Mar 6, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) celebrates after a three point shot in the fourth quarter as Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (8) follows at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons defeated the 123-103. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Pistons have struggled as of late, but Tobias Harris has put up great stats. Is it time to sell high on him and improve by trading him?
It has been a tumultuous time for the Detroit Pistons ever since the embarrassing 113-82 loss to the division rival Chicago Bulls.
Since that loss, Stan Van Gundy has been tinkering with adding Jon Leuer to the starting lineup and bringing Tobias Harris off of the bench to provide a spark to this stale lineup.
Harris coming off the bench has provided the Pistons with great numbers by shooting 51.1 percent from the field, 38 percent from three, 6.2 rebounds per game and 20 points per game, but the Pistons have only gone 4-5 during that stretch.
Harris’ numbers are eye-popping and might be useful to a team that is lacking scoring from the wing, however I tend to question his ceiling. Is it drastically higher than what his line is now?
With a daunting Western Conference road schedule ahead featuring back-to-backs against the surging Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors, merely “shuffling the deck” is not enough to change the course of this season and Tobias Harris could be the next Piston traded away.
Here are the top three trade scenarios for Tobias Harris:
Dec 31, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) shoots the ball over LA Clippers forward Brandon Bass (30) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: Tobias Harris, Aron Baynes, and a 2017 First Round Pick.
Despite the gaudy numbers he puts up, it’s clear that Russell Westbrook needs some scoring help on the wing to win. Andre Roberson doesn’t provide much offense, only averaging 6.7 points per game this season, and Tobias Harris would instantly provide an upgrade offensively.
In return, the Pistons receive Roberson who despite his offensive struggles is a defensive stalwart. He is a pest on the perimeter and would add significant defensive help to the second unit.
Kanter is a solid center up front and can be played with Andre Drummond in a similar fashion to how he played with Steven Adams in the “MegaDeath” lineup that was so fierce in the playoffs.
The last time Andre Drummond played with another big man who wasn’t a threat from three, Greg Monroe/Josh Smith, spacing issues became apparent and the offense stalled. Bringing Kanter in might yield the same issue that plagued this team a couple of years ago.
Roberson might not fit very well in Stan Van Gundy’s “Four out, one in” system with him only being a career 27.6% three point shooter. In certain situations he is sometimes purposely ignored on the wings due to his lack of offensive ability and that often leads to double-teams.
However, what if the Pistons brought someone in who had the ability to consistently knock down threes?
Jan 3, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) shoots the ball during the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Nuggets Receive: Tobias Harris
Detroit Pistons Receive: Danilo Gallinari and a 2018 First Round Pick
The Detroit Pistons currently rank 25th in the league in three-point shooting and of all players in the rotation, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leads with 38.4 percent from three (#PayKCP). The Pistons could use a deadeye shooter like Gallinari.
Gallinari scores on 49.3 percent of all spot-up shots that he takes, which can prove to be beneficial to a team that lacks spot-up shooting off of the pick-and-roll.
Denver may be looking to unload older players like Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, which means that the team might not be as good in the next couple years. Their 2018 first round pick might prove to be a lottery pick and prove to be very valuable for the Pistons to use themselves, or dangle in future trade talks.
However, the downside would be Gallinari’s injury history. Gallinari has yet to play a full 82 game season in his 8-year NBA career.
Can the Pistons pull off a trade for an emerging star in the next trade?
Jan 3, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Utah Jazz guard / forward Gordon Hayward (20) controls the ball during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. The Boston Celtics won 115-104. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The Pistons have lacked a superstar to play alongside Andre Drummond for the entirety of his career and this trade gives the Pistons a good one in return.
At 26 years old, Gordon Hayward has steadily improved every aspect of his game and is just now entering his prime years. He has the ability to consistently knock down threes, ranks top 15 in the league at getting to the free throw line, and consequently shoots free throws at an 88 percent clip when he’s there.
The Pistons would also unload Stanley Johnson who lacks a definite position and has not really fit into his determined role as a “3 and D” player. He has struggled with his three-point shooting, shooting only 26.9% from deep this year.
The Pistons would become thin at the forward position after this trade, however. The Pistons capable of playing forward after this trade include Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer, Reggie Bullock, and Henry Ellenson. Reggie Bullock has been injured for most of the year and has played a nominal role when he does see the floor, and Henry Ellenson has been floating between the Pistons and the Grand Rapids Drive and is likely not ready for an increased role yet.