NBA Picks: Pistons Have Added Excitement
by Aaron Smith - 8/7/2013
The Detroit Pistons were one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference for many years. However, since the 2007-2008 season fans in Detroit haven’t had much to cheer about. The Pistons have gone downhill quickly since that time. Detroit hasn’t won more than 30 games in any of the last four seasons.
Team President Joe Dumars decided this offseason was the perfect time for some major changes to this team. The Pistons have been trying to build something by stocking up on young talent the last few years, but they haven’t been able to put together a competitive team. Dumars and the rest of the front office have been swinging for the fences so far this offseason. Will this pay off right away? Let’s examine the brand new look of the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit hasn’t had much going for them in the frontcourt over the last few years, but that should change quickly. Josh Smith was signed to a four-year deal during the offseason, and he’ll instantly inject this team with a major dose of athleticism in the frontcourt. Smith needs to adapt his game to become more of a slasher and finisher around the hoop and cut back on his outside shots. The Pistons will need him to be aggressive going to the basket this season.
A closer look at the rest of the frontcourt shows that the Pistons could quickly have a very good front line. Andre Drummond was very raw last season, but his ceiling is sky high. Drummond has all kinds of natural ability, and the team has liked what it has seen from him in the offseason. Greg Monroe has already been the team’s best player, and Monroe is only 23 years old. Adding more talent around him should take some pressure off him. Other than the Los Angeles Clippers, there probably isn’t a team in the NBA with as much athleticism in the frontcourt as these Pistons.
While the frontcourt hasn’t been particularly good, the backcourt has been the single biggest area of weakness for the Detroit Pistons in the last couple years. Detroit made a big move in the offseason and traded for point guard Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks. It was a move that received mixed reviews from experts, but it was a risk that the front office felt needed to be taken. Jennings did shoot less than 40 percent from the floor last year, and he has been a shoot-first point guard in his career. On the other hand, Jennings averaged a career-best 6.5 assists per game last season. Jennings recently said, “I definitely have to change my game for this team, for my teammates, everybody to be successful.” He went on to say he won’t need to take the bad shots he was taking in Milwaukee. If Jennings can turn into a playmaker that looks to set others up first, the Pistons might have made a great deal. Only time will tell.
Chauncey Billups was also signed to come back to the team. Billups will be 37 years old when the season starts, so I’m not sure how much the team will get out of him. Still, it should be helpful to have a veteran leader in the backcourt, and he is a guy that the fans in Detroit love. Dumars counts his trade of Billups as one of his biggest mistakes at the helm of this team. Billups will be reunited with his old team, but he isn’t going to recognize any of the players.
New Head Coach
Maurice Cheeks was hired to be the new head coach in Detroit. Cheeks is a no-nonsense type of guy who wasted no time in laying down the law with his new team on the first day of workouts this summer. Cheeks said that he demands accountability and respect from his team, and he wants them to have a sense of pride about being a member of the Detroit Pistons. Cheeks is a very disciplined coach, and the front office hopes that he can positively change the way this team functions as a unit.
NBA Picks: Detroit Pistons Futures
The Detroit Pistons are listed at 75/1 to win the NBA Finals in 2014, according to odds from Bovada. BetOnline lists the Pistons at +12,500 to win the Eastern Conference in the upcoming season.
There is no way this Pistons team will be a threat to win the Eastern Conference or even compete for the NBA Central Division title. Still, there is no doubt that the moves made during this offseason should make the Pistons a much more exciting team to watch. Motor City fans will now have a reason to tune in and watch a talented team with superb athleticism. Will these offseason moves add up to more wins? In the end they should, as long as all of these players are willing to put the team before themselves. If this team gels and has the chemistry it has missed the last few seasons, there is a chance they could sneak into the playoffs.
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