Good news: The Pistons will have cap space this summer to sign free agents. Bad news: The best free agents play the same position as Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Nevertheless, there are still players that can help the Pistons at the guard and small forward positions. Seems like a good time to explore some options, starting with small forwards.
The lack of name recognition with these players may make you nervous about The Gordon/Villanueva Signings Redux coming to a basketball team near you. A legit concern to be sure, but I believe Dumars learned a lot from that summer and we’ll see a better result this time around. As a result, don’t be surprised to see one of these three youngsters wearing Pistons blue this fall.
Martell is my favorite choice to start at small forward next year (barring a top draft pick or Andre Igoudola). Let’s look at his player card from this year:
He can shoot from the outside, gets to the free throw line and doesn’t turn the ball over a lot. He’s 26 years old — right in his prime. Probably my biggest concern is that the Pistons need a perimeter guy who can be a prolific scorer, and Webster has never averaged 11 points a game in any season. Paired with the right backcourt, he’d be a nice complement to the Monroe/Drummond core.
Another option is Dorell Wright. Player card below:
A good three pointer shooter, but unable to do much inside the arc. A pretty good rebounder and makes plays on defense. Wright is 27 years old, so not a bad plan B if we miss on Webster.
A different type of player, but with intriging upside is Al-Farouq Aminu. Player card below:
Aminu is the biggest upside play of the three. He is only 22 years old. Although he is a strong defender and rebounder, his offense is pretty unhelpful at this point in his career. That would be OK if the Pistons lean heavily on their guards to score, but Aminu could still limit floor spacing on the offensive end.
It sure would be nice if next year’s small forward a young Paul Pierce, but I don’t think that player is going to be available this year. Landing a player like any of the three above won’t keep the talking heads up all night at ESPN, but each would make the Pistons better next year and in the years ahead.
I’m hoping for a #9 Webster jersey to be on sale this fall at the Palace. Only time will tell.