By Bob Garcia IV @bgarcia90 on May 29, 2014
After missing the playoffs for the fifth year in a row, the Detroit Pistons look determined to turn the page as they have made drastic changes in the front office and brought in a proven head coach in Stan Van Gundy. Although it may not hold a first round draft pick in this year's draft, Detroit does possess over million in cap space this offseason. With all that said, here is its projected starting lineup for the 2014-15 season.
After signing with the Pistons last offseason, Jennings expected to lead his new team to the playoffs. That didn't happen, but what did was personal improvement and growth in the 24-year-old's game as he had a career-best 7.6 assists per game and had 18 double-doubles, which is the most he has had in any season. If he can continue to progress as a passer rather than just being a scorer, he should be able to lead Detroit back to the postseason.
The guard out of Georgia, in his rookie season last year, did not necessary meet expectations as he averaged a meager 5.9 points, but in just 19.8 minutes per game. With Rodney Stuckey a free agent this offseason and likely to go elsewhere, it will free up the opportunity for Caldwell-Pope to be the Pistons' full-time starting shooting guard and display the scoring ability he has, as he did in his collegiate career.
The Pistons have a boatload of cap space this offseason and some of it should be spent in free agency to sign Luol Deng. The 29-year-old is a reliable scorer and a stout defender at small forward, which will help improve Detroit's abysmal defense. Last season, it allowed the fourth most points per game (104.7). Deng's addition will also allow Josh Smith to slide over to power forward, which is a position he is more comfortable playing at.
If the Pistons do go out and get Luol Deng or another small forward, it will give Josh Smith an opportunity to play comfortably at power forward. This will also only happen if Detroit lets restricted free agent Greg Monroe walk in free agency. If all goes according to plan, Smith's production will increase. He should grab more rebounds and shoot less three-pointers because he will be playing closer to the basket.
The 20-year-old made major strides in his game in his second year in the league as he was second in the NBA in rebounds (13.2), field goal percentage (.623) and double-doubles (57). He also proved to be durable as he played and started in all but one game in the 2013-14 season. Drummond's vast improvement has quickly made him one of the more promising young players and will be a centerpiece of Detroit's starting lineup for years to come.
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