Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons 2014 offseason moves
The center of attention
2013-2014 record: 29-53

The Detroit Pistons were a bit of a mess last season. Their towering trio of bigs - Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith - didn't really gel on the court, coach Maurice Cheeks apparently didn't get along with Smith and Will Bynum, and the team generally lacked a system. The arrival of former Heat and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy will solve at least some of their problems, and while they won't be contenders, they should at least be able to churn out a few more wins in 2014-2015.

With no other team signing restricted free agent Monroe to an offer sheet, and no realistic sign-and-trades options out there, the talented big man accepted Detroit's qualifying offer. This means that Van Gundy, too, will have to find a way to mesh him, Drummond and Smith for at least another year. Which is a luxury problem, but a challenge nonetheless. Add freewheeling Iverson clone Brandon Jennings, point guard Will Bynum, defensive ace Kyle Singler, sophomores Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell, Italian shooter Gigi Datome, and combo forward Jonas Jerebko to the mix, and you see that the Pistons actually have an abundance of riches to play around with.

Guard Rodney Stuckey, who was supposed to be the heir to Chauncey Billups when he was traded to the Nuggets in 2008, never quite lived up to those expectations, and it's probably for the better that he signed with the Pacers as a free agent. Billups' last hurrah in Detroit also came to an end when the team decided against picking up his option. Josh Harrellson, Peyton Siva and Charlie Villanueva are gone, too. They were replaced with shooter Jodie Meeks, who stepped up big for the Lakers in the Kobe's absence, point guard D.J. Augustin, who did the same for the Bulls with Rose out, veteran Caron Butler, versatile swingman Cartier Martin, bruising big man Aaron Gray, and No. 38 pick Spencer Dinwiddle, a 6-foot-6 combo guard out of Colorado.

2014-2015 prediction:

The Pistons have pieces galore. It will be up to head coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy to put a system in place, make sure everybody's on the same page, and leverage that into more wins. I wouldn't exactly predict a championship already, but they should at least be competitive and in the playoff hunt. There are no excuses for them to lose 50 games again.

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