Josh Smith Would Make Detroit Pistons Instant Title Contender

By John Raffel
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith could take the Detroit Pistons to the NBA playoffs and within a couple of years if he signs with them. That remains a big if, but not as big as it was a few weeks ago.

If the Pistons put the most money on the table for Smith which they might be able to do because of the salary space they’ve saved, and if Smith clearly is convinced the Pistons are in the right direction and will soon return to NBA elite status, he just might sign.

The hesitation for Smith will be if he doesn’t think this is a team ready to make that big move. The Pistons thought Ben Gordon could be in a similar situation when he signed prior to the 2009-10 season. He brought impressive credentials with him to Detroit, but signing with the Pistons marked the downfall of his career.

Fortunately for Smith, the situation here is entirely different. The Pistons have dropped all of the holdovers from the 2004 championship team, Greg Monroe has four solid seasons under his belt and Brandon Knight has come a long way after three seasons. Don’t forget about Andre Drummond, who is already considered to be the team’s best overall player in his second season.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also adds some firepower as the Pistons’ No. 1 draft pick. Then there’s Maurice Cheeks, probably the most respected coach the Pistons have had since Larry Brown.

Unless he gets a better offer financially, Smith should sign with the Pistons. He can make things interesting in the Motor City again.

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