After Langston Galloway and Avery Bradley, the Detroit Pistons’ next move in 2017 NBA free agency will be signing Anthony Tolliver. We grade the acquisition.
Despite coming into 2017 NBA free agency pretty much capped out, the Detroit Pistons have been surprisingly active this summer. First, they signed combo guard Langston Galloway on a three-year, $21 million deal. Then, they traded Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics for Avery Bradley, thus removing themselves from the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope free agency sweepstakes.
On Tuesday, we learned of yet another move made by Stan Van Gundy: The agreement to sign veteran wing Anthony Tolliver, which will be on a one-year, $3.3 million contract. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical.
The 32-year-old Tolliver is about to enter his 10th year of service. He has previously had stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and these very Pistons throughout his journeyman career.
Supporters of the Detroit-based franchise felt excitement about the news. Tolliver’s time with the club from 2014-16 made him a fan favorite.
The Creighton product is coming off a year that saw him average 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 threes a contest for the Sacramento Kings, on solid .442/.391/.744 shooting splits. When he was on the floor, the Kings’ offense was 1.2 points per 100 possessions better than when he sat.
He also boasted a healthy 5.84 offensive points added for the 2016-17 campaign per NBA Math, and had higher offensive win shares (1.5) than big names like Devin Booker, Andre Drummond (ouch) and Tony Parker.
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In all, Tolliver is an excellent role player who will thrive off the bench for Van Gundy’s team. Not only that, but he also adds immense value as a veteran leader for a Detroit team that desperately needs more locker room cohesion.
After a fun 2015-16 run, one in which the Pistons made the NBA Playoffs and had a good showing against the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, this past season ventured in the opposite direction. Motor City went 37-45, Andre Drummond was aloof and Reggie Jackson couldn’t get over lingering knee tendinitis, which killed his effectiveness as a player.
Now, with the additions of Tolliver, Galloway, Bradley and Luke Kennard out of Duke (who has the early makings of a stud sharpshooter), and the fact that the Eastern Conference has lost a ton of star talent this offseason, Van Gundy has eyes for the postseason once again.
In all honesty, with the way Detroit is spending, Van Gundy (who is playing the role of coach and general manager) had better hope his team at least makes the playoffs.
If not, his seat might start feeling mighty toasty.
Nevertheless, simply returning their core from last year and hoping Jackson can get healthy should be enough for Detroit to make a vast improvement from their 37-win campaign — especially in a weakened East.
Making under-the-radar, low-monetary commitments for guys like Tolliver will only help. He may not have a ton left in the tank, but he won’t be expected to do much besides play 15 minutes a night and space the floor for Drummond at the 4. A cheap signing like his was just what the doctor ordered for Detroit.
Final grade: B+