The Detroit Pistons are one of many middling Eastern Conference teams that are expected to take a significant leap forward this season. Stan Van Gundy’s first year in the Motor City didn’t get off to the start that management and fans had hoped for, as they ushered in their season, as they dropped 23 of their first 28 games. At rock bottom, with a record of 5-23, Stan Van Gundy did the unthinkable and waived team cancer Josh Smith even though he was only in year two of a four-year, $54 million extension signed just the year before.
Graphic via detroitsportsnation
The Pistons went on to make a rapid surge up the Eastern Conference standings following Smith’s departure and even held a playoff birth for a brief period of time. However just as things were beginning to look bright in Detroit, their entire season was setback by the ruptured Achilles of floor general Brandon Jennings. This injury came the game following a 24-point, 21-assist night for the electric point guard. The Pistons’ front office understood that this is an injury that is going to take months to recover from, so they went out and found his replacement in Reggie Jackson and signed him to an $80 million extension. With Jennings hopeful to return to the lineup on opening night, these two ball dominant guards are going to have to mesh on-the-go to achieve any sort of success, as together they hold the keys to Detroit’s future.
However due to the lack of front court talent on the roster, an intricate cog of the Pistons’ success rides on 22-year old Andre Drummond. The dynamic 6-foot-11 center is entering his fourth year in the NBA and is going to be asked to play a larger role than ever before – both offensively and defensively.
The Detroit Pistons schedule is a very interesting one. They will open up their season with a visit to the Philips Arena in Atlanta in what will surely be a battle of the coaches. Reigning Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer will look to bring similar success to the Hawks as last season and Van Gundy will be looking to get his name out there again after reaching the NBA Finals in 2009 with the Magic. The Detroit Pistons have no shortage of storylines throughout the season. The Detroit Pistons schedule has them playing four games against the Milwaukee Bucks and their free agent acquisition, Greg Monroe. The second of four match-ups on December 4th will be played at the Palace of Auburn Hills in what will likely be an unwelcoming reception for the return of Monroe. His exit from the Motor City was in no way classless, but the disgruntled big man left a sour taste in the fans mouth.
Ultimately with their guard play and big man in the middle, the Pistons have the talent to have a legitimate shot at the final playoff spot. However much of their success will be determined by their chemistry issues, as there is no telling how this group of players will mesh under Van Gundy’s 3-point barrage system.
Graphic via isportsweb