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The Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons - Looking for Sleepers
August 3, 2009


The Detroit Pistons have had a big makeover recently that began early last season when as part of a trade they sent Chauncey Billups to Denver in exchange for Allen Iverson. Iverson is not expected to return to the Pistons this season as the Pistons gave Ben Gordon a large free agent contract. This results in Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, and Richard Hamilton as the primary back court players on the Pistons. Unless Hamilton is able to spend some time at small forward, there is a possibility that one of these players will not be getting the type of playing time they would like if they all remain on the roster when the regular season begins.

Which of these players will not be getting the playing time they want is tough to predict, but given the size of the contract given to Ben Gordon (5 years, $55 million), he can be expected to be logging heavy minutes. Seeing as last year Gordon was already playing 36.5 minutes per game, he can not be expected to see too much of an increase.

Rodney Stuckey began last season in a limited role for the Pistons but then regularly saw at least 30 minutes per game. Before Gordon came, he was in line to become a sleeper candidate as a result of an increase in minutes with Iverson leaving. Now expectations regarding him must be tempered.

Perhaps the loser in the Pistons rotation will be Richard Hamilton, as an older player who the Pistons may feel is the right player to come off the bench. His fantasy appeal has been limited in the past as a shooting guard who does not hit a lot of threes and is not good in steals. He averaged 34 minutes last season and that number will likely go down.

The Pistons also lost Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess in the offseason and added Charlie Villaneuva (5 year, $35 million) and Chris Wilcox. Charlie Villanueva, who averaged just 27 minutes per game last season, is a prime candidate to emerge as a potent fantasy player giving him draft day sleeper appeal. In 47 games as a starter last season, he averaged 17.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.4 treys in 30 minutes. He can also give a little in the steal and block category. Extrapolating these numbers to 36 minutes would give him a very good fantasy appeal.

Chris Wilcox, while buried recently on depth charts, has some potential on the Pistons due to a lack of competition at center. Kwame Brown is considered his primary competition. In eight NBA seasons, Brown has averaged just 23 minutes per game. And he has long been given a chance as he was taken as the number 1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. If he gets playing time, Chris Wilcox can be considered an end of the roster fantasy player with the potential to provide some rebounds and blocks. This is actually an improvement for him.

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