Cleat Geeks

Goin’ To Work: News and Notes

It’s been a quiet offseason for Stan Van Gundy and Company.

Here’s a quick roundup of happenings in the world of Detroit basketball.

More Boban Time?

With Aron Baynes no longer in the picture there will be a push for more minutes from fan favorite Boban Marjanovic. After appearing sporadically for much of 2016-17, Marjanovic saw more time down the stretch as the Pistons faded out of the playoff picture. And he performed well, registering 15.8 points per contest to go with 10.3 boards (including 3.8 on the offensive glass) in an expanded role during the last four games of the season. This is a small sample size but, even so, it serves as a return on the $7 million per year investment made in signing him. And it shows the potential of further return to come.

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His 7’3″ frame puts him above almost anyone else who takes the floor against him, giving a distinct advantage in the post and on the boards. But this blessing also proves to be banal. Boban is not highly mobile or agile due to his build, though he moves fairly well for his size. As well, his offensive game suffers once he leaves the post, shooting just under 31% from the midrange. The Pistons experienced spacing issues last seasons and Boban’s limited mobility is not going to provide much aid in that area. But he can still be an asset if the rest of the team can spread the floor around him.

To Extend or Not To Extend

The Pistons’ move to acquire Avery Bradley, a viable two-way threat with a dangerous outside shot, was met with both praise and scrutiny. The praise came due to the clear upgrade that Bradley will be against the pricier option of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on both ends of the court, as well as the value at which the Pistons have him (just over $8.8 million against the max deal it would have taken to retain KCP). However, his expiring deal taken up in the place of a gritty presence like Marcus Morris and a younger option like Caldwell-Pope, were criticized. Especially given Morris’s leadership and incredibly club-friendly deal.

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Whether or not his stay in Detroit will last beyond 2017-18 is yet to be seen. But the Pistons would do well to see if they can’t lock up the 26-year old for the long-term. While he’s eligible for an extension, the club, for the next six months at least, can only add two years to Bradley’s current deal at $9.5 million annually. After that six month period, the most the Pistons could offer him would be four years at $11.85 million per.

Because he’ll almost certainly receive a bigger payday on open market you can expect that Bradley is going to test the waters upon his contract’s expiration. And, even before the preseason, it’s possible that he’s made up his mind already, as a source close to the situation has already said an extension won’t happen because “money is too low.”

Eyes will be on this as the season progresses.

New Threads

With the arrival of Nike as the NBA’s official apparel partner, the Pistons rolled out a new uniform set for the upcoming season and beyond. The Icon (white) and Association (blue) uniform sets are all that have been revealed so far, with potential alternate and throwback sets to come at a later date.

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Though largely similar to their predecessors, there are a few marked differences:

The manufacturer’s logo returns, with Nike’s hallmark swoosh featuring prominently on the right sleeve of the jersey.

The new primary logo appears at the center of the waistline.

A new secondary logo appears at the bottom of the left leg.

The Pistons join many others around the league in adding a sponsor to the left sleeve of their jerseys. A red and white advert for the metro Detroit-based Flagstar Bank will appear on all uniform sets, much to the chagrin of many fans.

A Sort of Homecoming 

After threat of legal action blocking the team from making the move, 2017-18 will officially see the Pistons returning full-time to the city of Detroit for the first time since their departure from Cobo Arena in 1978. Their new home, Little Caesars Arena, is taking final shape as Detroit native Kid Rock’s opening six show engagement swiftly approaches. Season ticket packages are on-sale now on the Pistons’ official website, with single-game tickets becoming available to the public on September 16th at 10 a.m. local time.

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The future of the team’s former home, the Palace of Auburn Hills, remains up in the air.

Schedule Released

The full schedules for all 30 NBA teams were released.

The Pistons will open their inaugural season at Little Caesars Arena on October 18th. Notable division matchups include visits from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 2oth and January 30th, and appearances by the Milwaukee Bucks on November 3rd and February 28th.

Kevin Durant defending champion Golden State Warriors will make their only appearance in Detroit on December 8th. The new look Houston Rockets, spearheaded by the tandem of James Harden and Chris Paul, will visit on January 8th. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and the newly acquired Paul George will lead the Oklahoma City Thunder into the Motor City on January 27th. The Los Angeles Lakers and rookie sensation Lonzo Ball and the aforementioned Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will bring the Lake Show to the Great Lakes State on March 26th.



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