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NBA Preview 2013-2014: Detroit Pistons

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Joe Dumars, President of Basketball Operations (R) poses with new Detroit Piston, Josh Smith and his new jersey at a press conference on July 10, 2013 at Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Getty Images)

Joe Dumars, President of Basketball Operations (R) poses with new Detroit Piston, Josh Smith and his new jersey at a press conference on July 10, 2013 at Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Getty Images)

Last Season: 29-53 (Finished 11th in the Eastern Conference)

Prediction: 31-51

Key Losses: PG Jose Calderon and PF Jason Maxiell

Notable Free Agent Signings: PF Josh Smith, PG Chauncey Billups

Notable Draft Picks: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Looking over the Detroit Pistons 2012-2013 roster, one just can’t see them doing much better than they did last season, despite the signing of semi-super star free agent PF Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks. And here’s why:

- They’ll lack perimeter shooting, even though they drafted Georgia product Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to specifically address that issue. (Imagine a frontcourt of Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, that’s the “brick squad”, to be honest)

- It was nice to see Chauncey Billups return to the franchise he had the most success with, but at 36 years of age and injury-riddled the past couple of seasons, its hard imagining him contributing too much this upcoming year.

- Rodney Stuckey, the player many Pistons fans had pegged to be the next Billups had a horrendous season last year, as he couldn’t find his shooting touch and failed to execute the offense efficiently.

- The Pistons will still have to pay Charlie Villanueva’s disgustingly high salary ($8.58 million this season), as they couldn’t find anyone to dump it off on during the off-season.

Despite all these problems, the Pistons do have some talented young players that have star potential. One of these players is Andre Drummond. At 19 years of age, Drummond is an athletic 7’0, 280-pound centre, who was an absolute joy to watch at the summer league this year.

Drummond has improved at a superb rate since last season and barring injury, has the skill set to be an elite centre in the NBA. Drummond has the speed to continuously run the court, and the athleticism to finish lob passes and defend at a high level.

Unfortunately, he has a no jump shot and is only a 37% free throw shooter. If he can fix his shooting issues and force opposing players to guard him, Drummond could have a remarkable breakout season. He’ll most likely be the Detroit’s starting centre and has an excellent shot of adding his name to the list of great Piston bigs.

Greg Monroe is also another bright spot for the Pistons. Selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft by the Pistons, Monroe has improved at a high pace since his rookie season. Last year, he averaged 16 points and close to 10 rebounds a game, consistently pushing around other centres with his physical play and soft touch around the rim.

If Drummond steps his game up another level this year, the two could make an impressive duo similar to the Ben/Rasheed Wallace duo earlier this decade.

The Piston’s draft pick this year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, will enter training camp with pressure to become the Piston’s first option on offense. Caldwell-Pope is an excellent shooter from beyond the arc, shooting seven a game during his sophomore year at Georgia. He has the ability to create his own shot and can attack the basket off the dribble, making him a deadly weapon if his skills are honed correctly.

A number of draft picks have been heavily lauded before their rookie seasons (Kwame Brown,for instance), so it’s too early to speculate how much of an impact Caldwell-Pope will have on the Piston’s campaign this year, but he is certainly talented and has an unlimited amount of potential to become Detroit’s new franchise player.

Don’t expect Detroit to do anything spectacular this year, but they certainly have valuable young assets to build a team around in the future.


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