In the five games that Jose Calderon has been a Piston, he's easily provided the organization with the best point guard play they've had since Chauncey Billups wore the red, white and blue. Although the Calderon-infused starting lineup hasn't yet fully figured the best way to play with one another, the Metro-Detroit relocation hasn't affected the Spaniard's high-level play. Calderon's 39 assists and seven turnovers over his first five games is good for a 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Compare that to Brandon Knight's 1.55 assist-to-turnover 2012-2013 average at the point guard position, and it's not even close.
Joe Dumars is expected to offer Calderon a contract after this season, and besides the monetary price Calderon will require, the Pistons have been treating every day with Calderon as a chance recruit the current Piston. Terry Foster of the Detroit News has Lawrence Frank's thoughts:
"That's (the recruiting) every day," Frank said. "There is not a lot of window dressing. … We are going to do things the right way. It's a great opportunity both ways. It is an opportunity for us to show him what we can offer and it is a chance for him to show what he can offer. It is a great opportunity for both sides."
The phrase that should be focused on is "what we can offer," as in what, exactly are the Pistons offering?
Calderon could be the answer at the one, but Brandon Knight hasn't yet shown the ability to handle to the shooting guard spot consistently. By season's end, the Pistons may see that Knight isn't any better off at the two guard spot than he was running the point. If the Pistons need to go back to drawing board at the two, Calderon would likely consider signing with a more "ready" roster.
Kyle Singler is a nice role player and has handled the move to small forward well since Calderon has arrived. Still, the Pistons can't expect to get back to being a deep playoff team without finding a more athletic option on the wing. Singler has the potential to be a great second unit role player for the Pistons, but there's likely a more efficient option waiting to be signed this offseason. If the only starting lineup need is at the three (emphasis on "only'"), then Calderon would probably feel better about signing here.
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe have each established themselves separately this season, but they've rarely played well when on the floor together. They also haven't had enough opportunity to play alongside one another. Knowing that the two bigs can effectively make up next year's starting front court would definitely help Calderon's decision to re-sign. Problem is, with Drummond sidelined for another month there isn't enough evidence to support that the two bigs can coexist. Best case scenario is that Drummond comes back from the injury, and he and Calderon can develop a strong inside-out rapport with one another on the court. Therefore, stirring grand images in Calderon's mind of throwing alley-oops to a swooping Drummond monster.
The Pistons have close to $30 million to spend in free agency this offseason. Dumars has said he isn't going to spend like crazy, but he would likely spend on Calderon. It might be about more than the money for Calderon, as he's only started one playoff in his eight year career. If the Pistons don't present him with a plan that would likely result in going to the playoffs next season, the amount of money it might require to resign Calderon could be damning.
Tags: Andre Drummond, Basketball, Brandon Knight, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Greg Monroe, Jose Calderon, Kyle Singler, Lawrence Frank, NBA
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