Grading the trade for the Detroit Pistons
It's been quite the season for the Detroit Pistons. After beginning the season 2-1, the Pistons lost an NBA record 28 straight games. Now at the halfway point of the season, Detroit ranks last in the Eastern Conference with a 4-38 record.
Bottom-dwelling teams, such as the Pistons, have historically been sellers. Detroit has already made a trade in 2024 and doesn't seem to be slowing down. Several veterans, such as Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Harris, Isaiah Stewart, and Killian Hayes have been mentioned in trade talks.
A core of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Jalen Duren, and a 2024 top-five pick is a good one. Adding more young assets to this core is likely the biggest priority for Detroit.
Shipping off Alec Burks by the trade deadline should be a no-brainer. The veteran wing is 33 years old. He's a steady contributor, better suited for playing time on a contender. His size and shooting make him an easy plug-and-play option on every team in the league.
The return of Troy Brown Jr., Shake Milton, and a 2025 second-rounder doesn't add much to the current Pistons roster. But what it does is give Detroit two, inexpensive flyers and more future draft capital.
Milton is 27 years old, with one season and $5 million left on his contract. At one point in his career, he showed considerable promise as a sixth man. The former 76er played a major role for Philadelphia. He recorded four consecutive seasons of 20-plus minutes per game. And, he appeared in 34 playoff games.
Brown Jr.'s fit on any team is less clear. As a former first-round draft pick, he was once regarded with high potential. Now on his fourth team in six seasons, Brown Jr. is closer to the G-League than a rotation spot. However, in limited action, he's playing quite well.
The Minnesota forward is averaging 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists on a per-36-minute basis. His efficiency is also appealing. Brown Jr. is knocking down 44.2 percent of his field goals and 37.0 percent of his 3-pointers. But his biggest selling point is his age, still just 24 years old.
Acquiring a second-round pick in the trade is better than it sounds. After 2024, Detroit will be without a second-rounder for years to come. Additionally, it's the Utah Jazz's second-round selection, a team in a worse spot than the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Detroit receives a B+ for this deal. As noted on Bleacher Report, Detroit may ask for Minnesota's 2024 second-rounder instead. But, all in all, receiving some sort of draft capital and additional assets for an expiring contract is a win.