Pistons Add Wilcox to Funky Frontcourt
But according to ESPN's Chad Ford, the Pistons went with 26-year-old dunker Chris Wilcox, who spent last season between Oklahoma City and New York. Ford reports Detroit will pay Wilcox $6 million over two seasons, which tells me the Pistons don't really want to wait around on Eastern contention, despite the relatively young core of the team.
Teams biding their time don't spend money on Chris Wilcoxes. The former Sonic and Clipper hasn't changed for years. He does two things well: rebound and dunk. He tries to shoot jumpers, and he tries to defend, but ... well, it hasn't really worked out.
And that's OK for a backup power forward in today's NBA. Some of the best "third bigs" -- like Brandon Bass, for example -- can be counted on for a solid 15-footer and some decent defense. Others, like Leon Powe, bring unstoppable energy on the offensive boards and dunk the crap out of the ball when they get it around the time. Only few teams have the luxury of Lamar Odom (maybe) or Rasheed Wallace (depending on how Doc Rivers runs his rotation). So Wilcox is acceptable in this sense: almost no one else will be bringing All-Stars off the bench in the frontcourt. It doesn't happen.
But the problem is that Detroit just forfeited Amir Johnson to Milwaukee, despite the fact that Johnson 1) is five years younger than Wilcox, 2) will earn roughly the same salary as Wilcox this season, and 3) has a contract which will expire next summer, in the vaunted summer of 2010. Amir is better than Wilcox today, but Detroit had to get from under Johnson's contract to have the room to sign Villanueva and Ben Gordon. It's a backwards situation which hurts the Pistons next year, and probably in 2010-11. (And never mind that, while Johnson's shotblocking ability was desperately needed on the Detroit roster, Wilcox's abilities are replicated by incumbent Pistons reserve Jason Maxiell.)
So, like so many of Detroit's moves the last several years, this is one that looks good in the narrowest sense but raises some substantial red flags in the macro sense. What is Joe Dumars doing?