The Detroit Pistons made the first trade of the NBA trade deadline week and are rumored to not be done with their wheeling-and-dealing.
The Pistons in need of some scoring help acquired super talented Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic in exchange for a pair of veterans, Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova today.
“We are pleased to welcome Tobias Harris to our organization,” Pistons GM Jeff Bower said in Detroit’s press release. “Tobias adds good versatility as a ball-handler and scorer who can play both forward positions. He also has good experience for a young player and will fit well with the young core we have assembled on our roster. We appreciate the contributions made by Brandon and Ersan to our organization and wish them well moving forward.”
Harris, 23, is still developing his skill set despite this season being his fourth in the league. Harris saw his scoring average drop this season under Orlando head coach Scott Skiles but otherwise his numbers have improved overall across the board. He has produced 10 double-doubles this season, one short of his career-high of 11 last year, and is averaging 13.7 points along with 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 49 games – Harris missed the Magic’s last three games prior to the All-Star break with ankle soreness.
Harris has scored in double-figures 39 times and has six, 20+point games while shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 31.1 percent from three-point range and 78.1 percent from the free throw line. His production is expected to increase with the Pistons according Bradford Doolittle of ESPN as Harris, who is expected to start at power forward for the Pistons, could supplant Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris as the team’s third option behind Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond.
While the addition of Harris will likely help the Pistons in the long-run, losing Jennings and Ilyasova could cost them this year as Detroit attempts to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Which is why the Pistons are combing the market for a veteran guard to add to their rotation according to Adrian Wojnarowki of the Vertical.
Detroit (27-27) in currently ninth in the Eastern Conference after dropping three in-a-row and six-of-its-last-10. The Pistons alternate their first six post-All-Star break games (home-and-away), starting with a road trip at Washington on Friday. Four of their next six opponents possess losing records and five of the games are versus Eastern Conference foes – Detroit is 16-15 against conference foes and 13-8 against teams with a sub.500 record.
Jennings, who hasn’t been his explosive self since coming back from a ruptured Achillies, appeared in 23 games this year and averaged 6.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 18.1 minutes per game. Jennings has never been a good shooter, his struggles so far are still a disappointment as he is shooting 37.3 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from the field. Jennings will be a free agent after this season.
Ilyasova’s ability to stretch the defense will likely be missed. The 28-year old tied Caldwell-Pope and Jackson for the team lead with 1.5 made triples a game and was third on the team in terms of shooting percentage from beyond the arc (36.3 percent). He also averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27.6 minutes of action.
With the loss of Ilyasova, Anthony Tolliver may get some more run due to his ability to knock down perimeter shots. Tolliver has struggled from the floor, connecting on just 38.2 percent his shots though most of those are three-pointers which he is making at a 36.6 percent clip.
With Jennings out of the picture and Jodie Meeks injured, the Pistons only other guards are Steve Blake, Spencer Dinwiddie and rookie Darrun Hilliard. Blake has appeared in just 30 games, averaging 4.4 points and 2.9 assists while shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. Dinwiddie and Hilliard both have the ability to put up points in bunches, neither one is ready to perform at the NBA level on a consistent basis.
So, who is available and will the Pistons go after them?
There are several guards still on the market, like Jeff Teague though he is unrealistic for the Pistons. DJ Augustin, Darren Collison, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Mo Williams are possible options.
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press is reporting that Augustin could be heading back to Mo-town.
Augustin has appeared in 34 games for Oklahoma City this season but hasn’t seen the court since Jan. 29. The 28-year old is averaging 4.2 points and 1.9 assists while shooting 38.0 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from beyond the arc.
[photo by John Raoux/Associated Press]