Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE
The Indiana Pacers are poised to have their best season in years. That's in part to the decline of several teams in the Eastern Conference—Orlando and Chicago in particular.
It's also because they're a one of the most complete teams in the NBA. They have a dominant big man in Roy Hibbert, good perimeter scoring, excellent rebounding and they know how to defend.
The Pistons will be improved but the Pacers could be the second or third best team in the East. Detroit hasn't risen to that level yet.
Greg Monroe is as good if not better than Hibbert, but the Pacers are deeper. If Detroit was to rise to Indiana's level, several things would have to happen.
First, Andre Drummond and Slava Kravtsov would have to play like dominant veterans from day one. Second, Brandon Knight would have to make a giant leap in his development and ability to distribute the basketball. Lastly, Charlie Villanueva would need to have a career year from the perimeter.
If all of those things happen, and Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey have dominant years, then the Pistons might give the Pacers a run for their money in the Central.
It could happen, but it's not likely. The Pistons will be better, but they're not ready to challenge the Pacers for the division.