As another lack-luster NBA season wraps up, the Detroit Pistons find themselves at the bottom of the ladder yet again. Everything that can go wrong for an NBA team essentially has for the Pistons resulting in their 25-51 record.
Only six games remain of the 2012-13 season, and general manager Joe Dumars will be back on the hot seat this summer. With another lottery pick surely on the way and a good chunk of money to spend this offseason, some beneficial moves need to be made.
The Pistons youth movement is set with a mixed blend of players. The frontcourt duo of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe should continue to improve together. However, players like Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler are taking time to breakthrough at the professional level. Singler has hit the rookie wall and would be better used off the bench. And Knight has shown hopeful glimpses but not enough consistency.
In a weak upcoming draft class, the Pistons will hold a valuable pick they must get correct. Many prospects appear as a long-term project professionals. The safest and most valuable player who should be on Detroit's draft board is Michigan guard Trey Burke.
Burke has been voted the Big Ten Player of the Year and an Associated Press All-American for a reason. Averaging 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and shooting 46-percent this season, he has been the ringleader of Michigan's resurgence and March Madness success. The grand stage hasn't been too much as he's leading the Wolverines to their first Final Four appearance since 1993.
Burke fits just about everything the Pistons need right now. This team needs a youthful point guard to grow and help improve the young core around him. Guys like Drummond, Monroe and Knight could make vast improvements in their game with a guard like Burke.
The Wolverine guard has shined bright in a less than impressive draft class this year. In two years at Michigan, all his numbers have improved since his freshman campaign.
Burke has proudly shouldered the load accounting for 47.5 percent of Michigan's offense with either assists or field goals. His 2013 highlight reel is filled with pinpoint assists, impressive finishes at the rim, and clutch heroics. His outside game is as effective as his inside play, but Burke is most efficient in the paint and off the dribble.
Burke shows driving similarities of Tony Parker and the courage of Kemba Walker, two players who elevate the production of their teammates. Given the Pistons' issue of finishing games, having a gutsy performer like Burke could help close tight matchups.
Veteran José Calderon is currently in control of the Pistons' game-flow as the point guard. Calderon is set to hit free agency this summer and doesn't fit the team's long-term plan at 31 years old. The veteran has averaged 11.4 points and 7.1 assists per game this season, plus only 11.8 points and 6.4 assists as a Piston.
An experienced franchise could better use a player like Calderon instead of Detroit. With his age and experience he could be a quick-fix addition for a playoff contender.
The Pistons' most valuable piece of the team is currently Drummond, who is yet to reach his peak. Given Drummond's Tyson Chandler-esque skill-set, he's limited offensively. However, he formed an effective tandem with soon-to-be free agent guard Will Bynum. With a better passer and creator like Burke in the backcourt, the potential could be endless for that pick-and-roll duo.
Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe have shown All-Star flashes but not efficient enough for the Pistons. Knight is only averaging 13.2 points a game and a poor 2.7 turnovers a game. He's also a better three-point shooter than his 36.5 percent average indicates. Adding Burke takes the ball and pressure away from Knight giving him better looks as a shooter and reducing the Pistons' turnovers.
Monroe is one of the best young offensive big men in the NBA. Burke's ability to draw attention in the paint could create easy layups for Monroe. Plus the option of Monroe's stellar low-post game is the best complement to a young point guard.
Burke could be viewed as a liability on defense given his 6-foot 190-pound frame. However, he's good at applying full-court pressure on opposing guards, and has hands as quick as Chris Paul's.
Other prospects like center Cody Zeller or forward Anthony Bennett have been mocked to the Pistons, but could be mistakes in Detroit. Zeller regressed immensely from the beginning of the season, especially during the NCAA tournament. Bennett is a unique sized hybrid-forward who could be too slow on the perimeter and too small on the block.
Drafting Burke is the most logical option for the Pistons this summer. He likely won't be an immediate star, but he immediately makes everyone around him better and has an infectious competitive attitude on the court. Caught in a bunch of uncertain prospects, Burke seems to be the most logical of the group.
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