The NBA regular season opener is right around the corner. It’s a time of year when every team has a clean slate, and all 30 teams are championship contenders. Of course, as the season progresses the better teams will rise to the top and the not so talented teams will prepare for the 2014 NBA Draft.
Unfortunately for the Pistons, they have been on the latter end of that spectrum for the last several years and are trying to regain the ability to call themselves one of the league’s best teams, as they did in 2004.
It has been a busy offseason for owner Tom Gores , General Manager Joe Dumars and the Pistons as they have brought in a new head coach in Maurice Cheeks and several new players, highlighted by Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, as well as the return of Chauncey Billups.
There hasn’t been this much optimism about basketball in the city of Detroit since the last big Pistons spending spree, when the team went out and signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to multi-year contracts. Obviously those deals didn’t work out for the Pistons. as Gordon is not even on the team anymore and Villanueva played less than 20 minutes per game last year.
Now the question is, how will this past offseason acquisitions fare for a team in desperate need of a winner? No one is questioning the talent that guys like Smith and Jennings bring to the team, but many critics are concerned over how guys with the reputation as “lazy” and “selfish” will fit with a group of young, up-and-coming core of players.
Before the injuries to Rodney Stuckey (thumb) and Brandon Jennings (tooth), it was believed that the starting lineup would look something like Jennings at PG, Stuckey at SG, Smith at SF, Greg Monroe at PF, and second year star Andre Drummond at C. Now the starting PG and SG positions are up for grabs, but when Jennings and Stuckey return, this teams greatest concern will be how they stretch out the floor so big men Monroe and Drummond will have space to work inside.
Cheeks has his work cut out for him, but it is a challenge that would excite any coach in the league. For the first time in a long time, the Pistons organization and their fans have something to be excited about.
The Pistons officially begin their season Oct. 30 against John Wall and the Washington Wizards. With all the moves Dumars made this season, it is playoffs or bust for the long time GM. This team has the talent to do it, but only time will tell if they are able to turn this franchise’s expectations into reality.
Cameron Billes is the host of Horsepower for Impact Sports.