Pistons: Ranking The Most Valuable Players for 2015-16 Season


The NBA season is upon us. It’s been an offseason of change (and hopefully improvement) for the Detroit Pistons. Now let’s talk some MVP! No, not THAT MVP!  Let’s rank the most valuable Pistons (vital to the team’s success for the ’15 – ’16 season).

We all know the cliched quotes about teamwork – “there’s no I in team”, “we win together, we we lose together”, and “the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back of the jersey”.

These statements and ideas are not untrue.  However, sports teams are still made up of individuals, and like it or not (in sports), not all men are created equal.  Some are more valuable than others.  This is not a ranking of the most skilled Pistons, or of those who will log the most minutes.  This is ranking about which players are most vital to the team’s success this season.

RELATED: 5 Predictions for Pistons’ 2015-16 Season

From my perspective, a successful season for the Pistons would be to end their playoff drought.  A very successful season would be to actually win a playoff series.

So, without further ado…

Ranking The Most Valuable Pistons (vital to team success) ’15-’16

1. Andre Drummond (C)
2014 key stats: PPG: 13.8   RPG: 13.5   BPG 1.9
Analysis: Simply put, Drummond is the franchise. He’s a rebounding machine, a presence in the middle, and a legitimate big man in a league where that is less and less common. The Pistons need Drummond to keep being himself on the boards, improve his interior defense (blocks aside), and have his gradually improving offensive game take a big leap forward.  That might be a lot to ask, but Drummond is one of the few players on the Pistons (or in the league) with the ability to deliver in all facets.

2. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)
2014 key stats: PPG: 12.7   RPG: 3.1   APG: 1.3
Analysis: If this was a best player list, Pope would be ranked lower (and definitely behind Jackson).  But Caldwell-Pope’s development may be more crucial to the Pistons success than any other player outside of Andre Drummond. KCP is already a very good/elite defender. He has the ability to defend several positions, and greatly influence the game. However, for a player who doesn’t rebound or assist much, KCP has to shoot better and score more, in order for the Pistons to succeed consistently. He has shown the ability to do that in spurts, but he needs to elevate his offensive game consistently if the Pistons expect to make a playoff run anytime soon.

3. Reggie Jackson (PG)
2014 key stats: PPG: 14.5   RPG: 4.2   APG: 6.0
Analysis: Jackson was a triple-double machine (or threat) every time he took the court, late last season. And the Pistons clearly view him as their floor-general of the present and future. With a new, long-term contract in place, let’s hope Jackson can turn that individual success into team success. The Pistons need Jackson to elevate the play of his teammates (and himself) if Detroit is to become a playoff team.

4. Stanley Johnson. (SF)
*2014 key stats: PPG: 13.8   RPG: 6.5   APG: 1.7 (*Univ. of Arizona)
Analysis: Johnson is one of the most highly touted rookies in recent Pistons history. His maturity (for a young player), competitiveness, and versatility garnered much attention in Summer League. Still, it was just Summer League so…  Still, Johnson continued to excel (with a few small bumps in the road) during the preseason, and he has the potential to make the Pistons a better team, in a variety of ways.

5. Marcus Morris (SF/PF)
2014 key stats: PPG: 10.4   RPG: 4.8   BPG: 0.2
Analysis: Marcus Morris wasn’t always been the perfect teammate (on or off the court), during his time in Phoenix. But he gets a clean slate in Detroit, and he showed in the preseason, why the Pistons value him. He brings some scoring ability, along with toughness and competitiveness. The Pistons need much more of those attributes, (especially from the forward positions). *NOTE*  My computer just tried to auto-correct ‘competitiveness’ to ‘combativeness’, when talking Morris.  Let’s hope that’s not an omen.

6. Ersan Ilyasova (PF)
2014 key stats: PPG: 11.5   RPG: 4.8   BPG: 0.3
Analysis: The Pistons need a big man to replace some of Greg Monroe’s scoring. They also need better defense and a toughness element that often seemed lacking in Monroe’s play. The jury is still out on how well Ilyasova will fulfill all those requirements, but he’s a good bet to help with the scoring. He will also help to space the floor with his long range shooting capabilities.

7. Brandon Jennings (PG)
2014 key stats: PPG: 15.4   RPG: 2.5   APG: 6.6
Analysis: Jennings was arguably the best Pistons player at the time he suffered his achilles injury. He had matured as a leader, playing less selfishly and more efficiently. Not coincidentally, the Pistons, as a team, we’re playing their best ball as well. If Jennings returns from injury AND returns to form, he will help give the Pistons one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league. Unfortunately, right now that’s still a big if.

8. Reggie Bullock (SF)
2014 key stats: PPG: 1.9.   RPG: 1.4   APG: 0.2
Analysis: This might seem a bit high for a player who was fighting just to make the roster a few weeks ago. But Bullock can shoot and create spacing. The Pistons are in desperate need of both. He also has caught Stan Van Gundy’s eye for his defensive capabilities. All these skills should put him in the Pistons rotation. Whether he stays there will depend on how consistently he performs (when the games count and the competition is stiffer).

Honorable mention (in order): Anthony Tolliver, Aron Baynes, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Joel Anthony, Darrun Hilliard, Spencer Dinwiddie.

What do you think? How would your Pistons ranking be similar or different?

Next: 10 Games to Circle on Pistons' 2015-16 Schedule

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