Detroit Pistons Season Preview

Struggling Motor

The Detroit Pistons are another one of the teams that LeBron James did an injustice to.

After the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons just felt like a different team. LeBron made history against them, and then they lost to the Boston Celtics the next season after winning 59 games.

It was obvious that they weren’t getting any better and the top teams in the East were starting to pull away from them. After their 59 win season in 2008, the Pistons saw a win differential of 20 games the next season. They went 39-43 and decided they needed a change.

Instead of breaking down and building for the future then, the Pistons chose to try to stay in the championship hunt. Two games into the season they decided to trade Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson and have Rodney Stuckey be their starting point guard.

The Pistons were one of the worst teams in the league on the offensive end because of their lack of cohesion.

Ever since they fired head coach Flip Saunders in the offseason, they haven’t been able to stick with one coach.

They went from a team that has been an anomaly for many because of their lack of superstar talent to a mid-lotto/bottom feeder team.

They’ve got some work to do to make sure that they’re going to be a force in the NBA this next decade. They’re off to a pretty good start with their new centerpieces in Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight.

Greg Monroe was pretty close to being an All-Star center last year–I consider him a snub. He averaged 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds last season and shot 52% from the field. Not to mention that he shot 73% from the free throw line.

He’s one of the best post players in the league already because of his experience in the Princeton offense at Georgetown. His post moves are above average and he’s very, very good at passing out of the post.

He posted a 22.0 PER last season which indicate that he was playing on an All-Star level and his per 36 averages are 17.6 points per game and 11 rebounds per game. He’s a very bright spot in the Pistons rotation.

If Detroit continues to run their offense through Monroe, I think that they’ll be a force sooner rather than later. They’ll need to draft well still and work free agency to continue to get pieces around him that will help the offense become more fluid, but I think they’re onto something.

Andre Drummond Factor

This offseason the Pistons drafted Uconn center Andre Drummond with their pick in the draft. What Drummond brings to the table for them is elite athleticism, a knack for shot blocking, and a lot of potential.

What the Pistons have to do with Drummond is tap that potential. If he realizes it to its fullest, he’s probably the best pick in last years draft. Before the college hoops season he was considered the number one pick by many aficionados.

I believe that the troubles that Connecticut was going through with all of their sanctions last season contributed to Drummond falling off a bit. Also, Jim Calhoun’s health was a factor here, too.

Without proper coaching, Drummond wasn’t really given the chance to develop at UConn. Now, on an NBA floor he should have the chance to contribute greatly.

I believe that if the Pistons run an offense that goes through Monroe Drummond can certainly flourish. Monroe is one of the best passing bigs in the game. Drummond is the perfect partner for a bit of high-low action with his size and athleticism. You do the math there.

We’ve seen this with the Lakers over the past few years and we’ll see it with them this year also. Size is something that teams struggle to get in the NBA, but size with skill is something that teams will beat their brains over.

The Pistons actually have both. Using Drummond in combination with Monroe will be something that is very fun to watch.

Minute Allocation

Though the Pistons have a pretty good young core, they still have a lot of players who will serve as dead weight over the next few years and hold them back in terms of winning games.

They’re going to give their young guys plenty of minutes and playing time in hopes of developing a team that’s going to be able to do damage in a few years. By the trade deadline, though, I’m sure they’ll be active sellers.

Starters

Brandon Knight- 33.4 Mpg

Rodney Stuckey- 34.2 Mpg

Tayshaun Prince- 28.9 Mpg

Greg Monroe- 33.1 Mpg

Andre Drummond- 29.2 Mpg

Reserves

Corey Maggette- 22.8 mpg

Charlie Villanueva- 18.2 Mpg

Will Bynum- 23.7 Mpg

Austin Daye- 17.3 Mpg

Jonas Jerebko- 20.2 Mpg

Jason Maxiell- 23. 4 Mpg

Kim English- 18.9 Mpg

Jonny Flynn- 17.4 Mpg

Terrence Williams- 22.0 Mpg

Conclusion

The Pistons are a team that has a way to go in terms of being a force in the East. Could they compete for the eighth seen in the East next year? Sure. I don’t think they’ll get their though.

They need to shed some of their players like Corey Maggette and Charlie Villanueva in order to eventually succeed. They aren’t really going to contribute to this team getting wins and don’t really fit into their style.

Eventually, the Pistons will be back on the map. I believe that Greg Monroe is one of the best draft picks in recent years and he’ll eventually pan out. The team just isn’t going to be talented enough going into next season.

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