While teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are likely to be at the top of the East, this conference is there for the taking, especially if one of the fringe contenders were to make a blockbuster trade.
This is exactly why the Detroit Pistons need to strongly consider trading for Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, as adding the former Florida Gator to an already talented roster could very well make the Pistons a threat to get out of the East and make the NBA Finals for the first time since 2005.
Even though it’s encouraging to see that the Pistons have made the playoffs two of the past four years after a six-year playoff drought, fans have been craving more than just making the playoffs, and adding Beal would help give them the star power to win a few playoff series.
Trade is the only way to acquire Beal at this point, as he signed a five-year, $127 million contract back in 2016. Washington is doing everything it can to get Beal to stay in the nation’s capital, offering him a three-year extension worth nearly $112 million and including him in personnel discussions.
The Wizards have rebuffed all trade inquiries on Beal thus far, but if that changes, Detroit could send a trade package that includes Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, rookie Sekou Doumbouya, first-round picks in 2020, 2022, and 2024, and the right to swap picks in 2023, which works on ESPN’s trade machine. While this offer would give up more than a few of the Pistons’ young assets, it would put them in a win-now mode, giving them three potential All-Stars in Beal, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond to try to win the Eastern Conference.
While a trade like this would not instantly make the Pistons the favorite in the East, it would give them a puncher’s chance to make it into the NBA Finals. With as wide open as the NBA is this year, being there are 8-10 teams who could also say that, Detroit throwing its hat in the ring for a ring sounds like a pretty good idea.
This deal works for both sides, as adding Kennard and Doumbouya could help the Wizards embrace the youth in their rebuild while also giving John Wall more time to recover while Reggie Jackson fills in for him at starting point guard.
Beal elevated his game and took a big step forward last season, averaging 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting 47 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from beyond the arc. These numbers obviously make Beal one of the elite shooting guards in the NBA.
More importantly, adding Beal would give the Pistons another elite scorer to pair alongside Griffin, giving them the reliable shooting guard who could play well in crunch time that they haven’t had in years. Playing alongside Griffin and Drummond gives Detroit some deadly pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop opportunities, forcing defenses to choose between guarding capable 3-point shooters or elite finishers at the rim.
What makes Beal so valuable in today’s NBA is that he can create his own shot and create shots for his teammates with ease. The Toronto Raptors and their core just proved that the more of those guys you have in your rotation, the more likely your offense is to succeed.
Beal could pick up the slack on nights Griffin struggles, and vice versa. Both players can score from inside and out, and they could kick it out to the other one when getting stuck on the wing or getting contested at the rim. Only playoff contenders have more than one elite shot creator on the roster, and the Pistons adding Beal would certainely force them into elite company.
A core of Beal, Griffin and Drummond would finally give the Pistons a Big Three, which is not something a lot of NBA teams can say these days. Combine these three studs with an improved sophomore campaign from Bruce Brown, shooters like Khyri Thomas and Svi Mykhailiuk being able to consistently knock down corner 3s, and veteran contributions from offseason acquistions in Derrick Rose, Tony Snell and Markieff Morris, and all of a sudden this Pistons roster looks like one of the best in the East.
If the Pistons don’t make a move like this soon, they will be continue to be stuck in the middle of the league, which is seen as the NBA’s form of purgatory. Not a lot of teams have proven they can steadily improve with a lack of both top-10 picks and playoff wins.
According to recent NBA history, if owner Tom Gores wants to win an NBA championship for the city of Detroit, they have two options: they can pull a Sixers-esque plummet to acquire high draft picks while losing as many games as possible, or they can make a move for a star like Beal to contend in the East.
With Griffin and Drummond in the prime of their careers, bottoming out is a bad idea, as Detroit will never really be a free-agency destination. Now is the time to succeed, especially with how wide open the conference and the league are as a whole.
Making a move like trading for Bradley Beal would give Detroit Pistons fans something they have been craving for years: a legitimate chance to win some playoff games and perhaps even wind up in the NBA Finals.