Pistons should make a play for Erick Dampier

April 10, 2010: Erick Dampier of the Dallas Mavericks during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Ben Munn/CSM.

Photo courtesy of Yardbarker

Joe Dumars has gone on record as saying that he still wants one more big man. And I think he should sign embattled big man Erick Dampier.

After a fruitless search in the offseason, luring no big-man free agents and putting together zero trades, the Pistons’ GM is still unsatisfied with his team’s front-court depth. I’m sure Pistons Nation agrees.

Unfortunately, the pickings have always been pretty slim, with a bad free agent crop and nothing particularly attractive about the situation in Detroit — a bad team in a cold-weather city with an ownership situation in flux.

There are reports that the Pistons have contacted representatives to free agent Earl Barron, who has had an undistinguished four-year career. In a small cup of coffee with the New York Knicks, Barron was able to put up a double double in 33 mpg, but there is nothing in his previous stints in the NBA that suggests he is a quality player.

Dampier, who has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism ever since signing a megadeal in Dallas several years ago has actually been a productive NBA player — just not someone who is worth huge money. Dampier has shot better than 60 percent from the field in each of the past four seasons as a cleanup specialist and uses his height and big body to block a fair number of shots and grab rebounds while not fouling at an egregious rate.

He’s not a difference-maker on a contending team, but on a size-challenged team such as the Pistons he could provide the difference down low to actually start to make sense of Detroit’s unbalanced roster full of wing players. The Pistons have minutes available, more than the minimum to offer and could sign Dampier to a one-year deal and trade him to a contender near the trade deadline if they are, as it is assumed, out of the playoff chase. It’s a good situation for all involved.

Topics: Detroit Pistons, Erick Dampier

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  • Marcus

    Yeah, but pistons don’t have any rosterspot left i think… :-/

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com brgulker

    So whom would you cut to make room for him?

    Additionally, he’s too old. We’re in a position where we don’t need a 1-2 year deal with an old big man. We’d be better off with financial and roster flexibility than we would with Dampier.

    Best-case scenario: Damp helps push us into the hunt for the 7-8 seed. So what? Who’s in a hurry to get swept by Miami or Chicago? Just my opinion, but not me.

    I’d rather let Monroe have all of those minutes, even if he’s playing out of position at C. Let’s give minutes to the young guys for a year and see where the chips fall.

    • Sean

      9 times out of 10, I would agree with you, but I think the Pistons are in a spot where they need to add any sort of legitimate big man they could find, even if it is not necessarily an efficient use of resources.

      The problem is that if this team is ever going to sort our this mismatched roster, it is going to have to have some sort of presence on the block, even if it’s Dampier-level quality.

      With no big men to speak of, save the offensively challenged Ben Wallace, there is no way of knowing who can really play with whom, who has good chemistry, and who should move on to greener pastures.

      I don’t think the Pistons will ever have a chance to see if Rodney Stuckey can develop into a passable NBA point guard, whether Charlie V. could be a serviceable starting PF on a playoff-caliber team unless he’s next to a legit center, etc. I think they need a stop-gap while Monroe develops on the defensive end, and someone who will allow Monroe to utilize his talents in the high post so that he can be given a healthy dose of minutes.

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