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Even with a young, inexperienced roster and a tough schedule to start the season, it was surprising that the Detroit Pistons came out of the gates with an 0-8 record in 2012-13. The Pistons never recovered from the poor start and finished 29-53.
Despite being well out of the 2013 playoff picture, Detroit reloaded in a major way this summer.
The biggest splash was made when the Pistons acquired Josh Smith—one of the best talents available in free agency—on a four-year, $54 million deal.
The Pistons also brought back Chauncey Billups, who led Detroit to an NBA title in 2004, to provide veteran leadership. In addition, the Pistons agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks to acquire point guard Brandon Jennings on a three-year, $24.2 million deal (a borderline hijacking given the price).
The upgrades in talent are obvious, but there are some questions with regard to how the Pistons will gel as a team.
Smith is projected to be the starting small forward. He’ll join a frontcourt that already features Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Considering that those two big men will be taking up space on the interior, Smith’s inability to spread the floor with outside shooting doesn’t make him an ideal fit.
Nevertheless, Smith is a huge upgrade in talent on both ends of the court. His presence ensured that the Atlanta Hawks made the playoffs in each of the past six seasons.
Jennings, the Pistons' other addition, certainly has his faults. He’s a career 39.4-percent field-goal shooter and doesn't display the best shot selection.
However, he averages just 2.4 turnovers per game despite dominating the ball out of the point-guard spot. Out of all qualified point guards last season, Jennings had fewer turnovers per game than Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Tony Parker, among others.
It may take some time for the Pistons to get acclimated to one another, but there’s no question that they have the talent to contend for a playoff spot next year.
The Detroit Pistons are a playoff team, fact or fiction?