The Memphis Grizzlies made it to the Western Conference finals last year. The Indiana Pacers have started the season with 7 straight wins. The Oklahoma City Thunder are perennial title contenders led by superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
All three teams are considered, by many, to be strong contenders for the NBA title this season, and all three teams have beaten the Detroit Pistons in this young season.
The biggest difference between losses this year and losses in previous years is that this year, the fresh-faced Pistons didn’t go down without a fight.
At different points in the losses against both OKC and Indiana, Detroit had trailed by 15 points or more, only to attempt to rally back in the final minutes and pull themselves within 10 points. They have consistently fought under new head coach Maurice Cheeks and never given up; an attitude that couldn’t be claimed under former coach Lawrence Frank. They’ve fought and stayed competitive even when missing Brandon Jennings for the first two games of the season after missing him for essentially the entire preseason.
Jennings is the type of player that has All-Star potential, and several more years to live up to that potential before he finally enters his prime. He’s never been a part of a professional team in which he was surrounded by so much talent, and as soon as he learns the ins and outs of his new team and begins to gel with his new teammates, his potential could be realized sooner rather than later.
Jennings, along with fellow superstar acquisition Josh Smith, brings a tough, chippy attitude that Detroit hasn’t seen in over a decade. While the development of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have certainly given Pistons fans hope over the last couple of years, Detroit has always been a city about hard-nosed team basketball; Jennings and Smith certainly fit that billing.
The never-say-die attitude that this team has desperately needed for years has shown these first five games. They have taken the fight to three of the toughest teams in the NBA and come out still standing. They are not a complete project; you’ll hear that from many of the experts of sports world. Nobody expects the Pistons to compete for a title this year, but they have taken the first step towards becoming legitimate again.
The Detroit Pistons are no longer pushovers.
And nobody gave them a shot in 2004, either.
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