It’s early, but the Detroit Pistons could be well on their way to becoming a full-blown disaster. They are a young team of mostly unfamiliar faces and a new head coach. Furthermore, they have an immense amount of pressure placed upon them this season. Joe Dumars‘ job is essentially on the line, and if the Pistons don’t make the postseason many believe this will be his last season steering the Pistons’ ship.
With so many new faces, it’s going to take some time to fit the pieces together properly. However, with a rough schedule to start the year, the Pistons have been racking up the losses. After being blown out by the Golden State Warriors this week, the Pistons face their toughest task yet this season – responding in the face of adversity.
The Golden State game was an utter disaster. Even though it was on the second night of a back-to-back the Pistons were completely exposed. They couldn’t keep up with the Warriors’ ball movement. They couldn’t knock down any shots from outside. Players couldn’t keep their defensive assignments in front of them. While it’s hard to imagine it getting much worse than the Golden State game, it could place a small seed of doubt into the minds of the Pistons’ young roster.
Sitting at (2-5) approaching Friday night’s contest with the Sacramento Kings, the Pistons will need to pull themselves together to prevent a speedy, downward spiral.
Josh Smith has been playing so poorly that coach Maurice Cheeks finally decided to pull him from the lineup. Brandon Jennings reverted to his old self and took several quick shots from poor locations. If either of these players begins to become discontented with their new situation they could affect the locker room for the worse.
Both Jennings and Smith believe they are star players and first option scorers even though neither of them has consistently shown these characteristics throughout their careers. If things continue to go south their tendency to dominate the ball and take bad shots will increase as they try to pad their total stats in the midst of a losing season. Not only would this negatively affect the team’s offensive efficiency, but the impact it would have on their teammates’ attitudes could potentially divide the locker room. Keep in mind that many of the current Pistons players are used to losing lots of games in the NBA.
Add to this the fact that the Pistons’ fan base has been quick to write the team off the past few seasons, and they could quickly lose home support in the stands if they don’t start winning games. If ticket sales dip back to league-bottom levels there will be even more pressure on Dumars which means more pressure on Mo Cheeks. More pressure on Mo Cheeks means more pressure on the players. More pressure on the players means an ever-increasing vulnerability for collapse.
The Pistons have several of the variables necessary for a complete calamity: a poor start, impatient fans, a young, unbalanced roster, highly paid players who have irrationally high perceptions of their skills, an owner demanding progress and a head coach with a reputation for eventually losing his locker rooms. And this is with a healthy roster.
It’s still incredibly early in the season, but the Pistons won’t have too much longer to get on the right course.