The Detroit Pistons, already reported to be one of the most aggressive teams in the NBA leading up to the trade deadline, have discussed Stanley Johnson as a potential trade option in conversations with teams, according to ESPN.
Teams are reportedly more interested in sharp-shooting rookie Luke Kennard, but Detroit doesn’t “appear to be interested in moving their 2017 first-round pick,” ESPN’s Ian Begley writes.
Johnson was the eighth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and while he has been a solid defender since his first day on an NBA court his offensive game has never developed.
Nearly half of his shots this season have come from the 3-point line where he is shooting a woeful 29.1 percent. He also doesn’t have much verticality in his game and doesn’t get to the free-throw line.
He has started 22 games this season but was not a fit as a catch-and-shoot player in the starting lineup and eventually lost his spot to Reggie Bullock.
Detroit reportedly wants to get stronger on the wing, even talking to the Orlando Magic about a potential Evan Fournier deal. They’ve also apparently expressed interest in Nikola Mirotic who would presumably allow Tobias Harris to slide into the starting small forward role.
The Pistons also have a little bit of a logjam at the wing so even if a clear upgrade wasn’t available they could look to trade Johnson for an upgrade elsewhere. The Pistons are trying to open up time for promising rookie Kennard and professional bucket-getter Langston Galloway has fallen out of the rotation recently because the team can’t play all of Avery Bradley, Kennard, Bullock, Johnson and Galloway meaningful minutes on the wings.
This season, Johnson is averaging 7.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists on a slash line of .348/.291/.776.
If the team were to trade Johnson the one thing they would sincerely miss is his ability to defend larger wings on the perimeter and in the post. The team would be awfully undersized on the perimeter unless they netted a decent replacement on the wings. Will make it much tougher to defend LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals.