Suddenly, that long road back to respectability appears to be quite a bit shorter.
The Detroit Pistons, a proud franchise that had fallen on hard times of late, appear to have finally figured it out.
And they did it the right way.
Most Pistons fans have long maintained that the only way for this franchise to become a winner again would be to build through the draft. Given that Detroit is far from an ideal destination for preferred free agents, and trades require a team to have enough talent to secure incoming talent, that appeared to be the correct diagnosis.
So the Pistons set out to do that.
They resisted the desire to pull the trigger on big free-agent signings or major cap-expanding trades and simply stood pat and drafted the best players available.
And after Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko and Brandon Knight all proved to be wise draft picks, the Pistons appear to have gotten lucky again with Andre Drummond. Drummond has come on exceptionally strong during the Pistons' early preseason run, showing exceptional athleticism and a surprisingly soft touch.
Drummond's sudden emergence has Pistons fans cautiously optimistic, and it is just one of the major storylines heading into this season.