The Detroit Pistons’ front office has a new face in the building: freshly-minted general manager Troy Weaver. He previously worked as an assistant GM with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and was with the franchise for the past 12 years.
Weaver was introduced by the Pistons today and immediately shared his positive outlook on the team’s roster.
Here’s part of what he told the Detroit media in his introductory virtual press conference:
“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.”
Fans are hoping that Weaver’s breath of fresh air will turn the team around. The the Pistons are one of the eight teams that are already eliminated from playoff contention. They finished 20-46, 13th in the Eastern Conference standings, and was thus, left uninvited for the season’s restart on July 31st.
Here’s further context on the Pistons’ recent struggles: they have missed the playoffs nine times in the last 11 seasons, and they have not won a playoff game since 2009.
Adding to the frustration is the questionable trade of their All-Star big man, Andre Drummond. The Pistons elected to send the four-time rebounding champion packing after failing to reach a contract extension, but instead of receiving the right value, they virtually got nothing in return – the injury-riddled Brandon Knight, career back-up John Henson, and one second-round pick.
While this year feels more disappointing than previous seasons, though – considering that they were coming off a playoff berth – much of the issues can also be attributed to injuries. Superstar forward Blake Griffin had a rough recovery from his 2019 knee injury and the surgery it entailed. He appeared in just 18 games and could only put up 15.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game on a horrid 35.2% shooting – all are basically the worst in his career (APG is 0.1 short of tying his career-low).
It became more of a bummer when it turned out that he’s also missing out on partnering with newcomer Derrick Rose, who had a good showing. Though Rose also battled injuries (missed 16 games), he notched 18.1 points and 5.6 assists per game – his highest since the unfortunate ACL tear in 2012. The efficient 49% shooting is also a career-best.
Finally, there’s also the still-rehabbing Luke Kennard. The versatile swingman was poised to have a breakout season until he went down with a knee injury last December. He was scoring 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.6 threes prior to getting hurt.
What’s there to look forward to next season?
Leading all the intriguing factors is the kid taking Drummond’s spot, Christian Wood – a long-armed and skilled big man. The 24-year-old journeyman has always shown flashes of his true potential in spurts, so he simply exploded as soon as he played big minutes. He became a full-time starter on February 8th, and went on to average 22.9 points and 9.9 rebounds across 12 games – it unfortunately got halted on March 12th, when the NBA took an indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wood was actually one of the many players who got infected in the coronavirus outbreak. He has since recovered and is on track to return to form next season. It’ll be interesting to see him mix it up with Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, AND a fully healthy Blake Griffin.
The draft and the ever-exciting free agency period should be huge too. Let’s see if the Pistons’ core and new-look front office will be able to attract or maneuver something big.
Detroit has over $30 million of cap space after this season, and will also be likely to pick inside the top five in the 2020 draft.