Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Detroit Pistons 2020-21 Season Preview

After a 20-46 finish last season, the Detroit Pistons needed a complete re-haul. Well, after a slow start, new general manager Troy Weaver had one of the busiest offseasons in the NBA. Detroit added a trio of free-agent acquisitions and a trio of Top 20 draft picks to give this franchise a new look. How exactly will the new-look Pistons fare next year?  

Detroit Pistons 2020-21 Season Preview

Reviewing the 2019 Campaign 

There’s no question that the Pistons are facing a potentially long rebuild. Detroit finished 13th in the Eastern Conference after a subpar 20-46 campaign. While the Pistons still possess a few big-name talents in Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, it was time for a new direction. 

Rose remained the most consistent player on the roster. The 12-year NBA veteran led the franchise in scoring with 18.1 points per game. He also led the team in assists, with 5.6 dishes per game, while securing minutes played in 50 games. This was the bright spot for the Pistons. The 31-year-old continues to reinvent his career after a devastating knee injury during the 2011-12 season.

Another Detroit mainstay, Griffin did not enjoy the same level of success last year. Griffin played only 18 games after two required surgeries on a knee injury he suffered at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Plain and simple, 2019-20 was not a year to be remembered in Detroit, and the offseason required big changes. 

Offseason Moves

The Pistons kicked off the offseason on a positive note. Back in June, Detroit hired former Oklahoma City Thunder executive Weaver as the team’s new general manager. Yes, Weaver got off to a slow offseason start, but the team has a brand new look just weeks before the season. 

Detroit possesses only four remaining players from its core talent last season including Griffin, Rose, Sekou Doumbouya, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. From there, Weaver did what any good general manager does in the middle of a rebuild: add a mix of cheap veteran talent and prospects for the future. 

Back in November, the Pistons dealt Luke Kennard to the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team trade that returned Rodney McGruder. The best part of this package? The trade included the 19th overall pick from this year’s draft, Saddiq Bey of Villanova. Detroit also agreed to a sign-and-trade deal sending Christian Wood to the Houston Rockets in exchange for future draft picks. 

Next, the Pistons acquired a trio of veteran bigs in Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, and Jahlil Okafor through free-agent signings. Delon Wright, a veteran guard, came over via trade, and the Pistons finished the offseason with two more Top 20 draft picks. 

The remaining two picks included Killian Hayes with the seventh overall selection. Hayes, a lefty guard from France, is lethal in the pick-and-roll and one of the better guards in this draft. He’s the potential starting point guard in Detroit. The Pistons took Isaiah Stewart at 16th, an athletic above-the-rim forward with a decent jump shot. 

Detroit Pistons 2020-21 Season Prediction

Detroit fans are certainly in for an interesting season next year. While Weaver was extremely busy this offseason, he’s been criticized for some of these moves. There is no doubt that the Pistons have the deepest class of forwards and centers in the league. The issue? Other than Griffin, the rest of the cast projects as rotational players. 

Head Coach Dwane Casey will have his work cut out for him in solidifying a rotation and understanding which of the young talents have any real potential. 

If Rose and Griffin remain healthy, that’s always a fun combination to watch, thanks to their floor-spacing and lob-threats. We’re also very curious to see the end-of-season rotation with Grant, Plumlee, and Okafor. 

The highlight of this season hangs on the performances of Detroit’s young talent. Will Hayes produce up to his full potential as one of the best guards in the draft? Also, how big of a jump will Doumbouya make this year? As you remember, Doumbouya was the 15th overall pick of the 2019 draft. 

Given the right expectations and that Detroit is not competing for a playoff spot, this should be a fun year for Pistons’ fans. If Griffin and Rose, or any of the other veterans, can stay healthy and productive, then look for midseason trades to acquire additional young talent or draft picks. It’s all about the future this year in Detroit. 

Detroit Pistons 2020 Season Prediction: 22-50, 12th in the East

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