The Detroit Pistons have a history of winning teams, and they did it in the meanest ways possible. Laimbeer, Wallace, and Rodman were just a few of the championship winning and abusive forwards who have suited up for the Motor City. Just like their hometown city, the Pistons hit some rebuilding years, and they were ugly. For sake of time (and general respect for the organization), we won’t talk about those embarrassing years; but turning to this season and the few games that have shone through a bleak existence, we get to see the hopeful “coming of age” Detroit basketball.
Being realistic, this is an expected start to 2016 for the Pistons, in that Drummond is reminding us what it means to be a Bad Boy in Detroit. So far, he’s grabbed 88 boards in 6 games. Let’s put that into perspective… Dwight Howard has grabbed 74 boards, DeAndre Jordan has grabbed 74 boards, Hassan Whiteside has 71 boards, Rudy Gobert has 68, and finally, Karl Anthony Towns has grabbed 40 boards. Working to put Detroit back on the map, Andre Drummond is throttling the competition and that should give the Piston’s fan base uncharacteristic amounts of hope. This team has the potential to finish in the top 6 in the Eastern Conference if they play their cards right. Right now, this season they’ve won 4 and dropped 2 which is not a bad start, but I’m not about to get ahead of myself here and start to make bold predictions for the entire season based on the first week of games. It should be noted that the Pistons dropped their game to Toronto with a score of 91-109. This should be at the forethought to that locker room, especially if they want to be taken seriously, since Toronto has a strong possibility of meeting the Pistons early in the playoffs. In both losses this season, Drummond has had 6 rebounds…do you see what I’m getting at here? Drummond gets boards, Detroit wins. That’s not their only key to success in Detroit, but it’s absolutely pivotal. The guard situation here isn’t bad either, being spearheaded by KCP and Ish Smith who are looking consistent and effective where it counts: Ish is averaging 7.5 assists per game while KCP is at 12.8 points per game. Those numbers fit the needs of this lineup; with KCP being a threat offensively, that opens up defenses on Tobias Harris (18.8 pts per game) and Marcus Morris (17.5 points per game) giving them more scoring opportunities, especially if teams want to try and take Drummond out of the game. We are seeing the fruits of all the terrible seasons that plagued Detroit, but now they need to capitalize. Tobias Harris is no joke of a player and Drummond is only 23 years old; their future is solidified and with their growing success it’s time to win games and keep pushing toward the future of their franchise. Watch out for the next coming free agency season (don’t expect anything like the off season where they signed Josh Smith…what a dumpster fire).
A factor that can’t be forgotten is that Reggie Jackson should be returning to the court in the coming months here as he recovers from tendinitis in his left knee. Reggie Jackson was a trade deadline acquisition from the Thunder two seasons ago that has been extremely beneficial to Detroit in their growth and facilitation for Drummond. Expect to see their productivity increase once he returns: more assists, more scoring options and another player on the court who can be trusted in clutch moments in close games. With Ish Smith gaining invaluable minutes on the court as a starter, when he moved back to the bench behind Jackson, watch out for the Piston’s bench depth, not only at the guard position but the forward situation isn’t to be ignored either. Marjanovic, Leuer and Johnson are incredibly valuable to this season in that their bench will not be denied rebounds and hustle while Drummond is on the bench.
Cutting to the chase, I am excited to see Detroit make waves in the NBA and finally piece some wins together. Going up against teams like the Pacers, Cavaliers, Bulls, Bucks and Raptors will be a continuous challenge in the standings, but I expect them to finish strong in the East. They have scrappy “under the radar” players who are going to be strong as they try to solidify their place in the East. I’ve found that when you have a team of players constantly trying to prove themselves in a league of super-stars, they can actually grind out serious wins and play team basketball. The future that Detroit has is promising and exciting, I hope you tune in for their six nationally televised games (an improvement from the embarrassing 0 nationally televised games last season) and watch the beginning of a new era strike up in Detroit.
Season Prediction: 47-35 (6-7th in the East)
All stats and numbers were provided by ESPN.com. Ideas, analysis and predictions are intellectual property of the original author.