With 14 of 15 roster spots occupied on the Detroit Pistons, the Pistons are in dire need for a third center alongside Andre Drummond and Thon Maker. A couple names that have been linked to the Pistons are Pau Gasol and Kosta Koufos. There are a few more guys who I believe could fly under the Pistons radar for that final roster spot. Below are my rankings of the five centers the Pistons should target.
39-year-old Pau Gasol should be at the top of the Pistons list for the third center spot.
Yes, Gasol is at the end of his career, however, he could provide minutes when needed and would be a veteran presence in the locker room that knows what it takes to win.
Gasol enters this offseason after playing only a combined 30 games between the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks last season. In those 30 games, Gasol put up averages of 3.9 points and 4.6 rebounds on 44.7 percent shooting from the floor and 46.2 percent from three in 12 minutes.
The six-time all-star is currently recovering from surgery on his left foot to repair a stress fracture. However, he will be able to resume full basketball activities come August.
Gasol is at the top of my list for the final center spot due to his playoff experience and the price point that the Pistons would be able to get him at. I believe that Gasol could help mentor both Drummond and Maker.
After spending his last four seasons in a Sacramento Kings jersey, 30-year-old Kosta Koufos enters the 2019 free agency period after playing only 42 games for the Kings in 2018-19. Koufos missed a good chunk of the season due to calf and hamstring injuries in both of his legs.
Injuries aside, Koufos put up solid per-36 numbers for Sacramento, having per-36 averages of 11.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. In his 42 games of action, Koufos only saw 12 minutes per game, with the majority of his playing time coming during the middle of the season.
The 11 year NBA vet would add size to the Pistons bench, standing at seven-feet tall and weighing 245 pounds. Not only would he add size, but he has the ability to run the pick and roll and finish in the paint.
Former Michigan State Spartan big man Matt Costello could and should be on the Pistons radar for the third-string center spot. Costello only has 32 minutes of NBA action under his belt, coming during the 2017-18 season with the Spurs. However, Costello put on a show this offseason as a member of the Pistons Las Vegas Summer League team.
Costello has averaged 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and one block on 56.8 percent shooting, in 20.6 minutes per game during the Pistons five summer league games this offseason.
At only 25 years old, the Pistons might want to take a risk on Costello and sign him to a minimum contract. He’s proved that he can play and by working with Dwane Casey and spending some time in Grand Rapids, he could turn into a nice backup for the future.
Another member of the Pistons Summer League roster that could potentially earn himself a contract from the Pistons is undrafted rookie Donta Hall. Undersized at 6’9” and 230 pounds, Donta Hall’s game reminds me a lot of Pistons legend Ben Wallace. Even though he is undersized, Hall is uber-athletic and does a great job of blocking shots.
During Summer League, Hall has tallied averages of six points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and a steal in 16.7 minutes per game. Hall is extremely raw on the offensive end, but his defensive awareness is what could make him a target for the Pistons.
At only 21 years-old, Hall could sign a small deal and spend time with both Detroit and Grand Rapids, even though both two-way contracts are signed, to improve his offensive game and work on his already impressive defensive capabilities.
The fifth and final player the Pistons could potentially look at is former Piston and now NBA Champion Eric Moreland. Moreland only appeared in a total of five games last season with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors. In his lone year in Detroit during the 2017-18 campaign, Moreland played in 67 games for former head coach Stan Van Gundy.
In those 67 games, Moreland put up averages of 2.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in 12 minutes per game. Those stats obviously are not impressive whatsoever, but what kept Moreland on the floor was his grit and hustle.
After playing a part of the 2018-19 season in Toronto, Moreland knows what kind of system Pistons head coach Dwane Casey runs, as it was adopted by Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. With Casey’s ability to develop players, Moreland could still have a chance to turn into a rotational piece in the NBA. However, at 27 years-old, Moreland’s time to show what he has could be running out, unless a team like Detroit gives him a chance.
With the excitement of the NBA offseason winding down, Pistons fans will be anxiously waiting to see who will take that final roster spot. I would not be surprised if it ended up being one of these five guys.
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