Basketball season is upon us everyone, to add on to already watching football, the MLB playoffs, and of course The Walking Dead returning last night, my DVR just got a lot fuller. The Detroit Pistons open their season at Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves before their home opener November 1st against the Brooklyn Nets. The Pistons haven’t made playoffs since the 2008-2009 season and despite adding Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith last year to try and make the playoffs, they finished the season 29-53 for the second year in a row. The Pistons come into this season with a new coach in Stan Van Gundy who will also serve as the President of Basketball Operations taking over for Joe Dumars who stepped after last season after 14 years at the helm.
The Pistons were busy this offseason by adding shooting guard Jodie Meeks from the LA Lakers, and DJ Augustine from the Bulls to serve as the backup point guard to Brandon Jennings. Both players are expected to play a big role for the bench as the Pistons have had one of the worst benches in the league last year. Another plus they will bring to the team is their ability to knock down the three-point jumper which is another category the Pistons struggled at last year.
The big question still remains as to how Stan Van Gundy will utilize the Pistons “Big 3” in Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith, after last season. While all three can rebound, defensively was bit disappointing as Monroe isn’t much of a rim-protector and all three of them cannot shoot the outside jumper. Josh Smith was their best all –around player but he only shot 29% from three-point range last year and is known to shoot ill-advised shots at times. Greg Monroe has the fundamentals to be a solid offensive player but defensively he is slow on his feet and cannot block shots that well. Now on to Andre Drummond, he surprised many last year with his ability to block shots, create turnovers, and finish at the rim with either hand. A major part of his game that needs improvement is shooting free-throws where he shot below 40% last year and it would be nice for him to develop a post-game as well as most of his baskets came by dunks. What about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope? He has a lot to prove this season after being picked ahead of Trey Burke in last year’s draft. Hopefully he can score the basketball this season to go along with his impressive defense he displayed last year.
Coach Van Gundy has a lot work cut out for him with those projects, especially with how loaded the Central Division is this year with LeBron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Pau Gasol joining the Bulls as well, not to mention the Pacers will still be competitive even with the losses of Paul George to injury and Lance Stephenson to free agency (Charlotte). I expect the Pistons to improve from last year but as for a playoff berth? Well I’ll guarantee that three teams from the Central Division will qualify but let’s not forget about the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards of the world will more than likely make the postseason. My prediction for the Pistons this season: 37-45, no playoff berth.