Vince Ellis Detroit Free Press
Published 6:00 AM EST Feb 8, 2019
The Detroit Pistons front office decided to trade the team’s best 3-point shooter and best perimeter defender.
In their place are two projects still trying to find their way in the league.
Not exactly the master strokes needed for a playoff push.
But first-year Pistons coach Dwane Casey — fully aware of the franchise’s position — said Thursday, moments before the 3 p.m. trade deadline, that the expectation remains the same.
“One vision I have is winning,” Casey said. “That vision doesn’t change. I’m not trying to be trite, but the No. 1 vision in any trade that I have — and our team has — is winning. We’re going to proceed as normal. Our goal is to get into the playoffs. Every game is important … with (29) games to go. That vision doesn’t change and as long as I’m here, that vision will stay the same as far as trying to be in the playoffs, getting into the playoffs, ultimately to get people talking about the Detroit Pistons competing for a championship.”
A championship isn’t coming this season.
With the Pistons sitting 1 ½ games behind the Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with 29 games left, making the postseason is hardly certain.
And with Reggie Bullock joining LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers and Stanley Johnson moving on to the New Orleans Pelicans (via Milwaukee), it’s likely the Pistons’ playoff push is weakened.
But with the front office looking to create a mostly clean cap sheet by the 2020-21 season, Bullock and Johnson were deemed expendable.
The Pistons’ new additions
The Pistons’ haul consists of two prospects and a 2021 second-round pick.
Rookie swingman Svi Mykhailiuk went through practice Thursday and, while Casey was talking to reporters, he went through a workout with skill development coaches.
Mykhailiuk — and the second-round pick — come from the Lakers, who obtained Bullock shortly after the former Piston scored 19 points in a victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
At 6-foot-8, he was mistaken for 6-10 power forward Jon Leuer briefly while he took shots on the opposite end of the floor.
“Everybody knows that I’m a pretty good shooter so definitely stretching the floor and creating my own shot, whatever they need me to do,” Mykhailiuk said. “Just play hard and make the right plays.
“It’s going to be a different team, different role, a different style of play. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity.”
Mykhailiuk, who was selected in the second round by the Lakers, joins a group of wings that have yet to establish any consistency.
The other new Piston, big man Thon Maker, didn’t practice because the trade wasn’t completed until Thursday, although it was reported Wednesday.
Johnson was first traded to the Bucks, but the Bucks sent him (and multiple second-round picks) to the Pelicans for forward Nikola Mirotic.
Maker has arrived in Detroit; it’s not clear if he will be available for Friday night’s game against the Knicks at Little Caesars Arena.
Maker will provide frontcourt depth and can play center or power forward.
Bullock was an established starter, so Glenn Robinson III, Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway are the candidates to step into the starting lineup.
The Pistons are 24-29 and have the 25th-easiest schedule remaining, according to the website, Tankathon.
“The guys that are here, we have enough guys to go out and fight, compete so today was more about getting our compete level up, things we didn’t do well against New York, more so than trying to integrate one guy,” Casey said.
Follow Vince Ellis on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.
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