It’s been a good summer so far for the Detroit Pistons.
It got better Saturday with reports that the Pistons have landed free-agent forward Josh Smith with a four-year, $56 million deal acording to USA Today Sports, who spoke with a person close to the situation on the condition of anonymity .
Smith can only help a Pistons team that has had five consecutive losing seasons and struggled to a 29-53 record in the 2012-13 season. Smith spent nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and was instrumental in helping them make the playoffs this past season, taking the Indiana Pacers to six games in the NBA playoffs.
Smith will add a veteran touch to the excellent core of young players that the Pistons have with center Andre Drummond, forward Greg Monroe, guards Brandon Knight and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and others.
Last season, he averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He gives the team that consistent night-in, night-out type of performance it needs to win more games.
If the rest of the younger players improve, which is expected, this is a team that could even challenge for the .500 mark. There’s a few more decisions the Pistons will have to make, such as on free agent guards Jose Calderon and Will Bynum, although it appears both will sign with other teams. The Pistons have tried to get Rudy Gay from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva, but that trade might be dead in the water.
Some Pistons fans are cautious on the Smith deal and are wondering if this will be like the Ben Gordon and Villanueva fiasco signings of 2009. The answer to that is clearly no.
Smith is a much better established player than those two were, and he might actually join the Pistons for the 2013-14 season as their best player, for now.