2018 Detroit Pistons Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The Pistons are the latest team to prove one of the biggest truths in sports - that hiring a genius doesn't always, or even often, lead to brilliant results. It seemed like the Pistons had solved all of their problems when they hired Stan Van Gundy to coach and run the team four seasons ago. But he could never recapture the magic of year's past, and the team never took a step forward. Now he is gone, and the team is left with a make-or-break roster. If everything fits together, they stay healthy, and have some luck then they could be a good team. Not a contender, but a solid playoff team. But if injuries are the issue they always seem to be with this core of three players, then it could be a long year and a deep hole that will be tough for the franchise to climb out of. Limited upside and the real chance of ongoing agony - just what every fan dream of for their team.
If they are all healthy, the trio of Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson could be a pretty strong group - better than what a good number of teams in the league have for sure. They have to be, though, since they make $75 million combined. And that health thing is where you have to be really concerned. Griffin has mastered the art of the long-term injury, and his setbacks are not the kind that typically get better with age. Jackson has averaged 48 games a year the last two years. Drummond is the only one who has stayed healthy through his career. He is also the youngest of the group at just 25, though, and at his size and style of play he's not going to stay healthy forever. And then there is the fact that the group hasn't yet found their way together - not that they have had much of an opportunity. The team was just 11-14 after Griffin joined the squad, and he and Drummond have yet to figure out how to share the court. They certainly haven't looked like Griffin and DeAndre Jordan did in L.A. when they were together. And Jackson and Griffin played a total of only 44 minutes together, so we don't know anything about what he will be able to do with this group. They should be able to find a way to make it work - with an above-average passer with two big guys to pass to, it doesn't require an active imagination to see the upside. But nothing is certain, and it wouldn't take much for this group to become a costly anchor that limits the upside of the team.
One guy who could really benefit from the coaching change is Stanley Johnson. He is probably the best defensive player on the team but has not yet developed into anything close to what people thought he could be when he was drafted in 2015. Casey could potentially get through to him in a way that Van Gundy struggled to.
2018 Detroit Pistons Additions and Departures
The team took their time looking for a replacement for Van Gundy and seemed to interview more than a handful of guys. In the end, though, they had Dwane Casey fall into their laps. It's not often that a team gets to hire a guy before he has been awarded the Coach of the Year award for his work with his previous team. Casey struggled to get top efforts out of the Raptors in the playoffs, but that is far from the biggest concern Detroit has. What he did do was an excellent job of helping a roster gel and getting the best he could out of the resources he had in the regular season. He should be a strong fit for this team, but then on paper so was Van Gundy.
The team did not have a first-round pick, so the two players they added in the middle of the second round - Khyri Thomas of Creighton and Bruce Brown Jr. of Miami - are going to require some real patience. They aren't going to solve any problems in the short term.
The team has a bloated payroll, so their roster options this offseason were limited. All they could do is add a group of veterans for low contracts and hope for the best - Jose Calderon, Zaza Pachulia and Glenn Robinson III are costing them less than $9 million combined, and all are on low-risk, one-year deals. We know what Calderon and Pachulia are, but the Robinson deal could be the steal. He was very good two years ago off the bench in Indiana, but injuries derailed him last year. If he can stay healthy he can be very useful off the bench.
2018 Detroit Pistons Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +30000
Eastern Conference title odds : +7000
Blake Griffin MVP Odds : +22500
Season win total: 38.5
The team went 40-40-2 ATS on the season, which means that they were as underwhelming to bet on as they were watch. They went "under" the total 44 times and "over" 35, so there were small profits on the under over the course of the season.
2018 Detroit Pistons Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I look at this team on paper and I just want to yawn. The upside is there, I guess. But the depth isn't great. I don't trust Griffin to stay healthy and am not convinced that he really gives a damn when he is healthy anymore. And Jackson's health - and chemistry with Griffin - are both concerns as well. Casey is a good coach, but you can only do so much with what you have to work with, and he doesn't have a lot. I am a pessimist here and would take the under on the win total.
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