Detroit Pistons: To Compete in the East they Need to Fix a Few Things

Perhaps Stan Van Gundy has finally turned the Detroit Pistons into an Eastern Conference Champion contender. Some will discredit them, saying there’s no way they get past the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics, but this is a good team. In fact, it’s probably Van Gundy’s best since taking over in Detroit. Yet, the team gets no credit. And while they’ve lost the first four games in December, the Pistons won’t be a pushover.

Van Gundy is getting a lot of good minutes from Tobias Harris, Reggie Jackson, and Avery Bradley. The trio combines for 52 points per night. Harris, who leads the team with 19.2 points, could be a potential All-Star this season. Jackson is showing his true potential at point guard with 16 points and 5 assists. Bradley, a defensive stopper, contributes 16 points a game.

Let’s also not forget about Andre Drummond, the Detroit superstar. His 14.3 points aren’t what makes him the player he is, but rather the 15 rebounds Drummond contributes per night. He’s the heart and soul of the Pistons.

The Detroit Pistons are looking up at the Cavaliers and Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. And maybe they won’t catch them, but this is a scary good team. You’ve got scoring from Bradley, Harris, and Jackson. There’s the amazing rebounding ability of Drummond. And you’ve got a true lockdown defender in Bradley.

On the year, Detroit ranks 13th with 72.9 points scored by their starters. So, while not too outrageous, it’s still a fairly middle of the pack number. Yet, a big issue will be the bench, who rank 20th with 31.4 points per game. Not too bad considering division foe, Milwaukee averages only 23 points from the bench. Detroit also ranks 22nd in rebounds with 42 per game.

To beat the Cavs or Celtics, Detroit must be better than average in all three categories. Of course, both bench scoring and rebounding will need to be better, as those place them in the bottom third of the league.

They’ll need to find another scorer for the bench. whether it comes from the current team or trade, to compete with the big boys of the East. It will also be difficult to keep an edge rebounding with Drummond doing all the heavy lifting.

The Pistons are better than previous years, there’s no doubt about that. And while this is the best team Van Gundy has had in Detroit, it’s not likely they make a dent in the playoffs without improving the bench and rebounding. This does not mean they should be given little respect by the NBA fans and Media though.

The four-game slide in December might signal some of the team’s weaknesses showing themselves. It’s going to be hard to keep up the momentum they found in November. Van Gundy is a damn good coach, and it’s time the Detroit Pistons prove to the NBA they are a force once again. Let’s just hope the team can fix the big issues.

 

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