From Dec. 27 through Jan. 8, the Detroit Pistons lost six consecutive games and were free-falling out of playoff contention. However, the last couple of outings have painted a different picture as the team, led by its dynamic frontcourt, have claimed back-to-back victories over the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. Those two wins have the Pistons back in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference as Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond look to keep the momentum going on Friday night against the Utah Jazz.
Over the last two contests, Smith — who Detroit signed to a four-year deal worth $54 million in the offseason — has certainly played up to his free-agent contract. The 10-year pro has shot 19-of-39 from the floor while putting up 23.5 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
In support of the recent All-Star level effort from Smith, the combo of Monroe and Drummond has been more than formidable. Together, the towering tandem has completely controlled the paint through the bouts with the Suns and Sixers. During those matchups, Monroe has averaged 17.5 points and 11 boards. Meanwhile, Drummond has continued his breakout sophomore season in the league by posting 12 points, 12.5 rebounds and a ridiculous 5.5 blocks.
This immensely talented trio should have fans around Detroit excited. Granted, their record currently stands at 16-22 overall, but this group appears to be developing some chemistry and could definitely be a force over the second half of the season. Few teams in the East — or the entire NBA for that matter — feature the interior presence that the Pistons possess. In spite of Utah bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, that list includes the Jazz.