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NBA 2018-19 Playoff Chances: The Detroit Pistons and the fight for the 8th seed

Shubham Pant
ANALYST
Feature
07 Mar 2019, 21:14 IST

Minnesota Timberwolves v Detroit Pistons
Minnesota Timberwolves v Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons have been struggling for the past few years and have made the playoffs only twice in the last 10 years, 2008-09 and 2015-16, both times getting knocked out in a clean sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Their current season has only been a bit better in comparison to their history in the playoffs in the past decade, and are currently doing well after a horrendous start. They are 32-31 in the Eastern Conference and are sitting at the 6th spot.

With this in mind, let us look at the playoff chances for the Detroit Pistons this season.

Positive Signs:

#1 Blake Griffin's resurrection

Detroit Pistons have been carried on the shoulders of Griffin all season long
Detroit Pistons have been carried on the shoulders of Griffin all season long

The Los Angeles Clippers decided to trade an overpaid, under-performing and injury-prone star in Blake Griffin last season and the Detroit Pistons decided to take a chance on the former All-Star, and boy has it paid off this season.

After an underwhelming finish to last season with a few injuries, Griffin has done some fantastic work in the off-season and has come out all guns blazing. He has been resurrected from the dead and his game too has changed a lot. He is averaging a career high 25.2 points a game, on a career high 6.8 3s a game. He is also grabbing 7.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game as well.

He is playing like a point-forward and teams are having a tough time in trying to keep up with him. He has barely gone down with an injury all season long too, missing just 2 games, citing rest. His rise this season was a shock to almost everyone, and the Pistons are seemingly benefiting from his form as he is carrying them on his shoulders towards the playoffs, which seems in the bag with how well he is playing.

#2 Andre Drummond's meteoric rise

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Andre Drummond had been touted as one of the less sought-after centers in the league. He was plagued with issues like his free throw percentages, which were at an abysmal 38.3% for the starting 5 seasons. But last season, Drummond turned his career around, shooting a career high 60.5% from the free throw line and has also improved his game in the paint, along with becoming a more solid defender and rim protector, and he seems to have continued his great play last season this season too.

Barring a barren stretch for a few games, Drummond has been excellent support for Blake Griffin and the Pistons, emerging as the 2nd star for the team. Drummond is averaging a career high 17.6 points a game, along with 15.1 rebounds a game. He is also grabbing 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks a game and makes amazing contributions to the team defensively for a big man. The Pistons need their twin towers firing on all cylinders if they want to make the playoffs this season.

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