Detroit Pistons: 5 Big Developments of the Early Season

Nick Wiggins@N_Wiggins81Correspondent IIINovember 24, 2013

Detroit Pistons: 5 Big Developments of the Early Season

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    The Detroit Pistons have had several interesting developments during this young NBA season.  The Pistons are a young but talented team looking to end their playoff drought.  What should hold the top spot on our countdown?  Detroit's awful shooting defense, Josh Smith's absence from practice, or Greg Monroe's impending free agency?  Perhaps Maurice Cheeks as the right man for the job?  One thing is for certain, the early season for Detroit has not been without excitement or controversy.  Ranked according to my personal opinion, here are five developing stories for the Pistons thus far in this NBA season.

Rookie Guards

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Peyton Siva are young guards that show a lot of promise.  Caldwell-Pope has the lowest turnover percentage on the team and is expected to be an immediate contributor.  He is averaging a respectable 20.7 minutes per game with five starts thus far.  Siva is more of a project player. In five appearances this season he has yet to score and is averaging just 4.6 minutes per game.  It will be interesting to watch the young guns continue to develop and adjust to life in the NBA.

The Return of Chauncey

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    At one time, Chauncey Billups was the most beloved Piston around.  That of course was after his 2004 NBA Finals MVP performance and before his time with the Nuggets, Knicks and Clippers.  The prodigal son has returned for the Pistons and his veteran leadership will be critical if Detroit expects to make the postseason.  Watching what could be Billups' last ride will be nostalgic to say the least.  Caldwell-Pope and Siva could not ask for a better mentor.

Greg Monroe's Contract

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Greg Monroe is fast approaching free agency.  The Pistons failed to sign the big man to a long-term contract.  Can Detroit's trio of big men reach their full potential with Monroe's future uncertain?  D.J. Foster broke down this situation in great detail earlier this month.  It will be interesting to see how the Pistons handle this situation has the season unfolds.

Detroit's Awful Shooting Defense

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Detroit won the 2004 NBA championship on the back of its incredible defense.  If the Pistons don't improve their defense fast they can forget about a playoff push and focus on the lottery, again.  Detroit ranks last in the NBA defensively, allowing the opposition to shoot 48.5 percent from the field.  What's worse is the Pistons can't come up with a reason why.  

    As Vince Ellis of USA Today wrote,

    "Josh Smith says the Detroit Pistons need a little more physicality.

    Maurice Cheeks and Greg Monroe say the Pistons are physical enough.

    But all three agree the Pistons must get better at guarding the pick-and-roll. That was theme yet again in the Pistons' latest loss — a 93-85 loss Wednesday to the Atlanta Hawks in Smith's return to his hometown."

    The Hawks shot over 50 percent in that game.  Whatever the reason is for the poor defense, Detroit needs to figure it out soon.

Practice? We Talkin' About Practice?

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Detroit's star forward Josh Smith recently served a one-game benching after missing a mandatory practice.  Smith stayed an extra day in Atlanta following Detroit's 93-85 loss.  Smith explained that he was under the impression the team had the day off and stayed behind to tend to his father, who is battling an illness.  The situation seems to have blown over but you can't help but wonder about this team's communication, or lack thereof, on and off the court.