The Detroit Pistons have revamped their starting lineup, so we must begin from scratch to figure out who are locks to make the unit when the season begins.
There isn’t much that looks the same for the Detroit Pistons this season compared to last.
Gone are Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Christian Wood, Langston Galloway and Thon Maker (among a host of lesser contributors), and joining the team are Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Delon Wright, Rodney McGruder, Wayne Ellington, Jahlil Okafor, and Killian Hayes and his cadre of rookies.
It’s been a complete overhaul with just four players returning from last season’s team. Of course, that was a 20-46 team, and they finished the season with one of the worst winning percentages in the history of the franchise, so it’s understandable that new general manager Troy Weaver and his regime wants to hit a hard reset from top to bottom.
As we break down the likely starters for the Pistons going into the season (which is now less than three weeks away!), we’ll group them into locks, fringe and potential break-ins to the unit.
Detroit Pistons starting lineup locks
The Pistons frontcourt is set in stone to start the season.
Assuming his health is fine, Blake Griffin is an absolute lock to start at the four. Even if he has a good season, his contract is a difficult one to trade, so it’s hard to see a healthy Griffin departing this spot at any point.
Troy Weaver didn’t give Jerami Grant $60 million to come off the bench, so lock this man in. Time will tell if he’s actually a suitable starter without superstars like Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to play off of, because the roster he’s going to be dealing with in Detroit is a far cry from that.
Much like Grant, Mason Plumlee got a nice financial commitment from the Detroit Pistons, and he is essentially contractually untradeable. He has a 10 percent trade kicker and his deal is about as heavily backloaded as a three-year $25 million contract can be, so get used to watching Plumlee play as an overmatched starter in the beginning stages of his Pistons career and an overpaid backup in the latter stages.