafting No. 1 we know that player will be there. I'm not saying who it is." "Screen-and-roll is our strong suit, and we have to have a guy who can roll out and shoot the ball, especially when you have Grant Hill handling the ball," Gentry said. "If we can't do it in the draft, then we have some flexibility under the salary cap."

III. Players

Point Guard

Lindsey Hunter, Steve Henson. Detroit plays point guard by commmitte, when you have Hill handling 75% of the team's touches, you afford yourselve a scoring Point Guard. Lower priority than addressing the teams dire need of a PF is a pure defesive, ball handling Point Guard. The Pistons get killed by opposing Point Guards, because Hunter could guard HAYSTACKS Calhoun (professional Wrestling humor here).

Shooting Guard

Joe Dumars, Jerry Stackhouse, Malik Sealy. Why add Dickerson then? Easy ... Dumars is 50, Stackhouse wants 50 million and Sealy well hes out the door. Detroit has mentioned that a priorty is to sign Stackhouse, however it will cost them HUGE. Depending on what Detroit actually does will really determin whether Stack will Stay in Detroit.

Small Forward

Grant Hill, Charles O'Bannon. Sorry Charles, the best news for you is that you are a free agent. Move on! Playing backup to Grant Hill will not make you any money here. Management must concentrate on signing or extending Grant's contract, which is up in two years. Grant wants to stay but he wants to win a championship first.

Power Forward

Jerome Williams, Well another glut of crap, Don Ried, Rick "Gramps" Mahorn will not get it done. Detroits best current alternative is to move Pollard here, bujt thats not a long term solution. I like Dumars but his coming back kills the plans, now they almost cannot afford to sign Stackhouse because they need the money to get two quality Free Agents. CAN YOU SAY JAYSON WILLIAMS?


Brain Williams and too many backup centers. By the end of the season, it was clear that Scot Pollard belonged in the team's eight-man rotation. So, going into next season, the Pistons have Pollard, Eric Montross and Rick Mahorn backing up Brian Williams. Somebody has to go. Montross, who has a manageable long-term contract (just under $2 million per year), will be thrown into just about every trade package the Pistons might offer. But if not traded, he most likely would be the team's third center, playing mostly against the bigger centers (Shaquille O'Neal, Dikembe Mutombo, Rik Smits, etc.). That would mean the Pistons probably would renounce Mahorn and offer him a coaching job or some other front-office position.

II. My Selection

Michael Dickerson SG from Arizona

Micheal Dickerson purely the best player available at the time of the Piston's Pick. This selection covers Detroit when they will not be able to sign Jerry Stackhouse and frees Salary Cap for available Free Agent help inside. On an aside, do not expect Detroit to keep Dickerson with this pick, expect them to trade down and grab a Doleac, Garrity or Clark especially if Detroit can pick up another pick along with moving Dickerson.

III. Other players Considered.

Nazr Mohammad C from Kentucky

Bonzi Wells from Ball State

Michael Doleac C from Utah

Traylor was the man this GM wanted for the Detroit Pistons, Traylor is a big body that can score and being that he is a "local" boy from Michigan surley would bring people back into the seats. Other big man consider where Nazr Mohammad, a player long on resume but short on talent, Al Harrington a High School project that doesn't project to contribute right away.

IV. Who the team will probably take

The heavyweights are Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter of North Carolina, Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce of Kansas, Mike Bibby of Arizona, and Robert Traylor of Michigan. The Pistons likely will choose from a group that includes Bonzi Wells, a high-scoring swingman from Ball State; center Nazr Mohammed of Kentucky; Notre Dame forward-center Pat Garrity; Mississippi forward Ansu Sesay; Jason Williams, a point guard from Florida; and high schoolers Korleone Young, Al Harrington and Rashard Lewis. "We'll bring in some people who we think will go anywhere from nine to 14," Gentry said. "There's a possibility some things could happen. We could move up or down. All of those things are possible." Gentry said the Pistons' needs center around a frontcourt player who can score and a guard who can play either position.

They might look to trade up. Robert Traylor, who has been working out every day in Highland Park and supposedly is down close to 290 pounds, is expected to be among the top eight players drafted. He is still limited offensively, but with his size and athleticism, he would be an intriguing pick.

V. Other offseason moves/Free Agents

The Pistons will listen to offers for Brian Williams this summer. As Sund has said many times, Hill and Dumars are the only untouchable players on the team. The Pistons aren't shopping Williams. Granted, if somebody makes a great offer, say the Wizards offered Juwan Howard, the Pistons would listen. But their goal seems to be to add a productive frontcourt player to enhance Williams, not just unload him. They are long past the addition-by-subtraction stage. Also, the Pistons probably will offer Jerome Williams a contract extension. He can be a free agent after next season, and teams such as San Antonio and Charlotte have hinted they would love to have a player with his energy and ability. If the Pistons don't extend his contract, they might as well try to trade him. They need only recall Theo Ratliff to remember how unproductive a lame-duck Piston can be. As for other free agents, Malik Sealy is gone. The Pistons will renounce him. Steve Henson also will be renounced, although the Pistons might invite him onto their summer and training-camp rosters. The Pistons hold an option on Charles O'Bannon. They most likely will bring him back.

VI. Salary Cap.

Dumars caught some upper management types by surprise last week when he announced, with Davidson's and the rest of the team's blessing, that he would return for his 14th season. Expecting Dumars to retire, the Pistons were figuring to have maybe as much as $10 million to $12 million to spend on free agents, not including their own, this summer. Now that he's coming back, take away another $4.5 million. That's what he'll count against the cap initially. He probably will sign for less, maybe between $3 million and $4 million, but until he signs he goes on the cap at 150 percent of his current salary ($3 million). The Pistons still can do some serious shopping this summer, but they were hoping to add a premier free agent -- say a Tom Gugliotta -- and another Tier II guy. They probably can't do that now. They will look to get maybe two less expensive pieces or one premier piece. They are looking for a tough, physical frontcourt player -- a center or power forward -- and a proven perimeter scorer. Some of the names to be considered include Gugliotta, Jason Caffey, Matt Geiger, Gary Trent, LaPhonso Ellis, Matt Bullard, Del Curry and George McCloud. Also, with Dumars coming back, the Pistons will get more serious about signing Jerry Stackhouse. They retain his Larry Bird exception rights, so they can go over the cap to sign him. Stackhouse wants to stay here. He and Dumars have developed a strong bond on the court and he knows the shooting-guard spot will be his after next season, when Dumars retires. Under Dumars' influence, Stackhouse has improved his overall game immeasurably. He is 23 years old, hungry to learn and, most surprisingly, has shown a mean, competitive streak. He takes losing hard and backs down from nobody, not even Michael Jordan. The Pistons need to keep him. Problem is, some lesser, more desperate team, say the Clippers or the Warriors, might throw stupid money at him. The Pistons won't pay Stackhouse $10 million a year. How can you justify paying Stackhouse more money than Hill and Dumars combined? But if another team offers him that much, he's gone. Another consequence of Dumars' return: The Pistons might pick up the $2.977-million option on Grant Long. He's already on the cap and, if the Pistons choose to go after one premier free agent, they'll keep him. He can provide a lot of the frontcourt toughness the Pistons need. Keep in mind, though, that all the rules might change. The NBA and the players association are negotiating in an attempt to revamp the collective bargaining agreement.

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner

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