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Detroit Pistons wholesale rebuild brings excitement

By Joseph Hayes

It will be an interesting basketball season.

When I first heard the NBA would return in December for a new season, I wasn’t honestly looking forward to such a quick restart.

After all, the Detroit Pistons didn’t offer much to be excited about. But that all changed quickly in the past week, in the buildup to the NBA draft and the start of free agency.

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Detroit went from one of the most boring teams, to likely the biggest winners of the draft and the start of free agency.

To say Detroit was active would be telling half-truths. In fact, Detroit was by far the most active with three first round draft picks and a slew of free agent signings.

But what will it all lead to? More wins? More rebuilding through trades? There does seem to be a plan in place. One that allows for even more moves —especially trades of veteran stars Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose.

But in the meantime, let’s take a look at some of Detroit’s most interesting decisions thus far.

Drafting Hayes

It was obviously nice to hear my last name called by the Pistons on draft night, but Hayes brings much more to the table.

The skilled lefty has ability with both hands and is known as a scorer and a playmaker. How he will coexist with Detroit’s other first round picks in the next few years will be something to watch.

Signing Grant

One thing I wasn’t expecting from Detroit was to go out and sign a promising player to a big-time contract.

But that’s exactly what the Pistons did in signing sought after free agent Jerami Grant. The 6-foot-8 combo forward signed a three year, $60 million contract that immediately makes him the second highest paid player on the team behind Griffin.

He brings a diverse skill set that could fit well with a host of new players on both sides of the court. It will be interesting to watch if the contract is in line with his potential, or the wrong side of free agency.

Jackson/Okafor signings

They were both moves that got my attention immediately. When Detroit signed former high draft picks Josh Jackson (forward) and Jahil Okafor (center) it was a trip down memory lane.

Each player was drafted high in the first round in recent seasons but haven’t quite panned out the way their former respective teams had hoped.

Jackson, 23, comes from Detroit, and was drafted fourth overall by the Phoenix Suns. He played two seasons there before a resurgence in Memphis last year.

Okafor meanwhile was the No. 3 overall pick out of Duke in 2015. He was one of the most skilled big men entering the league, but has suffered through injuries. Last year he showed flashes once more.

The moves, along with the rest of flurry of activity has made Detroit one of the teams to watch this season.

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