Detroit Pistons: Season Preview
The entire NBA system is organized in a way that every team has roughly equal chances in the long run. Thanks to the draft, it is expected that after two to three unsuccessful seasons, a team should gradually strengthen and reach a new level. However, Detroit currently refuses to adhere to such a system. The Pistons have been considered one of the weakest teams in the league for a significant period of time and often appear utterly hopeless.
If the team doesn’t make any progress in the upcoming season, or at least start competing for victories, their fans may start running out of patience.
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Last season’s results: 15th place, 17-65.
Arrivals – Marcus Sasser (25th pick), Monte Morris, Joe Harris, Ausar Thompson (5th pick).
Retained – Killian Hayes, Alec Burks, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Livers, Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley, James Wiseman, Jalen Duren.
What to Expect from the Team
Last season, the Pistons were the worst team in the NBA. The early injury and absence of Cade Cunningham, the team’s best player, were a significant reason for this. One could also attribute it to the last-ditch efforts from coach Dwayne Casey, who, while a good coach, hasn’t been known for developing young players.
In the summer, Detroit signed Monty Williams as their new head coach. Williams, who previously worked in Phoenix, has established himself as a great specialist who can not only deliver results but also develop young players. These two factors are perhaps the most crucial for the Pistons. With a healthy Cade Cunningham and a full season, I have a feeling that something special could start brewing in Detroit next season.
Personally, I’ll be closely watching the team’s center rotation and their future center. Last season, the Pistons were 27th in the league in blocks and 26th in rebounds on their own end of the floor.
Also, keep an eye on Ausar Thompson. Ausar is a 20-year-old forward who is exceptionally athletic, possibly one of the most athletic players among rookies and the league as a whole. He’s versatile and can do it all, whether it’s speed, defense, or driving to the basket. He’s a pretty good passer, which means opponents need to be wary of his playmaking. He’ll need to work on his three-point shooting, though.
Season Joker: Cade Cunningham
I won’t reinvent the wheel here. The fate of the modern Detroit Pistons largely rests on Cade’s shoulders. Personally, I expect the next season to be a breakthrough for him. I believe he will be a contender for the Most Improved Player award. Monty Williams, with his track record of turning Devin Booker into one of the best players in the league on both ends of the floor, could be instrumental in Cade’s development.
Cade has the right skills, potential, and the desire to work. Now it’s up to the coaching staff to use him correctly and facilitate his rapid development.
Prediction: 14th place in the Eastern Conference.