There aren’t any big men left in the free agents market that deserve to play more than 10-15 minutes a night, but the Detroit Pistons are looking to add another backup to their roster, focusing on Johan Petro and Cole Aldrich to be substitutes to their loaded frontcourt.
The starting lineup for the Pistons is going to include Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith playing the small forward position, although he’s really much more of a power forward, or at least has been for most of his career. Defensively it’s not an issue because he can guard all three frontcourt positions.
On the bench, there isn’t much left. While Smith will probably be playing as a power forward or maybe center as well under certain circumstances, the Pistons need more than just Charlie Villanueva, a guy who might be overpaid but can still be productive (6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds per game in 15 minutes a night) to a certain extent.
So there’s no choice but to turn to the free agency market, and see what they can dig up. The two most lucrative players they might find are Cole Aldrich and Johan Petro, both centers without a very impressive resume so far in his career.
Aldrich, 24, has been in the league for three years, and spent last season with the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings, averaging 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game on 8.6 minutes a night. There are those who think he should have had a bigger role to play on both teams, but no one was really willing to take that chance last season.
Petro has been in the NBA for 8 years, playing for the Atlanta Hawks last season, averaging 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game on 11.4 minutes a night. He doesn’t add much to the game offensively, but provides good defense and is pretty useful in a three-big man setup as well with the Hawks going that direction in the playoffs last season.
While Aldrich is younger by three years, this isn’t a pickup that will remain on the team for years to come. Petro is the better, more useful player, and unless he has unexpected demands, he should be the one to end up with the job.