The Detroit Pistons kick off the 2010-2011 season tonight in New Jersey against the Nets.
Both teams are coming off poor seasons and hope to at least make decent showings in the Eastern Conference this season.
Detroit ended with a 27-55 record last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
The 27 wins were its fewest since going 20-62 in 1993-94.
The 1994 season is one Pistons' General Manager Joe Dumars remembers well as it was his last season as a player and featured declining play from Pistons' great Isiah Thomas and a young Allan Houston.
Dumars' took over the team in 2000 and proceeded to return them to the glory he had seen with the team during the late eighties and early nineties, leading them to a 2004 NBA Championship, another Finals appearance and six straight trips to the Eastern Conference Finals alongside President Tom Wilson and Coach Larry Brown and later Flip Saunders.
However, after failing to get another championship, Dumars decided to shake things up by trading star player Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson to clear cap space and hiring a new coach in former Pistons' player Michael Curry.
The moves were a failure, with the Pistons making a early first round exit in the playoffs that marked a season full of in-fighting, age decline, injuries and tragedy with the losses of Pistons' owner William Davidson and Bad Boys' Coach Chuck Daly.
Dumars began last season with promise and a pocketful of money from the Billups/Iverson trade. Unfortunately, he went on to pass up the big name players and brought in Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon and Coach John Kuester, who had been a assistant coach under Brown.
The idea was for the newcomers to join a trio from the 2004 championship team—Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace—along with emerging standout Rodney Stuckey to contend for a spot in the playoffs.
The idea may have seemed to be a good one at the time, but ended up a disaster as Hamilton, Prince and Gordon spent most of the season on the injury list and Kuester seemed to be confused on how to proceed with his roster, rotating people on a constant basis and hindering early strong play from Stuckey and Will Bynum.
The season was also plagued by rumors that Davidson's wife was looking to sell the team and saw the exit of President Wilson who left to work for Detroit Red Wings/Detroit Tigers owner/entrepreneur Mike Ilitch.
The only bright side to the season was the emergence of rookie Jonas Jerebko who ended up with 73 starts.
This season the Pistons are determined to put last season behind and start anew with a new slogan, DETTERMINATION, and the addition of Tracy McGrady, who they hope has some gas left in the tank to help propel them back to a winning season.
The team is also waiting to hear about their new ownership with both Ilitch and NBA great Magic Johnson making offers.
If they can stay healthy and limit the playing time of their older players, the Pistons should be able to improve both offensively and defensively.
On the other hand, the return of Kuester may be the wrong move as he has butted heads with most of the roster and is unclear about where his team is headed.
The pre-season injury of Jerebko and his subsequent five month loss certainly makes things a little more difficult for Detroit!
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