Keeping the focus in the East, next up – the Detroit Pistons. They may not be the same team that were known to destroy the Raptors on any given night, but after making a splash in the free agent pool, they remain a team to beat in the East. Breaking down her “new look” team is Natalie from Need4Sheed.
When Natalie is not spitting knowledge about all things Pistons over at Need4Sheed, she can be found tweeting or making caricatures of her favorite players.
The Detroit Pistons, what do I say about a team I have been following since I myself could dribble (on court and off)? How do you preview a team that has changed so much? A team that stayed pretty much the same for almost 5 seasons and in a matter of 12 months has managed to go from the eastern conference elite to a team of underachievers. One dismal (and that’s being kind) trade that set the wheels in motion to the team Detroit will put on court come late October.
I hate the term “new look” but for the Pistons that really does seem to apply. Here is a quick rundown of the Detroit low down.
- Ben Gordon – Will he be coming off the bench for a little more than 10 million dollars a season?
- Charlie Villanueva – A new exciting Twitterific addition that wow but isn’t known for his defense, something that Detroit prides themselves in.
- Is Rip Hamilton’s future with the Pistons still up in the air?
- No Need4Sheed now that he’s in Boston.
- Antonio McDyess will surely be missed.
- Will Rodney Stuckey truly breakout this season after having a lackluster season last year. I’ll give Stuck a bit of a pass on the considering he may have been affected by the AI drama.
- Will Tayshaun Prince step up his game now the team needs him more than ever?
- Can Austin Daye (Detroit’s first rounder) bulk up stomach as well as his game?
- Can Will Buynum be a solid backup PG?
- Chris Wilcox and Kwame Brown are the centers. No question, I’m just saying.
- Will solid minutes help Jason Maxiell be more consistent?
- Trade first time head coach Michael Curry for fist time head coach John Kuester.
- First full season after the death of HOF owner Bill Davidson.
- And lastly, Allen Iverson – Have fun in Memphis (Karma would have you coming off the bench for the Grizz)
Plenty of questions for a team that was so predictable for so many years. One thing I do know as a long time fan… I’m hoping it’s going to be fun to watch the unknown.
Last Season Record: 0-3
The Pistons struggled last year but it didn’t show against the Raptors as they swept them while playing shorthanded for a couple of the games. Chris Bosh has always struggled to put up decent stats when going up against Rasheed Wallace, but the first time the two teams met last season was different. Bosh put up 26-13 and the team still took a loss. Crazy eh? Well not really because on the offensive end players like Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton have been known to carve up the Raptors with their athleticism and ball movement. The best chance Toronto had to get a win was in the final game in the series but they dropped it in overtime. The Pistons’ ability to get to the basket, move without the ball and convert on fast break opportunities always has the other team scrambling. Defensively sound, the Pistons have been a puzzle the Raptors have been trying to solve for several years.
The Bigs: Chris Bosh finally has some breathing room. When the Pistons let Sheed walk, it left Bosh with no more excuses. He will be expected to perform well against this team. Detroit’s front line is looking the weakest it has in a while. New comer Charlie V – hardly heralded for his Defense, an aging Big Ben, a bust in Kwame Brown and journeyman Chris Wilcox. The Raptors should be able to take advantage of whatever combination is on the floor. The one intriguing piece on the Pistons is, Austin Daye. He had a great summer league showing and the Pistons are probably hoping he develops quickly so they can keep Kwame in street clothes down the end of the bench.
The Wings: Tayshaun Prince has been a Raptor killer his entire career. He has always been able to roam freely on the defensive end as the team never had a weapon at the wing spot that he had to focus on. Enter: Hedo Turkoglu. Known for his offensive game, Hedo should keep Prince more on the perimeter, and that in turn means, it wont be so easy for him to leave his man and rotate down to double. Offensively, Tayshaun has improved him jump shot every year and has the ball handling, both skills that make him a tough cover for any SF in the league – let alone a weaker defender in Hedo. The Pistons also have the ability to go big at this spot, using newly acquired Charlie V, bruising Jason Maxiell, or ever their rookie DeJuan Summers – another one of Joe Dumars diamond in the rough picks. The Raptors have added size and players who can guard multiple spots but they will still struggle to keep pace against Detroit.
The Guards: Rodney Stuckey + Richard Hamilton + Ben Gordon = A force to be reckoned with. Ben Gordon adds some serious offensive fire power to an already solid combination of guards in the Pistons back court. Jose (known to struggle when trying to guard athletic PG’s), has his work cut out for him and if Jay decides to put Jack on Stuckey, then Jose will be running around trying to keep up with RIP as he runs through multiple screens. Its a pick your poison situation for the Raptors who were struggling to keep up with last season’s version of the Pistons guard combos. The Raptors are going to need their guards to produce on the offensive end in order to expose the defensive weaknesses in players like Ben Gordon and Hamilton. Bottom line, this is a tough match up for the Raptors. The key will be to contain, because they wont be able to completely stop what the Pistons guards do during the course of the game.
Predicted Record: 1-2 (Change is the name of the game but it will only tack on 1 W for the Raps here)