Snell was acquired from the Bucks, along with the No. 30 pick in the draft, in a trade for Jon Leuer. Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Auburn Hills — He wasn’t the small forward the Detroit Pistons thought they’d end up with following the NBA Draft, but Tony Snell could be their best option at the position as they head into free agency.
After the Pistons acquired Snell and the No. 30 pick in the draft from the Bucks for Jon Leuer’s expiring contact, they added a rotation piece and some assets. The big get is Snell, a 6-foot-7 veteran with a 7-foot wingspan who brings experience and a two-way presence that the Pistons lacked at the position.
In his first three seasons with the Bulls, Snell steadily increased his playing time, and though he hasn’t averaged in double figures in scoring, he has been a solid defender and 3-point shooter throughout his career.
In three years with the Bucks, Snell only missed 17 games and started all 80 he played in 2016-17. Just as Milwaukee was beginning its ascent toward becoming one of the top teams in the East, the Pistons are looking to build a consistent winning team.
“I’ve been through this before and I know what it takes to try to build. It’s not my first rodeo, like from the Bulls to Milwaukee,” Snell said Thursday. “That was my first rodeo but now I know it’s a business and I know what it takes.”
He went from a starting role to a reserve this past season, when the Bucks had the best record in the NBA and Snell averaged 6.o points, 2.1 rebounds and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc. He can bring some of that know-how to a Pistons group that added Sekou Doumbouya in the first round of the draft but still needs an effective offensive option.
Even if that offensive option isn’t Snell, he’s ready to play whatever role the Pistons need, whether it’s as a starter or in the second unit.
“Whatever they need me to do, I’m willing to do – whatever is needed to get the job done,” Snell said. “I’m not looking for them to draw up plays for me. Whatever they feel it is, I’m open to it.”
The Pistons also could look for another scoring option in free agency, but with very little room to add a big-name player, Snell could fit in either role nicely. Besides Doumbouya, Svi Mykhailiuk is the only other player taller than 6-6 who could slide in at small forward.
Snell, 27, brings some familiarity, having played in Milwaukee with Pistons forward Thon Maker, who was acquired at the trade deadline, and assistant coaches Sean Sweeney and Tim Grgurich.
“I’m very excited to join the team and whatever I have to do to bring an impact to the team, I’m willing to do,” Snell said. “It’s the fact that I’m wanted — that’s what it’s all about. All I can do is do what I do and work hard.”