Pistons' quick free-agent strikes promising first steps back to elite
The Pistons won't contend for a championship next season, but will they be challenging in three or four years?
That is the question raised by Detroit president
The key measure of both newcomers is their ages. Gordon is 26 and Villanueva is 24, and they'll join with 23-year-old point guard
This new era was launched in November by the Pistons' painful decision to move
But these free-agent agreements amount to a good start for Detroit -- so long as they are viewed as opening moves, rather than finishing pieces. As replacements, Gordon and Villanueva don't measure up to the departed Billups or soon-to-be gone
Villanueva has been criticized as a perimeter-shooting power forward who doesn't rebound, but his rebounding numbers (6.7 per game in 26.9 minutes last season) compare favorably with Wallace's (7.4 in 32.2 minutes), and Villanueva is coming off an efficient 16.2-point season with Milwaukee. If he maintains that production for Detroit, his contract will be viewed as an excellent value.
The Pistons remain frontcourt-thin while they wait to see if 34-year-old big man
Hamilton could have an extended future as Detroit's version of
Gordon's signing makes sense in a couple of ways. Though many teams have questioned the usefulness of a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, the Pistons can live with his size while pairing him with the 6-5 Stuckey at point guard. In addition, Gordon doesn't mind coming off the bench as long as he is on the floor down the stretch, when the Pistons could go with all three guards to create a variety of scoring options among Hamilton, Gordon and Stuckey.
Whether they hire
The next coach will be Detroit's fifth in eight seasons. But the Pistons should have enough firepower to contend for the playoffs as they spend the next two or three years developing their new signings as well as first-round pick
Crucial to Dumars' plan is to keep the Pistons in contention during this transition, so his players will have value in potential moves down the line. For fans who fancy themselves as armchair GMs, the Pistons are going to be an interesting franchise to study over the next several years.