I'm way too fired up for tomorrows 3:30 kickoff so I'm trying to distract myself with a look at the promising 2012-13 Pistons.
With a string of good draft picks, a solid defensive coach, and new ownership, the Pistons look to be in a good position for the playoffs and free agency in the near future.
Last years team performed very poorly offensively in the lockout shortened season, finishing with a near league worst 90.7 ppg, but the silver lining of the 2012 squad was the performance of the younger players, a deep and talented bench, and the teams defense ranking at the middle of the pack. The Pistons managed to hold opposing teams to a respectable 95.7 ppg, rating 14th out of 30 teams, and slightly above the likes of LA, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. The solid defense was managed despite a revolving door at the power forward position. Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell, and Ben Wallace took turns starting, and were key factors contributing to both the Pistons solid defensive efforts, and poor offensive performance. Maxiell averaged 6.7ppg starting, Jerebko around 9 points in under 23mpg, Wallace only 1.4ppg on the season.
Despite finishing so low offensively, only a mere 7 ppg seperated Detroits 28th place offense, and the top 10. If the Pistons had 5 solid starters averaging at least 12ppg last season instead of 4, and the benches 3pt% hadn't fallen off so sharply, they would've finished ahead of every Eastern Conference playoff team except Miami in total offense, every playoff team in the West except Dallas and the Clippers in total defence, and likely made the playoffs. Joe D has seemingly addressed that in the most recent draft, taking Center Andre Drummond in the first round. Still something of a raw prospect he looks to have the most upside of any of the 2012 draftees as one of the only true Center stars in recent years. He flashed his potential this preseason against Milwaukee shooting 9-13 for 19 pts with 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Next against a Dwight-less Orlando he managed an impressive 4 blocks. Once he adjusts to the NBA game, and gets comfortable with his size, he has the potential to be a rookie of the year contender, and may very well be Detroits 5th player in 6 years to make the All Rookie team after Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe, and Brandon Knight. Rookies Kyle Singler, Kim English, and Khris Middleton are creating some buzz and could potentially vie for a spot on this years All Rookie team as well.
The other factor that shows promise for Detroits future is the recent signing of veteran Corey Maggette to a 1 year contract. He's easily an upgrade at SG replacing Ben Gordon for the year, but picking up his $10m contract also shows that the new owner is willing to spend some money on the team, and doesn't want to write years off rebuilding. Detroits 2012-13 salary runs 13th overall at $67 million dollars. Next year things get interesting money wise when a potential $32 million dollars will get freed up from peripheral players, and non-contributors like Maguette, Hamilton, Villanueva, Maxiell, and Bynums contracts ending. We'll still have a playoff potential team intact, and 11 players under contract, but with an incredibly low $25 million pricetag. If Toms Gores is fine with spending $67 million on the team, then imagine what $32 million can buy you in free agency. Even after resigning key Pistons out of their rookie contracts we should be able to make a great push for several players, and at least one max contract after this postseason.
It'll be fun to watch Brandon Knight develop as a sophomore PG, Greg Monroe moving to PF, and teaming with Andre Drummond in the frontcourt this year. They'll need a nickname because they're going to dominate the paint in the NBA.