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Detroit Pistons

Division: CentralGM: Joe DumarsHead Coach: Maurice Cheeks
2012-13: 29-53 (11th in East)vs. division 8-8
Points94.9 (22nd)
Rebounds42.1 (13th)
Assists21.2 (22nd)
FG %.449 (14th)

Re-tooled Pistons showing signs of life

CHOOSE YOUR TEAM

Eastern Conference Atlanta Hawks Boston Celtics Brooklyn Nets Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers Detroit Pistons Indiana Pacers Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks New York Knicks Orlando Magic Philadelphia 76ers Toronto Raptors washington wizards


Western Conference Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets LA Clippers LA Lakers Memphis Grizzlies Minnesota Timberwolves New Orleans Pelicans Oklahoma City Thunder Phoenix Suns Portland Trail Blazers Shaqramento Kings San Antonio Spurs Utah Jazz

(The Sports Network) In the 2013-14 season, the Detroit Pistons will boast a new coach, new free-agent prize, new borderline All-Star point guard and a returning team legend.

Mo Cheeks earned his third different head coaching gig after President of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars, canned Lawrence Frank in the offseason. Cheeks has a career mark of 284-286 and was recently an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Josh Smith was considered by most to be the second-best free agent on the market after Dwight Howard. Smith, a versatile, but enigmatic forward, inked a four-year, $54 million deal to complete a long, athletic front court. And, man, did Smith sound like he loved Detroit from the start.

Brandon Jennings was acquired in a trade for Brandon Knight, who played admirably in two seasons with the Pistons. Jennings got three years, $24 million from Detroit to try and get the Pistons to the postseason.

And the principal catalyst to Detroit's championship run from almost 10 years ago, Chauncey Billups, signed a very team-friendly deal to try and teach these young guys how to win ball games.

This new group will play alongside Greg Monroe, a talented big man, and Andre Drummond, a talented even bigger man. The Pistons drafted Kentavious Caldwell- Pope, considered by some to be the best two guard in the draft.

There is plenty of talent in Detroit and improvement is expected. It might take time to fully integrate the new personnel and a good start will be needed.

Almost any start will be better than last season's 0-8 beginning.

Who's In/Who's Out

Key Additions: Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Luigi Datome, Josh Harrellson, Tony Mitchell, Peyton Siva

Key Losses: Jose Calderon, Brandon Knight, Jason Maxiell, Kim English, Viacheslav Kravtsov, Khris Middleton

Analysis: Caldwell-Pope looks like your prototypical NBA shooting guard. He is a very good athlete and should provide some nice scoring depth at guard for the Pistons right away. He also has good defensive chops and the potential to become a very legitimate NBA starter one day. Very solid pick by the Pistons. Tony Mitchell meanwhile could eventually be the steal of the 2013 draft. He is ridiculously athletic and if he ever harnesses his potential he could be special. And if not, he was only the 37th pick anyway.(-TSN.ca)

Round 1 8th overall Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG Georgia
Round 2 37th overall Tony Mitchell SF North Texas
Round 2 56th overall Peyton Siva PG Louisville

The Good

The frontcourt is incredibly big and long.

Smith carries career averages of 15.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.1 bpg and 1.3 spg. He is incredibly talented, but can grate on a coach. His 28 percent three-point shooting average is pathetic, but it doesn't stop him from jacking up long-range bombs. Smith attempted a career-best 2.6 three-point attempts a game last season. If Cheeks and Wallace can contain Smith to some degree, he'll be a huge asset. Smith is a plus-defender when he wants to be and a great help defender.

CENTRAL PICKS


Bulls (58-24)

Their MVP is back


Pacers (51-31)

Solid and Playoff Tested


Cavs (40-42)

Youth Making Strides


Pistons (38-44)

Borderline Playoff Team


Bucks (30-52)

Mediocre in Milwaukee

Monroe has averaged 15.7 ppg and 9.6 rpg over the past two seasons. He's played in and started every game but one during that time frame. The Pistons have been tough to watch over the last two seasons, but Monroe hasn't. He's a potential All Star and is a free agent at the end of the season, so a monster year is very possible.

Drummond looked dynamic at points in his rookie campaign. He got derailed by injuries, but posted respectable numbers of 7.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 1.6 bpg. Drummond made the All-Rookie second team and he exceeded expectations in season one.

At guard, Jennings can score at a really impressive rate. He's averaged 17.0 ppg and flirted with 20 a night two seasons ago.

The Not So Good

Jennings isn't a great shooter (39 percent and 35 percent from three-point range), and he's not a great distributor (5.7 apg over his career). Jennings won't need to score at the rate he did in Milwaukee and maybe Cheeks, a borderline Hall of Fame point guard, can make him a better floor leader.

Billups will probably start alongside Jennings, at least in the beginning. But he admitted when he signed with the Pistons that he didn't enjoy playing two guard while with the Los Angeles Clippers, so who knows how that will work. One can't imagine he takes the starting point position from Jennings.

As much as Billups doesn't want to be a nostalgia trip, the Pistons don't want him impeding Caldwell-Pope's development either. With Detroit being a playoff contender, it will need Billups in the lineup and at 37 with some injury issues in recent years, that may not be likely.

Pistons' Depth Chart

Power Forward

Greg Monroe
Charlie Villanueva
Jonas Jerebko
Tony Mitchell

Centre

Andre Drummond
Josh Harrellson

Small Forward

Josh Smith
Kyle Singler
Luigi Datome

Shooting Guard

Chauncey Billups
Rodney Stuckey
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Point Guard

Brandon Jennings
Will Bynum
Peyton Siva

What To Expect

With five teams penciled in the postseason in the Eastern Conference, Detroit could easily contend for one of the three remaining spots. They have enough talent in their starting lineup and off the bench at the wing slots to make the playoffs.

Detroit has the potential to be a special team defensively, especially up front. Smith is a good defender, and Monroe is adequate. Drummond could be a difference-maker at the center spot and as a rim protector.

The Pistons won't break past Miami, Indiana, New York, Chicago, Brooklyn or even Atlanta likely, but Detroit will compete to be be the best of the remaining lot.


Game 3: Raptors at Nets (TSN)

Friday at 6:30pm et/3:30pm pt


NBA on TSN Broadcast Schedule


Western Conference

(1) SA 1, (8) DAL 1 (4) HOU 0, (5) POR 2
(2) OKC 1, (7) MEM 1 (3) LAC 1, (4) GS 1


Eastern Conference

(1) IND 1, (8) ATL 1 (4) CHI 0, (5) WSH 2
(2) MIA 2, (7) CHA 0 (3) TOR 1, (6) BKN 1


Playoff Schedule/Game-By-Game Breakdown



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