Sure, the Pistons are starting the season off with a slow 3-4 start. But it doesn't help that Rip has been out since the first game, and Tayshaun has been out since the third game of the season.
But even without Rip and Tay, the Pistons are showing major improvement on both the offensive, and defensive side of the ball.
With Tayshain out, it has given the rookies Jerebko and Daye a lot of playing time, and giving them more experience, and making them more reliable to the team. Jerebko has been playing the starting roll, and had his best night the other night against the 76ers. He scored his career high of 10 points, and grabbed 5 rebounds. Doesn't seem like much, but he provided great defensive pressure, and hustle.
Austin Daye had his best game against Orlando last Friday scoring 11 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and 1 block. Daye, with the same build as Tayshaun, provides good defensive pressure and is not afraid to block a shot, and get those boards.
Charlie Villanueva started off slow, but has slowly progressed to averaging just over 14 points per game. But these last couple games have been breakout games for him. Against the 76ers he recorded 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block. Orlando is when he had his major breakthrough. Despite the loss to Orlando Friday night, he scored 28 points (17 in the 4th) and grabbed 5 rebounds.
The impressive three guard lineup they have been running without Rip, involving Stuckey, Bynum, and Gordon has been nothing but amazing.
Stuckey has been consistent running the offense, and setting everything up, along putting up big numbers. Bynum has been completely unstoppable as it seems playing great defense, and being a major scoring threat. Ben Gordon continues his hot shooting, and that perfect stroke having a team high averaging 24 ppg, and has been getting better on the defensive end.
Ben Wallace is playing exactly like he did back in 2004 when the Pistons won their last championship. He is dominating the boards, and being a major threat on defense in the paint. Although he isnt putting up many points, he sure is sparking the offense with his defensive presence.
When this team gets back Tayshaun, their defense will continue to get even better, and will have an average of another 12 points a night on the scoreboard.
When Rip comes back, that already impressive three guard lineup Kuester has been running, will bring back Rip, and average of around 18 ppg.
Once Tayshaun, and Hamilton come back, I can see the Pistons making a big run. With the rookies getting a lot of experience, and Stuckey, Gordon, and Bynum continue to play better together each and every night, and Villanueva finally getting into a rhythm, along with Wallace being dominate on defense, these Pistons can make a good run deep into the playoffs, but still need more work to be able to compete with Boston and Orlando.
The Pistons play the Bobcats on Wednsday at the Palace, where the Pistons should bring their record back up to the .500 mark on the season thus far. It is going to be an exciting season, and I can't wait to see what happens.