The Detroit Pistons Have A Legitimate Chance At The NBA Playoffs, And Here’s Why


As the 2015-2016 NBA season creeps closer, Detroit Pistons fans await for another 82-game campaign watching their favorite team.

It’s even time to pick out the 10 best games for the Pistons this season. Fans should be excited just for the new basketball season to start.

But compared to seasons past, this team has a genuine chance at the playoffs. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about this Piston team.

The reality too is that the Eastern Conference is just so much weaker than its western counterpart. The playoffs are a wide open race and anywhere in the east from the sixth to tenth spots can be shuffled.

Just like I mentioned, the Pistons and their fans have plenty to look at before the season starts. Recent additions Team President/Head Coach Stan Van Gundy has made have been masterful to re-shape his roster.

After all the roster moves that have been made this summer, the first and easiest thing to point at for this Pistons team is their youth.

Guys like Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Reggie Jackson are all legitimate building blocks. With a top-of-the-line coach in Van Gundy, he can harness all that talent while also setting a solid foundation.

Jackson just signed a shiny, new 5 year, $80 million and that should be plenty of motivation enough to become the star he’s capable of being.

Jackson and Drummond on the pick-and-roll is a play the rest of the league should fear. In their limited time playing together, they were a fearsome duo. Giving them a full training camp and pre-season will just add to their chemistry.

Then there’s Caldwell-Pope who is entering his third year in the league and only 22-years-old. Already regarded as a solid defender he just needs to work on his shooting to be a legit 3-and-D contributor for this team.

Consider this for Caldwell-Pope. He shot 34.5% from 3 last year in the 2014-2015 campaign. That’s up from his poor 31.9% showing his rookie year.

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But the catch is that he more than doubled his attempts from the 3-point arc his sophomore season. It went from 2.3 attempts per game to 5.4. So he improved both his quantity and quality of 3-pointers. That’s a huge step and fits perfectly into Van Gundy’s scheme of multiple shooters.

And if we’re talking about youth we can’t forget Stanley Johnson in all of this. He’s only 19-years-old and has impressed nearly everyone with his play at Summer League.

Now while Summer League isn’t anywhere near the end-all, be-all method of success for rookies, it’s still a big step. He looked like a man among boys bullying others with his large 6′ 7″, 242-pound frame.

While his role with the team will slowly but surely expand as the season goes on, for now he should have the chance to work on his game.

Coming off the bench will give him a chance to go at it against other team’s second units. With his youth and potential, that might be the perfect way to ease Johnson into the pro game.

The difference between the college and pro game is staggering. You play many more games on a lot less rest in the NBA. Giving Johnson’s body time to adjust to such rapid changes could pay huge dividends during the stretch run toward a playoff spot.

Starting in Johnson’s place could be the recent acquisition of Marcus Morris. Morris can play both Small Forward and Power Forward which adds some versatility to Van Gundy’s decision. He could play both Morris and Johnson together or opt out for one or the other based on match-ups.

Morris is also only 25-years-old and is right around the age of this young core. He’s mere months older than Jackson and with his cheap contract, could be an extremely valuable asset to this Pistons team for years to come.

With the young core comes the fit of the other players on this Pistons roster. Jodie Meeks, Anthony Tolliver, and Ersan Ilyasova are all sharpshooters that can light it up from distance.

When Van Gundy signed Aron Baynes to back up Drummond, there was probably an emphasis on his free throw shooting. A career 84.7% from the charity stripe for a center is impressive.

There are just so many things that seem to be a positive for this Pistons team. Along with the fit comes the continuity of the head coach. The Pistons have revolved around different head coaches recently and could never develop a team identity or defensive scheme.

But with Van Gundy that all changes. He’ll stress defense and establish a team identity he sees fit. Along with the youngsters gaining another experience and getting used to the system, improvement should be expected.

All in all, there’s just a variety of positives that fans can reflect upon. No more are the days of watching Josh Smith shoot us out of games. Now there’s legitimate hope for this team, one that has been absent for years now.

Now, your thoughts. What do you think of the Pistons’ odds to the playoffs? Do you think they’re good, bad, terrible? Whatever the case, there’s no denying the strides this team can make to make the playoff push.

Next: Detroit Pistons: 10 Games To Circle In 2015-2016

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