The Detroit Pistons are regaining their relevance one game at a time this season. They have now won six of their last ten games, are riding a season high three game winning streak and are only one game under five hundred. To make things better, Detroit would be in the playoffs if the season ended right now. Not bad for a team that has been mostly uncompetitive the last few seasons.
Who is responsible for this turnaround? Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are the usual suspects for this question. To me, this comes down to a veteran presence that is key for all successful teams, henceforth, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace. Since Chauncey Billups resigned with the Pistons there has been a buzz surrounding the team. A buzz Detroit has not had since the buzz of disappointment after he was traded. This was followed as Pistons Head Coach, Maurice Cheeks, lured Rasheed Wallace back to Detroit to be an Assistant Coach.
Chauncey Billups was brought in to be a player/mentor to the guards. While currently injured, his students haven’t missed a beat, in fact they upped their performances. Rodney Stuckey is now in the midst of his best NBA season so far. Brandon Jennings is relishing the opportunity to set up the best front court he’s ever had. Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been taken under Chauncey’s wing the most and that’s also showing. He is developing quite the deep shot. And even Chauncey is still producing while in the game. Will Bynum is continuing to be a spark as well, but he is currently injured with Chauncey.
Rasheed Wallace was brought in to focus on the big men, the centers. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe have both raised their games significantly as result. There is a chance that at least one of them will make their first All Star game. Signs are pointing to Andre Drummond over Greg Monroe for that, but both have been stellar. As a second year center, Drummond still has unlimited potential. His main weakness is free throw shooting but that will improve as he ages. Greg Monroe has done a great job developing him on the court as well. Together they are as deadly a rebounding combo as there is in the NBA. And don’t forget about the help down low they have from Josh Smith. The Detroit Pistons should own the glass in every game.
Bringing back veteran champions as mentors have definitely impacted the Detroit Pistons this season. This team is stacked with youngsters that can position Detroit as a perennial playoff contender with these veterans. Detroit is a blue-collar community and the fans will connect with this team for that reason. Keep going to work Pistons.