The general consensus is that the Detroit Pistons should be far the better than their 29-53 record of a year ago. How much better is being hotly debated.
It’s comfortable to say that the Pistons should be able to go for their first winning record in five NBA seasons. But like any team, they need to stay healthy and can’t afford major injuries.
Starting out the season, the Pistons might miss Rodney Stuckey for a few games with a thumb fracture from slamming a car door. They’re also going to miss one of their top offseason acquisitions in Brandon Jennings, who was slated to be a starter. Jennings will be a valuable contributor, but he’s going to miss the first few weeks of the season with an impacted wisdom tooth and hairline fracture of the jawbone.
That’s not good, but Jennings can obviously still give the Pistons outstanding production at the guard spot. He’s going to have to, but his absence might cost them a game or two.
The Pistons still have plenty of factors going their way starting with the expected emergence of Andre Drummond as one of the NBA’s best inside men, with Greg Monroe also doing his thing inside. Josh Smith was signed to have an All-Star season and if he does, the Pistons are going to do some damage.
There are other players including Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum and Kyle Singler and rookies like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Peyton Siva who can be impact players. The Pistons have their best depth in many years.
They also have their most effective skipper since Flip Saunders with Maurice Cheeks, who’s a no-nonsense coach and will be able to get more out of every player than the previous Pistons skippers. Pistons will have a winning record at 43-39, but they’ll have to fight like crazy for every win.
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