NBA’s hardship deals uncovering ghosts of Pistons’ past

Detroit Bad Boys

Thanks to the Omicron variant, Greg Monroe is back.

The former Detroit Pistons centerpiece returned to the NBA this week on a 10-day hardship deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had a solid first game back, scoring 11 points while grabbing 9 rebounds to go with six assists in a Minnesota win.

Even better was this quote after the game: “Not gonna lie, Jaylen Nowell played awesome tonight, but I had no idea who that was.”

That’s what the past month has been in the NBA: A collective “WHO” from everyone.

It’s been the season of “I remember that dude!” and, while it’s introduced us to some new faces, it’s brought back some fun memories, too.

Monroe is back, of course, and so is Brandon Knight. Last seen in his second (short) stint with the Pistons, Knight has given the Dallas Mavericks a boost as their backup point guard.

The list of former Pistons signing these fill-in, hardship deals is actually kind of nuts:

That’s like the entire Stan Van Gundy era!

So, seeing that list, I went to Twitter and asked the people: Which former Pistons would you love to see pop up on one of these deals? Who, out of the blue, would you want back in the league?

The responses were a trip down memory lane:

Probably one of the only guys I’m surprised hasn’t gotten a call. Thomas did nothing in Detroit, but averaged 16 points per game in five games with the Rockets last season. I don’t know if he’s any good, but then again, I don’t know if 85% of these hardship dudes are?

Again, surprised Sekou hasn’t gotten a chance. He had a nice game with the Lakers early this season. He’s still young. Does things. Some people think he still has a chance. Not me, but people do. Sekou’s team is either fed up with the NBA right now, or he’s not healthy. I’d guess it’s the latter.

Blast from the not-so-distant past here. Moreland, another SVG player, could probably help the Pistons. That’s a low bar, but while he was allergic to scoring, he has good size. He’s stuck in the CBA, though. It’s notoriously hard to get out of China until the season ends.

Alright, time for some throwbacks. Afflalo hasn’t been in the NBA since 2018, but seems like the type of random dude to suit it up one more time. It’d be kinda cool to see him in Detroit, specifically, since he was such a nice young piece before being traded to the Nuggets.

I got this one A LOT. Jennings is a favorite in so many fans eyes and I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually got a call. I just think it would happen in Milwaukee after they basically made him an unofficial member of the title team last year.

Now we’re cooking. It’s been awhile since Daye was last around, but tall lanky shooters are in vogue now more than ever. If OKC brought him in to be tall and shoot threes for a week, would you be surprised? After all, they need to make up lottery ground on the Pistons.

Jonas! Loved this dude in Detroit. He’d still be in the NBA if not for a torn Achilles that really shortened his career. This wouldn’t be THAT crazy either as he just averaged 11 points per game for BC Khimki in the EuroLeague. If the Warriors called, he’d be on the next flight.

Ok. Ok. This is some real, gourmet, before social media, kids don’t even know who this sleepy dude is kind of Pistons humor. And I’m so here for it.

Yes. Still too soon.

Caron Butler could barely move when he was camping out in the corner for the Pistons that last season, but I could see him being like, “I can help in a pinch.” However, NBA rules don’t allow player coaches, and Caron is currently an assistant under Erik Spoelstra in Miami.

Winner! I would LOVE this. I lived and died with Rodney Stuckey. Some of y’all are relentless in your support for Killian Hayes now or Sekou Doumbouya in the past. That was me (and so many others) a decade ago with Stuck. DEAR NBA, SIGN RODNEY STUCKEY!

Which former Pistons player would you love to see make a 10-day, hardship cameo back in the NBA somewhere? Let us know in the comments!

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