The 2021-22 NBA season will attempt to be as close to a normal NBA season as possible after two years playing through a pandemic. The COVID situation in the United States has not improved as much as expected, but the league expects to get a full 82 games in while pushing for its players, coaches and staff to get vaccinated.
DKNation will be going through all 30 teams ahead of the season, looking at how the roster shapes up for the 2021-22 campaign. Here we take a look at the Detroit Pistons, who hope to ride No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham to contending status in the near future.
Detroit Pistons 2021-22 Outlook
Key additions: Cade Cunningham, Luka Garza, Kelly Olynyk
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 NBA draft has embraced Detroit and the opportunity to build a contender, something the franchise and fans love to see. Garza, drafted at the end of the second round, appears to be a steal after his Summer League play. Olynyk was a rare long-term free agency signing, but might be used as trade filler down the line as the Pistons continue to get better.
Key departures: Mason Plumlee, Sekou Doumbouya
Both trades make sense for the Pistons in the larger context of building a team, but Doumbouya was still a young wing with potential. It’s tough to let that type of talent go, especially for an organization which isn’t going to attract marquee free agents.
It’s a rebuild in Detroit. General manager Troy Weaver has done a good job getting out of the team’s outsized contracts to second-tier talent and now has flexibility to maneuver around his young core. The Pistons are going to have a lot of cap space over the next two seasons, so expect them to be a player in the trade market as the team improves.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Jerami Grant
Grant is quietly one of the league’s most versatile players. He averaged 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season for the Pistons after a big bump in usage rate. While he’ll be less involved offensively this season, Grant can still deliver value across the board. He’s also going to be taken late in fantasy drafts if at all and be a potential steal for players this year.