It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to say it, but the Detroit Pistons seem to be making strategic moves to become relevant again. On the eve of the Major League Baseball trade deadline, two NBA teams got together today and made some noise. The Detroit Pistons completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks for Brandon Jennings, giving the high-motor, undersized guard a 3-year deal averaging $8 million annually. In return, the Bucks will receive former top ten pick Brandon Knight, 2012 2nd-rounder Khris Middleton, and Slava Kravtsov – a 25-year old Ukranian big man who may never see the antics of Joey Crawford live in person.
Obviously, the big draws here are Jennings and Knight. Jennings, coming off a season in which he averaged 17.5 points, 1.6 steals, 3.1 rebounds, and 6.5 assists, is looked at as a foundation for the future of the Pistons. Earlier this summer, they went out in free agency and scooped up Josh Smith – another high-octane player who will fit perfectly with Jennings. Brandon is a career 39.4% shooter who hasn’t seen a shot he does not like. Smith is very similar, so some coaching may need to happen. Chauncey Billups, who signed a 2-year deal this offseason, may just be that. He might be able to provide Jennings with enough focus to turn some of his unwarranted shots into great looks to Smith, Greg Monroe, or Andre Drummond.
Brandon Knight was highly regarded coming out of the college version of an NBA team – the Kentucky Wildcats. After two semi-unsuccessful years with the Pistons in which he averaged 13.1 points and 3.9 assists on 41% shooting, Knight is getting moved to the Bucks as they begin a semi-rebuilding process that also saw them lose J.J. Redick and Monta Ellis this offseason. The Bucks did pick up O.J. Mayo, a ball-handling and scoring point guard/shooting guard mix, which may have been the catalyst for Jennings’ departure. Yet, nevertheless, the Pistons are the big winners here. Jennings’ potential is there to possibly become a semi-star. If he can corral his shot selections and make an extra pass here or there, this team could be a player away from making some noise in the East.
Of course, the real reason we know about Brandon Jennings is the awesome haircut. The guy burst on the scene at the 2008 McDonald’s All-American game with the flattest high top since Christopher “Kid” Reid of the group Kid ‘n Play. Above is a little taste of what Pistons fans may come to expect as the 2013-14 NBA season approaches.