How ’bout them Pistons?

Troy Frank, Sports Editor

So about three months ago, the city of Detroit, and frankly the entire country thought the Detroit Pistons were a rebuilding team; one that, under head coach Stan Van Gundy, center Andre Drummond, and guard Reggie Jackson, was looking promising, but not up to snuff yet. They had the pieces, but needed to come together and form a cohesive unit in order to fulfill that untapped potential.

The off-season was not stellar. They traded for (once-thought) has-beens, sub-par role players, and washed up veterans such as forward Marcus Morris, forward Ersan Illyasova, center Aron Baynes, and guard Steve Blake. Oh boy, were they wrong about them. The draft is what people showed interest in, as the pistons drafted forward Stanley Johnson with the eighth pick. NBA analysts liked his defensive prowess and athletic ability, but concluded that his long range shooting was definitely a negative. As the schedule played out, for the first few weeks of the regular season, Detroit had one of the toughest schedules in the NBA. Opponents include, the 60 win Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 27, Eastern conference finals favorite Chicago Bulls on Oct. 30, guard Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers on Nov.8, defending champion Golden State Warriors on Nov. 9, and forward LeBron James’ Cavaliers. But when the tough match ups began, the Pistons proved to be just as talented as those squads.

On opening night in Atlanta, the Pistons surprised them, 106-94. They followed it up with a defensive style win against the Utah Jazz. It was the next game in which the ‘stones started to create buzz. They beat the Bulls in overtime, with a score of 98-94. They lost to the Indiana Pacers, Warriors and, later, the Kings due to a lackluster offensive turnout. In the Pistons defense, the Warriors are the defending champions that boast the best scorer in the league, guard Stephen Curry, and a great supporting cast around him.

During these seven games, Andre Drummond has been MVP worthy. He’s putting up 19 and a half points a game and 20 rebounds a game. He is also only the third player in history to have three 20-20 (20 points and 20 rebounds) games. The other two were Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That is pretty strong company. He is not the only player to contribute heavily to the team’s victories of late. Against the Blazers, Jackson killed in the fourth quarter, scoring 26 points on top of his 14 from earlier on in the game, to bring his total to a career-high 40 points. Many analysts say that these two will be the key to the Pistons future success. Other standouts include Morris and his amazing ability to land contested mid-range jumpers, Blake using his basketball IQ and running the offense, and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope adding his skill at on-ball defense and shooting.

They are currently 5-3 on the season. They are on a west coast road trip until Nov. 17, where they will take on Cleveland. Detroit is ranked fourth in the East and second in the Central division.