The Detroit Pistons are a fun long shot pick because of LeBron leaving (again.) The Pistons have far less to worry about knowing they won’t be playing behind LeBron and the Cavs, a very good feeling for any Eastern Conference team, this year.
It is certainly a little hard to get a full feel as to how talented the Pistons team can be, because they have quite a few guys who have put some miles on their feet. They have been counting on Blake Griffin to bring his 25pts + and ready to go for them, and their front-court to contribute significantly. And that isn’t really a bad thing. Griffin brings offense, Andre Drummond can rebound with anyone, and has done it with ease. 27 year old Reggie Bullock brings deep shooting skill for them at the guard position, and Drummond also has brought a greatly improved passing game from the 5 spot. The Pistons need to still improve defending the ball but they have improved their scoring greatly, up from 104 to 111 this season. If the Pistons offense keeps getting better with the 6-11 Andre Drummond and a fully healthy Blake Griffin, and continued improvement from Reggie Bullock, the Pistons could end up being decent. Their scoring has gotten better with an improved game on the court. A mix match backcourt has done just fine for them.
And this year with the Cavs drowning and Boston struggling like they have, things have opened up tremendously this year. Overall, the East has declined significantly with the leaving of LeBron to the Lakers, and other teams have added their different parts, and it has been a lot of fun seeing how they have meshed together as the East’s biggest mountain has now left the building. It seems that the Pistons and their fans have accepted a losing culture, with a sad 38 game win avg/season since 2010 and just 3 seasons with 35 or more wins, this is now their chance to make a move.
The big gift is that, LeBron James is not in the conference, or the division this year, which adds pressure to all of the teams, as he was constantly leading his teams to championships each and every year for almost a decade says Vegas Expert Mike Anthony. So now, the teams that were close, feel they should be next in line, and the teams that were on the outside looking in, are feeling they can make it now. The Pistons were significantly weaker last year vs the division, than they should be now.
Their starting line-up , decent depth & made a serious needed change at head coach – it is now time to man up & play with the big boys, the Milwaukee’s, the Raptors and the 76ers in the East. With the quiet talent that the Pistons have on their roster they should be able to make the post season. And the truth is, Detroit is probably the 2nd best team in the Central division. Not to say they can’t blow it, so they need to stay on track, solo led Charlotte can show up and wreck all their plans, and the Heat are not that great, and Cleveland are not even close right now. And the Bulls are not just a player or 2 from being good – they are several players away from being even tolerable to watch.
Detroit has seemingly overtook the Washington Wizards and their dynamic duo in the conference this year. I see 40-43 wins for them this season and that puts them just getting into the playoffs. This Detroit team won just 39 games last year, and the Pistons have been a struggling team that has made the playoffs just once, since 2009. But, I would say, the Pistons are much further along talent wise than they have been in some time.