Stanley Johnson Could Join NBA Trade Rumor Mill As Detroit Pistons Can’t Find ‘Identity’ For Player [Opinion]

Detroit Pistons player Stanley Johnson might be the next big name joining the NBA rumor mill of athletes likely to be traded due to the 2015 first-round draft pick’s struggles to find his role with his team.

The latest news comes from comments Pistons’ head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy made about Stanley Johnson this week. According to a Detroit Free Press article, Stan Van Gundy is looking for Stanley Johnson to find his “identity” offensively with the Pistons.

“Offensively, I don’t think we have an identity for him. Is he a big two-guard in the mold of Wes Matthews, Jimmy Butler who is going to go down and be a post-up guy against smaller twos, but then also develop into a good shooter. I think he has the capabilities probably of either, but I think we need to find an identity with him.”

Some of the blame for the lack of an offensive identity lies with Stanley Johnson, the Detroit Pistons head coach assessed. Even in placing some of the blame with Johnson, Stan Van Gundy implored for his talented second-year player to have time to develop that missing identity.

“We haven’t in anyway given up on Stanley… We’re talking about a 20-year-old guy and everybody develops at different rates. We can give you numerous examples of guys who got out of the gate quicker than others that didn’t end up the better player long term. I think the real thing with Stan for us and for Stanley is us really finding an identity for him and working toward that.”

Outside factors are hurting Stanley Johnson as well, The Detroit News reported. Prior to the 2015 season, the Pistons had picked up Marcus Morris. Then, the Pistons traded for Tobias Harris, a player that can player either forward spot, leaving Johnson — who had a terrific freshman campaign — without a spot in the starting rotation.

Add to that list of issues that Stanley Johnson is also going through a sophomore slump statistically that’s keeping him from finding his offensive identity. Last season, Johnson averaged 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game over the 73 games he played for the Pistons in his rookie year. Through his first 14 games this season, however, Stanley has only netted 4.1 points per outing and 2.4 rebounds while playing about six fewer minutes per game.

Over the weekend, Detroit made lineup changes that shifted Stanley Johnson from backup guard to the end of the bench according to Michigan.com. The reasons that Stan Van Gundy gave the media following the games — both losses to teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference — was the to try and spark a stagnant offensive performance by the Detroit Pistons.

“All I’m trying to do is win. That’s it. I’m just trying to figure out what’s best to win. I’m not trying to get anybody going or anything else. I’m trying to get us going… Tonight, Marcus (Morris), Tobias (Harris) were playing well. There just wasn’t a reason to go to [Stanley Johnson] at the 3. And so, that was the reason — that’s sort of where I’m at with him right now. He’ll play some backup-3 minutes, but we’re really struggling on the offensive end. Trying to find somebody who can pick up that slack.”

The changes resulted in reduced playing time for Stanley Johnson. The former University of Arizona athlete played 16 minutes in a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday before sitting out the entire game on Saturday against the Boston Celtics. Stanley Johnson did rebound to play 10 minutes in the team’s fourth straight loss to Houston on Monday.

Minutes for Stanley Johnson may become harder to come by as the Detroit Pistons prepare to welcome back Reggie Jackson, Michigan.com reported. Jackson — who’s been sidelined since an October 10 therapy treatment for tendinitis — is hoping to return to the court in early December. Reggie will begin to participate in practices this week, the guard told reporters during a recent shoot-around.

“I don’t know exactly what the protocol is, but I feel good. I’m feeling good. Hopefully they get me back as soon as possible. I feel great, and the more reps I get with my teammates the easier the call for everybody who is in the decision making, to get back. But I’m feeling good. I’m feeling real good. I’m feeling optimistic. I’m just hoping to get back soon.”

NBA rumors suggesting the Detroit Pistons would trade Stanley Johnson have mostly been relegated to fan sites, but that could change if the players’ role with the team continues to diminish over the season. A Detroit Pistons’ Fansided article offered up Stanley Johnson as part of a package for Klay Thompson, a rumor every team in the league dealt with due to gossip sites wildly reporting fake trade news surrounding the Golden State Warriors star.

While NBA rumors aren’t swirling about Stanley Johnson yet, other trade rumors about multiple NBA players continue to make the rounds, the Inquisitr reported. Greg Monroe rumors continue to swirl as he — like Stanley Johnson — recently sat for a game to allow other players to develop. Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is attracting attention from Denver and Portland, according to another report. And Philadelphia 76ers big man Nerlens Noel could be traded to Boston or Toronto, NBA rumors have suggested.

Do you believe Detroit Pistons’ athlete Stanley Johnson could become the next name added to the NBA trade rumor mill? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Featured Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]