It’s time to check in on America’s Team AKA Dunk City AKA the Pistons of Detroit. Detroit’s season got off to a slow start, and Trending Hoop’s own Tyler Dykstra wrote an entire piece on how to fix Pistons. Since then, they have rebounded nicely, highlighted by a very solid road win over Miami. Let’s start off by looking at some of the highlights.
Holy shit Andre Drummond. Andre had a solid rookie year, but there were questions as to whether or not he could make the leap this season. Good Lord has he ever. He became the first player since Hakeem Olajuawon to post a line of 31 points, 19 rebounds and 6 steals in a win against the 76ers. He is rebounding at rate of 12.7 per game, and in general he is a complete force down low. Heres some Andre Drummond Highlights, because once again, holy shit Andre Drummond.
During the offseason, Detroit traded Brandon Knight straight up for Brandon Jennings. Many people assumed this trade would be a wash. However, Jennings has given the Pistons a true point guard, and someone who has the potential to be with the team for a very long time. Jennings has also single handidily carried the Pistons for stretches this year. And when he gets hot, he gets HOT.
The Rest of the Eastern Conference
The East isn’t simply bad this year, it’s absolutely atrocious. From teams tanking (looking at you Milwaukee) to injuries (RIP Derrick Rose) to teams spending 7 billion dollars and still being terrible (Judas Priest Brooklyn.) This all bodes well for Detroit. They are currently sitting at 5th in the conference, and only a game behind Atlanta for the 3rd spot. Detroit could absolutely finish in the top 4, which would ensure a home court in the first round of the playoffs. From there anything could happen (aside from ever beating Indiana or Miami in the playoffs.)
There have also been some struggles to Detroit’s still sub .500 season. As the team continues to gel, one can only hope some of these issues can be addressed.
Chauncey Billups was brought in over the offseason to bring some stability to Detroit’s backcourt. Chauncey was coming off a torn Achilles last year, and he’s looked morbidly old and slow this year. With Chauncey currently out with an injured knee, the Pistons might be best served to let Billups get an extended rest (extended meaning all year.) This also opens up playing time for some of Detroit’s younger guards, and enables the Pistons to play for both the future and the present.
Josh Smith Shooting Jumpers
Josh Smith was Detroit’s prized offseason acquisition. He’s had a fairly stellar year, averaging 14.0 points 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. However, I think all Detroit fans would agree that watching Josh Smith shoot threes is about as entertaining as paying to see Grown-Ups 2 (seriously, what the hell Adam Sandler.) Let’s take a look at last season’s shot chart for Josh Smith courtesy of Kirk Goldsberry.
Someone needs to post this in Josh Smith’s locker, across Josh Smith’s windshield and above Josh Smith’s toilet. Stop shooting jumpers Josh Smith!
The season is still young, and there is no question Detroit has the potential to be a force in the Eastern Conference. With a little time, a little luck and lot of Andre Drummond, Detroit could be in for a special season.
(Stats from espn.com)