Welcome to another day of NBA preview, as we talk about the NBA, counting down to the regular season start date on October 29th. Yesterday I talked about the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks so give them a read along with the rest of the teams done. Today we talk about another team that went all in this offseason, and made a bunch of big splashes in order to compete in the East. Let’s talk the Detroit Pistons.
Key Departures: Jose Calderon (Mavericks) Brandon Knight (Bucks) Jason Maxiell (Magic) Corey Maggette (Retired)
Projected Starters: PG Brandon Jennings, SG Rodney Stuckey, SF Josh Smith, PF Greg Monroe, C Andre Drummond
The Detroit Pistons decided to go all in this offseason, and took some huge risks on big name signings to big time money. This is all to try to compete in the top-heavy Eastern Conference, and they may have done that. The biggest move was Josh Smith who came over from Atlanta and got the big money he always wanted. Smith is going to become the guy on the Pistons, and I’m not too sure he can do that, but I’ll explain why later. Brandon Jennings also came over in exchange for Brandon Knight from the Bucks, and while this is perfect for Jennings who desperately needed a fresh start, it’s a major risk if Jennings can’t become a franchise point guard like everyone thought he would after his rookie year. Chauncey Billups is coming back to Detroit to finish out his career, and hopefully he can help these young guards develop. The draft yielded some good results, in Caldwell-Pope, a shooter, Tony Mitchell, a rim destroyer, and Peyton Siva, a potential future back up point guard. All around a very interesting offseason for this team, desperate not to be bottom dwellers anymore.
The starting lineup is fairly loaded, but I see one small, but actually major problem. No one can shoot. Brandon Jennings will look to start anew, but he’s going to have to run an offense of black holes, all the while you know he’s going to be looking for his own shot at the same time. Rodney Stuckey won’t be around much longer, I would expect him gone by next offseason, but he’s a serviceable shooting guard, but hopefully he won’t cut into Pope’s playing time much, as I would like to see the rookie on the floor quite a bit. Next is Josh Smith, who will be playing out of position at the small forward spot, only because of the Pistons already loaded front court. Smith is another player that couldn’t shoot to save his life, and hopefully the Pistons will beat the idea of sitting on the three-point line out of him by the start of the season. The two big men are the real saving grace of this team, as it has the potential to one of the best big men tandems in the league. Monroe is a super efficient forward/center who can knock down some jumpshots. Andre Drummond is a league darling, as he might have the most potential of anyone on this team. He’s a freak, throwing down ridiculous dunks, and blocking shots, but it remains to be seen if he can produce at the same level as a starter, as he did as a limited bench player last year.
This is a super talented team, and I believe they make the playoffs without much question, in a very weak, bottom eight in the Eastern Conference. The shooting will be a major problem, but I believe they can work around this somewhat with their incredible athleticism, and live by the mantra of “Death by Dunks”. It’s going to be a super interesting season in Detroit, and if this oddly put together team can get things sorted out, they could be super dangerous. Detroit fans might only have to wait a little longer, and they might have another contender on their hands.
Final Prediction: 46-36, 6th Eastern Conference