How fitting is it that the Detroit Pistons begin their 2012-13 regular season campaign on Halloween night after a few seasons of grotesque results?
After winning it all in 2004 and making several trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, things haven’t gone smoothly for Detroit and president of basketball operations Joe Dumars. With longtime owner Bill Davidson passing away a couple year’s ago and an unstable ownership situation Dumars’ hands were relatively tied in terms of what could be done money wise to bring in better players and find that success he had in the 2000’s. However, Dumars isn’t entirely off the hook given the horrible contracts he offered to point guard Ben Gordon and forward Charlie Villanueva.
Fortunately though heading into this season Dumars was able to find a taker in Charlotte for Gordon while Villanueva remains simply because no one around the league is desperate or dumb enough to take on such an awful contract.
However, once you get by some of these shortcomings, the future certainly looks bright for a Pistons team especially with a stable owner in place.
Center/foward Greg Monroe is a future All-Star in the league despite the East being full of quality big men while last year’s first round pick Brandon Knight has shown plenty of promise in his first year in the league. Knight’s presence in the back court also enabled the team to shift Rodney Stuckey to a more natural position of shooting guard after being tried out as a point.
Still the Pistons are developing team with a onslaught of rookies heading into 2012-13 coupled with only a couple of true veterans.
“We’re going to continue to evaluate,” Frank said. “You’ve got to see. I don’t want to be in a game with a lineup that we haven’t worked on. We have some interchangeable parts and we’ll continue to evaluate guys at different positions.”
2011-12 Results: 25-41, fourth in Central: Missed playoffs.
ADDITIONS: C Andre Drummond, G/F Corey Maggette, F Kyle Singler, G Kim English, F Khris Middleton
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE: PG- Brandon Knight SG- Rodney Stuckey SF- Tayshaun Prince PF- Jonas Jerebko C- Greg Monroe
KEY RESERVES: G/F Corey Maggette, F Charlie Villanueva, G Will Bynum, F Austin Daye, F Jason Maxiell.
Jonas Jerebko and Jason Maxiell should battle for the starting job at power forward throughout the early parts of the season with the job eventually going to Jerebko full time. After missing the entire 2010-11 season with a torn Achilles, Jerebko came back in 2011-12 to average 8.7 PPG and provide plenty of energy up front.
In his first season with the Pistons Knight started 60 of 66 games averaging almost 13 PPG. His assists will have to improve however if he’s going to amount to a successful NBA point man as he averaged less than four assists per game last season.
Again though Knight’s presence in the back court was a welcomed addition for Rodney Stuckey who was able to transition to a more suitable shooting guard role. At 6-5 Stuckey is a bigger guard that would should continue to work nicely along side Knight so long as his personality doesn’t clash with head coach Lawrence Frank.
In terms of the guys up front, each one is interchangeable with the exception of Charlie Villanueva who didn’t see much playing time in Lawrence Frank’s system last year and probable won’t see much this year.
- Record: 27.1-54.9
- If Drummond averages 16 PPG and 12 RPG: 40-42 (9th in the East)
- If Drummond averages 8 PPG and 6 RPG: 29-53 (12th in the East)
- 0% Playoff likelihood
- 0% Championship likelihood
TMSNX DETROIT OUTLOOK: If Greg Monroe continues to improve from his 15/10 and 22 per from last season as well as Brandon Knight from his 39% percent beyond the arc the Pistons could make a surprise run at that final playoff spot in the East. Again this could be more of a certainty if the progress of Andre Drummond is expedited.