MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
The Pistons are still thanking the heavens and six other teams for passing on Greg Monroe during the 2010 draft. Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins would probably be the top two picks if that same group was thrown back into the draft pool. Monroe finished in the top five this season among Eastern Conference centers in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, assists, steals and double-doubles.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER
Austin Daye displayed a smooth stroke during his first two seasons and seemed to be the heir apparent to Tayshaun Prince at small forward. But when the club re-signed Prince, Daye had trouble getting over his disappointment. Once the season began, he lost confidence in his jumper and never regained it. He shot a woeful 32.2 percent from the field and 21 percent on 3-point attempts and lost his rotation spot to journeyman Damien Wilkins.
The Pistons were poised to draft a frontcourt player with the No. 8 pick last year, then were forced to shift gears when there was an unexpected run on big men. They got a floor leader instead (Knight) but can't ignore their frontcourt deficiencies any longer. They need a starter at power forward, or even center, to pair with Monroe and a 7-foot backup who can pitch in defensively against the likes of Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. They also need an athletic wing to push Prince at small forward and eventually become the starter, since Daye isn't the answer.
FREE AGENT FOCUS
Power forward Jason Maxiell has a player option on the final year of his contract. If he exercises it, he'll be looking for long-term security. The Pistons would be interested in bringing him back in a reserve role. Center Ben Wallace, forward Damien Wilkins and guard Walker Russell Jr. are unrestricted free agents. If Wallace doesn't retire, he'll stay in Detroit. Wilkins is expendable, as the Pistons expect 2011 draft pick Kyle Singler to return after playing in Europe this season. Rookie forward Vernon Macklin, a restricted free agent, flashed enough potential to stick around for at least one more season.
--F Jonas Jerebko completed the season with averages of 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds. He didn't have quite the impact the Pistons hoped when he returned from a season-long Achilles' tendon injury but he managed to remain healthy. He only missed two games and that was by coach's decision. Jerebko doesn't have the talent or defensive presence to be a starting power forward but he's a quality, reliable backup. He might play more often at small forward next season, depending upon other personnel moves.
--F Tayshaun Prince had the worst offensive season of his 10-year career. He averaged 12.7 points, his lowest output since he averaged 10.3 when he became a starter in 2003-04. A career 46.4 percent shooter entering the season, Prince shot a career-low 42.1 percent from the field, a huge dropoff from his 48.6 and 47.3 shooting averages the past two seasons. Prince battled a knee injury early in the season but at his age (32), there's not much hope his percentages will rise significantly next season.
--F Charlie Villanueva ended the worst season of his career on a high note with five double-figure performances in the last seven games. He appeared in just 13 games after missing two months with ankle and foot injuries and then being unable to crack the rotation until the late going. He will make $8 million next season and $8.5 million the following year, an awfully expensive reserve with an undefined role. Villanueva slimmed down and can still help teams with his shooting ability but it will be surprising if the Pistons don't use their amnesty clause on him.
The Pistons had no notable injuries heading into the offseason.
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