A 2-5 start is not what the Detroit Pistons fans were anticipating coming into the season.
Even though the Pistons are somewhat of an early-season disappointment in the NBA – many pundits predicted they would have chemistry issues – I think they can change their luck.
Detroit made big offseason moves during the summer, acquiring big names Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. The Pistons also resigned 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups to the delight of Detroit fans.
Along with those three acquisitions, the Pistons drafted Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out of the University of Georgia with the eight overall pick last summer. Many Pistons fans were surprised by this move, as Detroit, who was in need of a point guard, passed over University of Michigan consensus Player of the Year, Trey Burke, for Caldwell-Pope, a shooting guard.
With these four new acquisitions coming to the Motor City, the Pistons received a great deal of attention in the offseason. Some analysts viewed the revamped Pistons as a playoff team with a chance at the fifth overall seed in the Eastern Conference come playoff time.
The Pistons are a young team, and players have not had played together enough to get acclimated with each other. The starting line-up has three new players, including a crowded frontcourt.
Team chemistry has also been problematic for the Pistons. In the first seven games of the season, Detroit averaged 16 turnovers per game. As the season carries on, I expect that number to decrease, especially if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.
It appears that head coach Maurice Cheeks is ready to make some changes as well. Billups has had a slow start to the season, probably due to recovering from an injury or maybe the old age.
Coach Cheeks is considering adding either Caldwell-Pope or Rodney Stuckey to the starting five. I think that either option would help the Pistons tremendously. Both players are capable of bringing in a better defensive presence.
Out of the two, I would make the argument that it makes more sense to start Caldwell-Pope. His shooting ability, exceptional perimeter defense and athletic ability could prove to be beneficial for Detroit, who has struggled around the perimeter on both ends of the court.
After the NBA Draft this summer, Dumars attributed his decision to draft Caldwell-Pope to the trend of teams getting bigger and stronger. Many fans were disappointed that the Pistons did not draft the Trey Burke, but Joe Dumars, with the plan to sign Brandon Jennings, had a plan in place.
Brandon Jennings has been notorious for shooting way too many shots and especially taking bad shots. But as soon as the Pistons acquired him, he publicly said he plans on bringing “lob city to Detroit this year.”
With scoring options of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith, Jennings should not have to take as many shots as he is known for. To give him credit, he kind of had to take a lot of shots on his previous team, the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Pistons future looks bright. An ESPN Insider article had the Pistons frontcourt ranked second in the NBA.
Let’s not forget that their schedule has also caused this slow start to the season. They have played the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trail Blazers. Five of those six teams were in the playoffs last year.
Due to problems with team chemistry and youth, the Pistons have been disappointing to say the least, but they most definitely have the players to turn their season around and make the playoffs.
If Jennings stays away from taking bad shots and we see a whole different player out of him, I could definitely see the Pistons having a successful year. But by the way things are going right now, it seems there isn’t enough ball for the players on the court.
They are all accustomed to being the go-to guy for their team. They haven’t really had the experience in having all this talent around them, and it seems like they are still learning. Hopefully their chemistry improves quickly because Detroit fans are ready for the Pistons to return to the playoffs.
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