The Detroit Pistons made some good strides last year. Stan Van Gundy once again worked magic with a defensive minded center as his star and was able to get the most out of his players. Last year was all about the Pistons being able to make the playoffs and they were able to accomplish that by winning 44 games, good enough for the 8th seed. There are many questions mark about the upcoming season, especially with teams like the Wizards, Knicks, and Bucks looking to get into the playoff hunt. They look to build on their potential for the upcoming season, but there seem to be a few issues that are going to be an obstacle for this young team.
Players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Stanley Johnson made good strides for the Pistons. KCP is trying to develop the reputation as a 3 and D wing. KCP began to take 5 3-point shots per game; unfortunately, he did this while only shooting 30% from downtown. KCP is going to have to work harder to get open and maybe limit his shot selection to become an efficient 3-point shooter. KCP can receive the negative reputation of a chucker if he continues with his inefficient shots.
Stanley Johnson was tasked with guarding the league’s best player in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Johnson did not blink. Stanley did lose the match-up versus Lebron, but Johnson was able to bother Lebron in game 3 where he only shot 8-24 from the field. This was the one game where Johnson’s trash talk seemed to bother Lebron a bit because Lebron did go on to finish the series shooting 48% from the floor. Johnson plays with a chip on his shoulder, which can be valuable or volatile. Some draft experts were higher on Justise Winslow than Stanley Johnson who was picked ahead of Winslow. Johnson can use this as motivation to show his critics he can be a defensive stopper who will be more offensively adept than Winslow, which is the reason Detroit drafted him.
Reggie Jackson played very well as their starting point guard for the Pistons. He proved that he’s a serviceable guard and was the team’s primary ball handler averaging 18 ppg and 6 apg. Jackson is not an all-star and is not comparable to the upper echelon of guards in the east such as John wall, Kyrie Irving, Isiah Thomas and even Kemba Walker. Unfortunately for the Pistons, Reggie Jackson will be missing a significant amount of time with tendinitis. The Pistons have gone as far as to look for some players who could fill the void that will be left by Jackson. This is a big blow to a team who began to trend in the right direction.
Andre Drummond is the undisputed leader of this team. He is the teams star and his biggest asset is defense. He was able to control the boards in every game he was in. Drummonds offense is solid in comparison to most big men, except that he is the worst free throw shooter in the league… ever. Drummond shot 35% from the free throw line last year. That is something that wont be too much of an issue this year due to the changes in the hack-a-(insert player here) strategies. Drummond will have even more workload put on his shoulders this year with the injuries to the squad’s key players.
As said before, The Pistons made some great improvements last year. Stan Van Gundy was able to get the team to play team basketball and resulted in an 8 seed for the team. The fact is the Pistons were on the verge of making a bigger jump this year with players having one more year of experience and looking to make jumps such as KCP and Stanley Johnson. The bad news for Detroit is that the glaring hole at the point guard spot will really hurt their chances to start the season. Point guards are too crucial to the game of basketball to not have a true starter. This will not be Detroit’s breakout year. The Pistons will struggle out of the gates and instead of improving, the teams record will finish at 41 wins. Just missing out on the playoffs in the east due to teams like the Wizards, Knicks, Bucks, and Bulls all looking to make a jump.
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