December 12, 2016, 8:10 am
Stanley Johnson was back in the rotation for coach Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons on Sunday after a recent demotion to the D-League and a suspension for a violation of a team rule. Those recent events have some wondering whether or not the Pistons would consider trading the talented youngster.
CSN is reporting that those inquiries have been dispatched to this point and it’s hard to blame Detroit for doing so. Johnson is still a tremendous raw talent on the wing and moving him now would be an extreme case of selling low. With the most upside of anyone on the roster, there’s little incentive to trade Johnson with the Pistons hoping to establish themselves as a team on the rise.
It’s tough to say whether or not Detroit actually is an up-and-comer, as they’ve had some tremendous wins to go with horrendous clunkers so far this year. We’re about two years into the Pistons’ ascent into relevancy but it’s still not clear just how legitimate they are. Reggie Jackson’s injury hasn’t helped the cause, but Detroit should comfortably make the playoffs if the team gels like it should. All that said, the pieces they’d receive for someone like Johnson are unlikely to push them into the Cleveland or even Toronto strata of the East.
It may also be a case of teams trying to make a mountain of a molehill. Many younger players are sent down to the D-League to pick up extra playing time during the course of the season. It’s rare to see someone of Johnson’s pedigree make that jump, but he had fallen out of the rotation and was on board (at least publicly) with the short stint to pick up some extra run.
All in all, you can’t blame rival GMs for trying to poach a promising young player just like you can’t blame the Pistons for balking at the thought. We’ll see if anything changes.