April 19, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons power forward Charlie Villanueva (31) forward Jonas Jerebko (33) shooting guard Ben Gordon (8) point guard Will Bynum (12) and forward Vernon Macklin (20) during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NBA Offseason Preview: Detroit Pistons


2012 Free Agents: Vernon Macklin (R), Walker Russell (R), Jason Maxiell (P), Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins

2013 Free Agents: Austin Daye (R), Will Bynum, Ben Gordon (P), Charlie Villanueva (P)

2011-12 record: 25-41 (10th in Eastern Conference)

Positional needs: starting big, starting power forward, bench depth

Potential draft picks: Tyler Zeller (Nort Carolina), John Henson (North Carolina)

BIG QUESTIONS

1) Any chance a team would like to take on the contracts of Charlie Villaneuva and/or Ben Gordon? 

Not very likely.

Charlie Villaneuva has a player option worth $8.6 million for next season (which he would be stupid not to take). He is currently being paid $8 million for this year.

After averaging 7.0 points in just 13 games this past regular season, Villaneuva’s stock has fallen considerably. He has failed to top the 12.0 point mark in his 3 years with the team and has yet to live up to the 5 year, $35 million dollar contract he signed back in 2009.

Ben Gordon has also been a huge disappointment for Detroit. In his last 3 years with Chicago, Gordon didn’t average any worse than 18.6 points a game. In his 3 years with the Pistons, he hasn’t averaged more than 14 points in a season. His 5 year, $55 million dollar contract has yet to be repaid with on-court success.

The amount of money both players are making and the cap space they take up has hurt the Pistons tremendously in the franchises rebuilding process. Both Villaneuva and Gordon were overpaid and overvalued to begin with.

Detroit still has their amnesty option which they could use on either player. I could certainly see the Pistons wanting to cut ties immediately with one of the two and use their one-time amnesty to relieve themselves of this financial burden.

As far as finding a team to trade with, I seriously doubt that will happen. Neither player is worth the money they are making and neither man is talented enough to make that much of a difference for any team at this point.

2) After 1 full season with Detroit, where does Brandon Knight rank amongst the top point guards of the NBA? Any chance he becomes a future all-star in this league?

I’m not saying Knight doesn’t have the potential to be a great point guard in this league, but he certainly has a long way to go before he reaches that level.

He was never going to be like Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving in the way that he just waltzed into Cleveland and changed the outlook of that franchise from day 1. Knight is a project and will take some serious time to develop.

Who would I take over Knight right now? How about….

(The Obvious) Rondo, Williams, Paul, Rose, Westbrook, Parker, Nash, Lawson

(“Not So” Obvious) Harris, Felton, Curry, Wall, Jennings, Augustin, Billups, Conley Jr, Rubio, Miller, Barea

Brandon Knight is just below all of these players on the NBA point guard scale. To be fair, he is a 1 year pro who played on a fairly weak Detroit Pistons team this past season. There is more pressure on guys like B.K to be stars since we have seen so many point guards drafted in the first round in recent years find immediate success.

In his first season in the NBA, Knight averaged 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He did in fact however average 2.6 turnovers a game on top of that.

I believe his ceiling is an extremely poor mans Rajon Rondo. He has a solid frame at 6’3 and is fairly tall for a point guard. He also has the ability to take the ball to the net with precise penetration and skillful dribbling. He isn’t a great shooter by any means (41% from the field), but taking jump shots shouldn’t be how Knight gets his offense.

Is he a future all-star? The jury isn’t out on him just yet, but the point guard crop is sooo deep that earning himself a future selection will be extremely difficult.

Other Previews: Atlanta HawksBoston Celtics, Brooklyn NetsCharlotte BobcatsChicago BullsCleveland CavaliersDallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets

 

Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports 

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