No one expected much from the Detroit Pistons this season. The bar was set pretty low for this team, with most assuming they would continue to fight for another marquee rookie in 2023. Well, so far so good. The Pistons currently have an 11-31 win-loss record. That’s good enough for the last in their division and the entire Eastern Conference. Needless to say, the Pistons will likely continue down this path. As such, stocking up on active or young players would seem like a very good move for them in the coming weeks. Here, we’ll be looking at the top two trades the Detroit Pistons have to make before the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
Despite their dismal record, the Pistons have actually played well to kick off 2023. They have indeed won two of their last four games. They even beat the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors. This team certainly has potential, but we’ll likely see their young talents flourish after this season.
The Pistons, who have a net rating of -7.0 this season, are in trouble. In fact, that net rating is tied for second worst in the league. The Pistons also had six losing streaks of at least three games in 2022-23. Injuries are also a concern for the team. 2021 first-choice Cade Cunningham underwent successful lower leg surgery last month. He will, however, sideline him for the entire season.
Cade Cunningham has undergone successful surgery on his left shin, the Pistons announced.
As expected, Cunningham will miss the rest of this season. pic.twitter.com/GAVo8FEvEb
—ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 16, 2022
Given their current situation, it’s clear the Pistons need to make changes through trades. They should also consider moving any winning players that have significant trade value. This includes Bojan Bogdanovic, Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Cory Joseph and maybe even Saddiq Bey.
Now, let’s discuss the two best trades the Pistons have to make before the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
1. Flip Bogdanovic for a better shooter or pick
The Pistons have a weakness in their three-point shooting, as they are an average team in terms of accuracy at 35.5%. This is despite the recent acquisition of Bogdanovic, a veteran sniper, in an effort to improve this area. Obviously, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Despite the team’s struggles, Bogdanovic was granted a long-term contract with the Pistons. That said, he can still be considered a valuable asset. Take note that current playoff contenders should be interested in potentially acquiring him through a trade.
A potential acquisition for the Pistons to improve their three-point shooting is Luke Kennard of the Los Angeles Clippers. Keep in mind the 26-year-old Kennard has made 47.9% of his three-point attempts this season. As such, he could surely be a valuable addition to the Pistons. Also, remember that his diminished playing time with the Clippers could indicate the team might be interested in putting him on the block. Conversely, the Clippers might be interested in acquiring a more versatile winger such as Bogdanovic to bolster their wing depth.
Another option for the Pistons would be to trade Bogdanovic to a team like the New York Knicks in exchange for another player and a future draft pick. They could flip him for, say, Evan Fournier and a first-round pick. Given that the Pistons have the worst record in the East, it might be more beneficial for them to focus on improving their chances in the upcoming draft lottery.
2. Time to let go of Nerlens Noel
Veteran big man Nerlens Noel is also expected to be traded before the deadline. He was acquired by the Pistons from the New York Knicks over the summer, but is now part of a crowded center rotation in Detroit. With Isaiah Stewart starting and rookie Jalen Duren also requiring playing time, Noel’s opportunities are limited. This is even more pronounced once Marvin Bagley III returns from injury.
Despite this, Noel is talented enough to contribute to a contending team. He may interest teams such as the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets. Note that these teams all need defensive help at the center position. The Pistons would be wise to trade Noel and possibly receive a second-round pick in return.
Among these mentioned teams, Mavericks, one of Nerlens Noel’s former teams, might be the best destination for him. Recall that he played for the Mavericks for 1.5 seasons from 2017 to 2019 and that he may have the opportunity to return to the franchise. Note that the Mavs made a costly mistake this offseason by signing JaVale McGee to a three-year contract. This included a promised starting spot, which was quickly taken away after just nine games. Noel would bring valuable defensive skills to the Mavs. Remember, he’s known for his strong defensive game when healthy. While he may not contribute much offensively, Noel’s defensive impact would make him an attractive acquisition for Dallas.