Despite a subpar season, the Detroit Pistons want to run it back next year with Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin leading the way, but is it the right move?
With their 2019-20 season coming to an early end as one of eight teams not invited to the NBA’s resumption of play, the Detroit Pistons find themselves with a long offseason ahead. The team started things off on the right foot, as they hired Troy Weaver to fill their vacant general manager position. With speculation regarding the futures of both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin, Weaver addressed that he sees them as a long-term fit, via Eric Woodyard of ESPN.
“We’re excited to get them healthy and help them move forward. We feel like we have a good mixture of young guys with those two staples to be able to start there, but obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do with the draft and free agency.”
When the season ended, it appeared that Detroit would head into a rebuild and trade Derrick Rose along with Blake Griffin to build for the future. However, Weaver’s comments assured a completely different course of action, and for good reason.
Because of the extended offseason and potential to make some noise through both the draft and free agency, keeping Rose and Griffin on the roster is the right move. Although both might be a shell of their former selves, these two All-Stars could still be a dominant duo in the league today, health willing.
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The two hardly shared the court this season as they both battled injuries, Griffin most notably underwent another knee surgery after playing in just 18 games. In his short-lived season, Griffin averaged a mere 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game, a significant step in the wrong direction after an All-Star campaign last year.
Rose, on the other hand, had a fantastic season with the Pistons as he averaged 18.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game, primarily off the bench. There were rumblings that Detroit might trade Rose throughout the season, but nothing ever came to be.
This group might not be certified championship contenders when healthy, but undoubtedly, they have the potential to be a postseason team. This lengthened offseason could give the Rose-Griffin tandem the necessary time to heal up and prepare for a fresh start next season.
As Troy Weaver added, the team has much work to do in the draft and free agency, which could only bolster their chances of contending. The Pistons have a plethora of players set to hit the free-agent market, Christian Wood being the most prominent.
After the Detroit Pistons traded away starting center Andre Drummond, Wood took his place in the lineup and emerged as an upcoming star in the league. After the trade, Wood averaged 22.8 points shooting around 40 percent from behind the arc and 9.9 rebounds per game. Locking up Wood long term should be Detroit’s top priority in free agency, and they will have plenty of money to do so.
Having Wood as that third complement to Rose and Griffin would form an intriguing trio currently filled with untapped potential. This money could also get used to bring back veteran pieces such as Langston Galloway or John Henson, who both played solid for Detroit this season. Alternatively, if they are not fit, they could look to bring in some quality pieces in free agency.
The next spot is the draft, which, depending on whom the team has their eye on, could also make sense to keep Rose and Griffin around. The departure of Reggie Jackson midway through the season left a void in the team’s starting point guard position, with Rose primarily coming off the bench.
Some mock drafts have the team selecting point guard LaMelo Ball to take that starting role. Ball would add another versatile playmaker beside Griffin, and allow him to thrive. The 18-year-old could also learn a thing or two playing with Rose, the former league MVP.
While free agency and the NBA Draft are still several months away, Troy Weaver’s comments regarding Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin’s future with the team makes sense. With an extended offseason to recuperate and make several substantial moves, the Detroit Pistons could be a pleasant surprise heading into next season led by this duo.