NBA Preview: Detroit Pistons

Fall season has come around which means three things: A change in weather, a change in the color of leaves on the trees, and the NBA season is set to begin. And I’m pleased to say that this year the NBA season will be beginning on time. Because lets not forget it was just last year that NBA fans had to wait till Christmas Day to watch the professional basketball players take lift off on the basketball courts because of the league-wide lockout that occurred.

Coming into preseason play all 30 NBA teams are optimistic when it comes to how they will perform in the upcoming season. Every team has their own expectations going into this year. Teams expectations may be based on free agency acqusitions, draft picks, how they finished in the past season, or a whole new system ran by a whole new coach. Well since I am a local Detroiter my ownself, it will only be fitting if I analyzed my local home town team; The Detroit Pistons, and how I will think they’ll fare in the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

The 2012-2013 Detroit Piston squad is a team full of young talented players. This is a complete 360 degree turn around from their last championship team, which was the 04’ Pistons squad. That team was full of players who had experience, all-star appearances, and lots of chemistry from top to bottom in their line-up. The only player left on the cureent Piston roster from that 04’  Piston squad is forward Tayshaun Prince. Or else, 7 of the 15 players on this new vamped Pistons roster is made up of rookies or second year players, making the Pistons one of the youngest teams in the league.

But putting the experience factor to the side, I think Detroit Piston fans have a lot to look forward to in this upcoming year. Beginning with talent, our startring line-up consists of three first team and second team all NBA rookie players in the past four seasons. Those players are point guard Brandon Knight, shooting guard Rodney Stuckey, and center Greg Monroe. The Pistons also drafted Andre Drummond, a 6-10 forward from University of Connecticut who Detroit Piston scouts thought highly of coming into the 2012 NBA draft. But sitting at the number 9th overall pick, the Piston organization started looking at other options as they believed Drummond wouldn’t fall that far down in the draft. But after Toronto Raptors took University of Washington’s swingman Terrence Ross as the number 8th overall pick in the draft, the Detroit Pistons front office were excited and relieved to find Drummond still on the board. Analysts believed getting 19 year-old Drummond as the 9th overall pick was a steal for the Detroit Pistons, and I would agree. His upside, defense, and athleticism to get up with anyone to grab a board will bring more oppurtunities for the Piston offense to score. Drummond will also bring a another big presence down low in the post, relieving much pressure off of Greg Monroe on both sides of the ball, who I believe is an all-star center in the making, if not now.

The Detroit Pistons didn’t really make any big moves in free agency this year, which I actually think is a good thing for the team. Piston fans still remember like yesterday the 2009-2010 summer when their front office gave big deals to free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Well just in case you haven’t heard, both players have been a huge bust for the squad. So much so that Ben Gordon ended up getting traded to Charlotte Bobcats for veteran swingman Corey Maggette this summer as one of the Pistons few moves in the offseason to boost up their bench. Where aside to Correy Maggette, is a bench that is full of quick, young, and explosive talent.

But the most important key to the Detroit Piston success this year will be the leadership coming from head coach Lawrence Frank. Now I know he coached the Pistons last year and there was really no significant difference from the number of victories from the year before he became head coach to the year he was the head man in charge. But a true Piston fan will tell you that as a team the Pistons excelled in many different aspects of the game in the short time coach Frank has been around. Players have played with more enthusiasm, with more love for the game. Players like Tyshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell have excepted their  roles as leaders of the team and have become more vocal and have had more patience with the young talent that surrounds them. He has built confience in Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, which are the battery of the squad. But most importantly, he has built a team who believes in winning day in and day out.

So with all that said, I believe the expectations for the 2012-2013 Piston squad is they will be a very competitve team in every game they’ll play. The Pistons have a nucleus that is young, talented,  and still learning the game. It would be absurd for me to say the Pistons can compete this year with power house teams like Miami, Boston, New York, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. But other than those five teams, and maybe including the surging Indiana Pacers, I believe the Pistons can compete with any team that’s left in the east. I don’t see why the Pistons won’t be able to secure one of the last two seeds in the east to make the playoffs. The Pistons are a team full of potential, and if they just so happen to not make the playoffs this year, they will still be that team where elite teams wouldn’t want to face at the end of the year. It’s all about the formula, and coach Frank is close to figuring out what that formula will be for the Pistons to have an elite basketball team back in Detroit, sooner than later.