Pistons will be hoping that this is a turn-around year with changes at all levels of the franchise…
After a generally dismal season in the NBA last year, Stan Van Gundy arrives at the Detroit Pistons looking to make significant and immediate improvements.
The Pistons finished the regular season with a 29-53 record, which quite unbelievably left them just nine games adrift of making the playoffs despite a disappointing campaign overall.
The writing was on the wall for Maurice Cheeks early on while the organisation made changes in the front office too, but on the court there were further headaches after much promise and optimism ahead of the campaign.
Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe weren’t the formidable trio that many thought they would be, and coupled with Brandon Jennings’ struggles in the backcourt, the Pistons required freshening up and another new start.
Can Stan Van Gundy piece this puzzle together and get the Pistons to the playoffs?
Van Gundy is undoubtedly the kind of individual that the franchise needed to settle things down, secure some stability and build moving forward.
If there was a year for a significant turn-around, then this is likely to be it as he will look to continue to develop Drummond into a franchise player while getting the best out of the roster around him.
In come D.J. Augustin and Caron Butler who bring experience and talent, particularly with the former who had an impressive season with the Chicago Bulls last year while Butler enjoyed a deep playoff run with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
There are various other intriguing pieces on the roster, but ultimately, the most important man in all of this in Detroit will be Van Gundy and his ability to bring it all together as these aren’t championship-winning pieces that they’ve added.
They will undoubtedly improve the Pistons, but Van Gundy will need to ensure they become defensively more sound as a unit and add consistency to their game as these players have all shown glimpses of their talent but they are where they are as they were unable to sustain it over a season.
The arrival of a new coach and several new faces will give the franchise an immediate boost, but even if they start quickly, the acid test will be whether or not Van Gundy can keep it going and build some momentum which would change the entire atmosphere in Detroit.
Drummond was mostly a reserve at the FIBA World Cup behind Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, but he will have taken a lot from that experience and the responsibility will steadily start falling on his shoulders.
Whether or not he can take his game to the next level under the watchful eye of his new coach remains to be seen, but he will in all probability be the least of the problems in Motor City this season. If Smith, Monroe, Drummond and Jennings click along with some help off the role players, the Pistons can dream of a playoff season. However, even in a weak Eastern Conference, we’re not entirely convinced that it will become a reality and a 10th place finish will be about right.