It's been awhile since anybody's had to speculate on how the Detroit Pistons would perform heading into a new season.
The team has always had a certain flow that assured that they would cruise through the regular season without any major problems and then the playoffs roll around and at times, it seemed like there was a totally different team out there.
In another month, the new-look Pistons will take the floor with a new coach—and definitely a new ego.
With the recent acquisitions in both the rookie draft and free agency, the formerly-defensive Pistons will now pride themselves on offense, regardless of what any player or coach may say. They have the talent to score over 100 points a night, but how much they give up is the real question.
I don't think this roster is very talented as a whole, but I do think that the new guys on the team are talented.
That sentence may not make sense, but to put it simply, I believe this team will win some games based on individual performances rather than the usual team effort that the Pistons earned their reputation from.
Earlier in the summer, just after the team signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, I predicted this team was worthy of 45 wins. I still stand by that prediction, which will likely earn the team anywhere between the sixth and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference.
However, my prediction is based on the team's current roster, which I think will vary by the All-Star Break. It is my belief that Richard Hamilton's days as a Piston are numbered and that he will be packaged in a deal near the trade deadline, if not sooner.
It would eliminate any playing time discrepancy between Hamilton and Gordon, which is inevitable. Gordon is the team's two guard of the future. The sooner that this team can unload Hamilton's contract the better.
Stuckey and Bynum will join to be a decent one-two punch at the point, but I'm not expecting great things from either player. Stuckey's an inconsistent offensive player, but because of his ability to limit turnovers, he will be effective in this system.
Tayshaun Prince is another player that could be shipped out, but I believe that Austin Daye's development is the x-factor in Tayshaun's future in Detroit. Until Joe Dumars is comfortable with starting Daye, Tayshaun will be in a Piston uniform. DaJuan Summers should be an effective option off the bench in the near future.
Like Gordon, Charlie Villanueva is in the long-term plans for the team. He'll be a solid four who will take some of the scoring load off of Gordon and Hamilton, though his defensive deficiency may prove to be costly down the stretch. Jason Maxiell will return as the first post player off of the bench.
Center is the big question mark in the Motor City, with Chris Wilcox currently penciled in as the starter. Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace are the team's backup centers, but I do believe that a trade is possible for a guy like Marcus Camby or even Joel Przybilla down the road.
No further analysis of this team is required, because it's all a crapshoot. When you change coaches and bring in three new starters, there can't be any credible predictions, because nobody really knows how these guys will mesh. However, I will stand by this team and my prediction of 45 wins.