In my debut article for The Majors Detroit, I wanted to start out by thanking “you” the sports fans and our followers of this website. Without your viewership, it would not be possible for me to be here. So from the bottom of my heart I want to say THANK YOU DETROIT!
Now that I have that out-of-the-way, let’s get down to brass tacks, you know the so-called meat and potatoes of why I’m here, Detroit Pistons Basketball. I’ve got to be honest with you, I love saying that phrase. Say it with me now, in your John “Mason” voice “Deeeeee-troit Basketball!” It feels good doesn’t it? That catchphrase brings us all back to a not so distant place in our past. It takes us to a time when the Pistons were emphatically right there among the NBA elite. To a time when it was almost a certainty that our beloved Pistons were heading to the Eastern Conference Finals or at least a deep playoff run. But sadly those days as basketball royalty came to the end almost as quickly as they came to fruition. Since the 2007-08 season (when we finished 59-23 good enough for 2nd in the NBA’s Eastern Conference) our Pistons have run though a string of five terrible, no-good, very bad under .500 seasons. During these painful last five years we have seen our team hire and fire three different head coaches (Michael Curry, John Kuester and Lawrence Frank) in as many years.
So for my debut I want to give you a ray of hope, a reason to believe in our beloved Detroit Pistons.
During this past offseason, before any of the transactions and head coaching change I began studying the Pistons upcoming schedule and was skeptical like all of you. At the time I really believed that this was going to be just another losing season. But then like a gift from the Basketball gods Tom Gores let the so-called “Dogs Out” and finally cut Joe Dumars loose from his restrictive leash. It started with a bang on July 10th, 2013 when we landed former Atlanta Hawks star forward Josh Smith. And not to be out down by the other teams in The Association the very next day Dumars began negotiating with a former fan favorite in this town “Mr Big Shot” himself Chauncey Billups. Then there were a few smaller filler deals like bringing back Will Bynum and the signing of Italian Lega Basket Serie A star Luigi Datome both of whom signed two-year deal’s on July 15th. After this Joe Dumars finalized the two-year deal with Chauncey Billups (at the time it led to speculation that he was going to supplant the young oft-struggling Brandon Knight at point guard). Finally though on July 19th the Detroit Pistons drafted guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva but it wasn’t until July 31st when the sparks really started to fly and I’m talking about the Milwaukee Bucks sending stud point guard Brandon Jennings to the Detroit Pistons for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtov.
So essentially the roster was set and all of a sudden a feeling of relief consumed us all in the Metro Detroit area. Now the team that most of us all predicted would suffer from another losing season were giving the fans a sense hope for dare I say playoff basketball?
For me it was easy to notice that this team is much improved, (some would say the most improved NBA team in the league) going from a unit without a superstar to a team with one player at that level (Josh Smith) and two on the cusp of joining him (Andre Drummond and Brandon Jennings). These moves alone have led me to believe this will be a season of winning basketball, instead of the former version we had grown so accustomed too. After all of the personnel moves coupled with the coaching change I began once again checking schedules and looking at the past six NBA seasons and their final standings. I wanted to come up with an over/under formula for the 2013-14 NBA season that I felt comfortable with sharing with you the readers. I also wanted to leave a little leeway on either side of the spectrum.
First I have set the over/under at 40.75. I bet your thinking that is a strange number and you would be correct to think so.But mathematics tell me that it is the perfect number. Since the 2007-08 NBA season the Detroit Pistons are 209-267. In that same time frame in the Eastern Conference:
#5 seeds went a combined [262-214]
#6 seeds went a combined [251-225]
#7 seeds went a combined [243-232]
#8 seeds went a combined [227-249]
That is an average record of 244.5 wins and 231.5 losses. Now divide the average number of wins for #5 thru #8 seeds in that same time frame by six and you get your number. All playoff teams in the past six seasons won an average of 40.75 games a season. Of course other teams won more and those who have lost more games than that, some teams have even made the big dance with sub .500 records. One of those teams being our Detroit Pistons in 2008-09. So with the over/under set at 40.75 where are you at? I would take the over with this club as I think they will win 43-44 games. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are going to finally develop into monsters in the paint under Rasheed Wallace’s tutelage, Josh Smith won’t miss a step on his way to a huge season while Brandon Jennings will finally become the facilitating point guard he needed to become all along. In closing I envision good things coming their way this season, hard-nosed, blue-collar offensive and defensive basketball that will bring respectability back to the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit sports market.
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