The Detroit Pistons have the potential to be a playoff team next season with their roster. This was the second consecutive postseason they missed. If more guards can improve their shooting playing alongside the new bruiser frontcourt duo, this team can make it farther than many do expect. Not to mention, the addition of their new head coach.
One of the greatest athletes, LeBron James, has just joined the Los Angeles Lakers, which will open up the Eastern Conference more. James has taken the Cleveland Cavaliers to the last four NBA Finals, winning just one of them overall. Shifting his dominance to the Western Conference with a new team opens up a new spot in the East for the Pistons. Finishing only one spot out of the NBA Playoffs last season, the Pistons were only 5 games behind the Washington Wizards.
Guard-forward Reggie Bullock is Detroit’s best threat from the outside. Bullock shot 45 percent from three last season, which helped the team shoot 37 percent as a whole (fifth best in the league). The lefty guard, Luke Kennard, who just finished his rookie season, shot 41 percent from three. Players like Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson, and Ish Smith, who struggle more with perimeter shooting, must be able to knock it down more consistently from either off the dribble or catch and shoot.
The new duo of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin may be a top three dominant frontcourt duos in the Eastern Conference.
Griffin is much more comfortable with the Pistons moving forward, Via the Undefeated.
“If I wasn’t happy with where I was at or excited to be here, it would take a little bit longer,” Griffin said. “But as soon as I got here to Detroit, the franchise, the way they go about taking care of the players, the way they do everything, is first-class. So, that makes the transition much easier.”
It didn’t take long for Griffin to get comfortable in his new uniform.
The acquisition of Blake Griffin was a big bomb-dropper during the 2017 season. He has been a huge asset to the Pistons since joining them. He led the team in scoring averaging 21 points per game with his strength to help muscle his way to the rim and also knock down some open threes. We have seen many glimpses of Griffin handling the ball on a fast break scenario like he is a guard and throwing it up for Andre Drummond to slam.
Playing alongside him, Drummond makes it difficult for teams to rebound over the 6 foot 11 monster. Drummond has been a consistent rebounding machine for the Pistons who’s led the team in rebounds for five consecutive seasons. His size and strength gives him the advantage to place himself in the right position down low to collect rebounds and lobs. Since the 2014 season, Drummond has either led the league in rebounding or has been runner-up.
On offense, his free-throw percentage was horrendous. Although, it has progressed from 39 percent in ’16-’17 to 61 percent last season. Looking to improve his three-point shot for next season, Drummond has only made five of 30 three-pointers in his entire six-year career.
A big change occured for the Pistons as head coach, Stan Van Gundy, was fired and replaced by recent Coach of The Year, Dwane Casey. Casey is a well-know coach around the league that managed to form the Toronto Raptors into a spacious offensive team moving at a good pace, but struggled to make it to the Finals every time. Casey took Raptors to a franchise-record 59 wins last season but was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Just four days after, Casey was fired. A month later, he was hired again.
The Pistons are looking at Casey to help turn this franchise back around and reach the postseason, but it won’t be determined just by him. They must improve their shooting this offseason and defend more efficiently. This is the opening gate for the Pistons to turn their franchise back around in full effect going into the ’18-’19 season with a playoff mentality.