Over the past few years, the Detroit Pistons have been one of the NBA’s worst teams.
They finished 23-59 this season, after winning just 20 of 72 contests last year, and management has been looking to do something about the team’s losing ways.
Detroit had the good fortune of drafting Cade Cunningham with the top pick in last year’s NBA Draft, and although he wasn’t impressive as a rookie, there are still pretty high hopes for him.
In recent days, the Pistons have made some moves in order to try to improve, starting with the trade of Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers for a 2025 first-round pick.
Detroit then sent that pick to the Charlotte Hornets in a three-team deal that netted them Kemba Walker from the New York Knicks.
The Pistons are expected to released Walker soon.
Kemba Walker and the Pistons are expected to discuss a contract buyout that will allow him to become a free agent, sources tell ESPN. Walker landed with Detroit as part of three-way trade with Charlotte and New York.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2022
New York reportedly made the deal to clear salary cap space in order to sign free agent guard Jalen Brunson.
In the process, it is helping the Pistons move forward in their rebuilding process.
It’s Been A Long Time Since The Pistons Have Had A Good Team
Years ago, in the mid-2000s, the Pistons were one of the best, if not the best team in the NBA.
When they traded for Rasheed Wallace in 2004, they got over the hump and won the NBA championship by upsetting the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers.
The following year, Detroit came one win away from repeating as champs when it lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.
But the departures of head coach Larry Brown and Ben Wallace weakened the squad, and by 2009, it was back to mediocrity.
It has been a long rebuilding process in Detroit, as the team wasn’t won a playoff series since 2008 and has made the playoffs only three times in that span.
Since it isn’t exactly a magnet for big-name free agents, it will need to build its next winning team through the draft and smart trades.
Detroit’s Moves Have Netted It A Couple Of Pieces
With the fifth pick in last week’s NBA Draft, the Pistons took guard Jaden Ivey, a 6-foot-4 young man who is fast and explosive and could become a dynamo scorer in the pros.
But their first trade with the Knicks also brought them the rights to another draft pick by the name of Jalen Duren, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound big man.
Duren projects to be a tremendous defender and rebounder who can also finish strong at the rim and be a nice target for lob passes.
Along with Cunningham, Detroit now has three blue-chip prospects who could turn into very good players in a few years.
Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren in the summer league pic.twitter.com/OfCqrT86c6
— 𝒶𝒾𝒹𝑒𝓃⭐️ (@aiden__23) June 24, 2022
At the same time, Burks is a nice 3-and-D wing, while Noel is a decent backup center.
Maybe the Pistons won’t make the playoffs in 2023, but it could be back there before long thanks to the Knicks’ help.