The last time Troy Weaver spoke to local media, the Pistons had internal optimism that the 2023-24 season would culminate in a turning point for the fourth year of their latest rebuild.
That was four months ago. Since then, the team tied a dismal NBA record with 28 consecutive losses and their dismal 8-43 record led to a massive overhaul of the roster’s margins. The fourth-year general manager completed five trades over the past month before Thursday’s trade deadline. Seven new players have joined the team since January 14, including Simone Fontecchio, Quentin Grimes and Mike Muscala.
Weaver, who held a 30-minute news conference after the trade deadline on Friday, took responsibility for the team’s disappointing performance in the first half of the season and said he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to complement the team’s young core. , Cade Cunningham. , Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Ausar Thompson and Isaiah Stewart.
“Changes need to be made and we wanted to make some changes and change the energy,” Weaver said. (Complementing the young core) didn’t happen in the first half of this season for various reasons, but we’re not going to cry over spilled milk. “We didn’t make it.”
The Pistons are 3-3 in their last six games, including a pair of impressive wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings, two of the Western Conference’s most promising young teams, along with a resilient comeback victory by 23 points in overtime against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
“As you’ve seen the last few nights, the young core has really stood out. It’s my fault that we haven’t done a good job of complementing them in the first half of the season. Injuries, defense, all that. It just wasn’t there. I’m “I own that. I own what’s behind us, but the last few months will catapult us forward to strengthen a team.”
An active trade deadline played out like this for the Pistons: Veteran scorers Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks were dealt to the New York Knicks in exchange for Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, two future second-round picks and cash considerations. Guard Ryan Arcidiacono was also acquired, but was released.
Detroit parted ways with Kevin Knox II and traded the draft rights to Gabriele Procida to acquire Fontecchio, a second-year forward with a promising perimeter shot. He’s shooting a career-high 39% from 3-point range this season, along with 8.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Pistons sent Flint native Monte Morris, who missed the first 42 games due to injury, to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Troy Brown Jr., Shake Milton and a 2030 second-round pick. Detroit also acquired a 2024 second-round pick and cash considerations from the Philadelphia 76ers, along with Danuel House Jr. (who was also waived) in exchange for a 2028 second-round pick that likely won’t carry over.
Bogdanovic and Burks were the Pistons’ most valuable assets who were coveted by several contending teams last season. Weaver said they kept the duo around for the past year because the Pistons needed a veteran presence to surround their young team.
“I think it was important that we strengthen the team with younger versions of those guys,” Weaver said. “I think we did it. The comeback: We had better offers last year at the deadline. You can say that, but this is where we are now. I like what we got in return as players. We got draft capital. No.” I’m not getting a (first-round pick), but I like the players we added to our young group. “The comeback, all of that plays out on the court and hopefully that works in our favor.”
The Pistons have remained without a playoff appearance since the 2018-19 season and have compiled a 68-219 record since Weaver was hired as the Pistons’ general manager on June 18, 2020. When asked what his message for Pistons fans and why. He felt he was the right person to continue leading the rebuild of one of the league’s most historic franchises, Weaver.
“Absolutely, I’m the right person,” Weaver said. “I sat here in June of 2020 and said we were going to restore the Pistons. That’s what we’re going to do. We have a plan in place. We have a young core that is showing that they are growing and that they have a chance. Being players specials. It’s up to us to continue to strengthen that group. We have things in place. Our core is in place. We have a coach in place to lead us, but I am absolutely excited for the future.
“From day one, I am unwavering. I am tasked with restoring the Pistons and that will definitely happen. It has taken longer. Like I said, we are in troubled waters, but that will only make us stronger. We are looking forward to better days and That will happen very soon.”
Killian Hayes, the seventh pick of the 2020 NBA Draft and Weaver’s first draft pick, was one of five players waived following a busy trade deadline.
Weaver was asked about Hayes and why he didn’t fit with the Pistons after roughly 3.5 seasons with ample opportunities to prove himself as a formidable point guard in the NBA.
“It was a numbers game,” Weaver said. “With trades, we had to take on a certain number of players and it was a limited number of guys we could choose from to release, and Killian got caught up in that. I’m excited for what the future holds for him. A tremendous young man.” Man. He is still 22 years old. Hopefully, he can find his place somewhere else and continue his professional year.”
When questioned further, Weaver said Hayes’ release was due to his inefficiency in shooting. The fourth-year guard shot just 27.7% from 3-point range through the first 210 games of his career.
“He had size. He’s a versatile defender. Playmaker with the ball. It didn’t work out because of his shooting,” Weaver said. “He never got his shot. The guy can really defend. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen the playmaking ability, but if you’re a point guard in the NBA, you have to make shots. The farther away from the basket, the closer to the basket, the less clever you can be.
“If you’re a guard, you have to make shots. I’ve talked to Killian ad nauseam about that. Getting his shot better, that was ultimately the reason he wasn’t as successful as a player as he should be. But he has all the attributes , be a good player, but when you are a guard, the shot is paramount and the other guys who are stepping up, as we have seen, their shot is there and it comes.
“If you look at the demise of any guard in the NBA, pushing themselves to be a really good player, you have to improve your shot. Guys like Marcus Smart came in as a non-shooter and became a 36-38% 3-point shooter. If not You get there already (with a shot), you have to turn your weaknesses into strengths and ultimately he couldn’t get there with his shot, which really didn’t bode well and why “It didn’t work out. It was the shot from him.”