Detroit — The aftermath of the Pistons’ trade to acquire former Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman left some searching for answers as to why the team needed another big man.
The NBA has become full of dominant guards and forwards, but when Pistons general manager Troy Weaver surveys the landscape of the league, especially the Eastern Conference, size is the glaring difference.
Weaver spoke publicly about the acquisition of Wiseman for the first time Friday morning on the “Stoney and Jansen Show” on 97.1 The Ticket
“In the East, if you want to compete and have a chance, you’d better have some big guys,” Weaver said. “The top four teams in the East — Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Cleveland — if we want a chance to compete in the East, look at those teams. They’re all top-12 defense and they’re all big.”
The Cavaliers feature a couple of twin-tower centers in Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley and both dominated Detroit’s young frontcourt in a 113-85 loss on Wednesday. The 76ers and Bucks are led by MVP candidates Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston center Robert Williams totaled six offensive boards in his 15-rebound game against Detroit last week. The Pistons have yet to win a single game against the aforementioned teams, with a combined 0-12 record.
“We’ve played all those teams and we’ve been at a disadvantage size-wise against those teams,” Weaver said. “Like the NFC East in football, if you can’t stop the run and run the ball, you don’t have a chance. If we can’t rebound and play at the rim, we don’t have a chance. Adding this guy to (Marvin) Bagley and (Isaiah) Stewart and (Jalen) Duren, really gives us a chance.”
Wiseman’s first three seasons in the league were hindered due to injuries. The Warriors drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft as the likely centerpiece to their future, once the current cast was finished competing for titles, but Wiseman couldn’t stay on the floor, and Kevon Looney served as a more reliable option at center.
Weaver, who league sources say has been a fan of Wiseman’s since he was a draft prospect out of Memphis, compared the deal to Jermaine O’Neal, who became an All-Star with the Indiana Pacers.
“This young man, tremendous talent, hasn’t had a chance to show everything he has yet because of injury,” Weaver said. “Playing time is tough when you are drafted by a championship-level team, sometimes. I kind of liken the trade similar to when Jermaine O’Neal got traded from Portland to Indiana. He didn’t play much in Portland at all. Came to Indiana and got a chance to be on the floor. The rest was history with them. Hopefully, Wiseman gets on the floor and shows who he is and grows with our young core and pays dividends for us.”
Pistons sign Stanley Umude to 10-day contract
Wiseman’s addition and the departure of Bey and Knox made the Pistons thin at the forward position.
As a result, the team decided to address that need in the short term by signing Motor City Cruise guard Stanley Umude to a 10-day contract.
Umude, 23, is a 6-foot-6 wing who will add perimeter shooting to the roster. The Pistons already have Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Livers and Hamidou Diallo on the wing, but another forward with size helps with depth.
Umude was signed to an Exhibit-10 contract this season during training camp before the final roster was finalized. He was acquired by the Cruise when he was released by the Pistons. He’s averaged 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 35% from beyond the arc in 18 games with the Cruise.
The Pistons took advantage of the open roster spot, and Umude gives them a temporary solution to a long-term need that will need to be addressed in the offseason.
In one season at Arkansas, Umude averaged 11.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game after spending his first four years of college at the University of South Dakota.