'30 Teams in 30 Days' 2015-2016 NBA Season Preview: #22 Detroit Pistons

By Rob Perez
Sep 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
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  • Odds to win the 2015-2016 NBA Championship: 200:1
  • 2014-2015 Record: 32-50 (Missed Playoffs).
    • 2015 Draft Results:
      • Stanley Johnson, University of Arizona (8th Overall)
      • Darrun Hilliard, Villanova University (38th Overall)
    • Key Offseason Additions: Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris
    • Key Offseason Losses: Greg Monroe
  • Projected Starting Lineup:
  • Player Salaries:
  • Season in Review:

The Good: Josh Smith is gone! His enormous contract still on the books may be lingering around like a cold sore after a vacation to Las Vegas, but, regardless – he’s not on the team anymore! Just how bad was he? Instead of plaguing your browser window with an unlimited amount of words and statistics elaborating, this time: I’ll let the guys at DetroitBadBoys.com tell ya what it was like watching this human play basketball at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the past couple of seasons.

The franchise literally paid 27 million US Dollars to this man to get him to go away.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though! After starting the season with a 5-23 record, the Pistons rolled off six straight wins and finished with a not-disgraceful 27-27 record after Smith’s buyout.

The Bad (and the Ugly): Andre Drummond’s free throw shooting. We’re now three years into his NBA career and it’s not getting better — as a matter of fact: it’s getting worse: from 41.8% during the 2013-2014 season to 38.9% this year with his average attempts per game going up from 2.7 to 4.0 to 4.5. He is undoubtedly becoming one of the most dominant big men in the league, proved by his insane/team-high 21.4 P(layer) E(fficiency) R(ating) in 2014-2015 … but, as he improves – as will the Pistons. The stage will get brighter. The stakes higher. And most importantly: teams will not hesitate to “Hack-A-Drummond” the same way that we saw the entire NBA do to DeAndre Jordan during last year’s playoffs. Simply put: Andre Drummond (and the Pistons) will never be great until he can get this number into the sixties, otherwise, he cannot be on the floor in a big game. At all.

  • Baseless God Wob

Did you think I was going to forget about the biggest monstrosity of the summer? Cutting Josh Smith/Not overpaying Greg Monroe to come back — the Pistons were finally headed in the right direction … and then they went and did something like this….

And TOTALLY (did not) REEDEM THEMSELVES.

This contract is such a joke, John Wall publicly called out the Pistons’ stupidity in an interview with Comcast SportsNet.

"“I’m getting the same as Reggie Jackson … People talk about me getting $80 million, now you got people getting $85 million that haven’t made the All-Star game or anything like that. I guess they came in at the right time that the new CBA kicked in, and now they’re good. Reggie Jackson gets five years, $80 million. I’m getting the same as Reggie Jackson.”"

Stan Van Gundy: What exactly would you say you do here?

Dear Detroit,

I mentioned above that not overpaying Greg Monroe was the right decision, however, I think I failed to mention that you were light years away from being a legitimate contender … let alone making the playoffs … and you decided to hold on to/not trade Monroe at the deadline? Did you not expect every mediocre team with cap space, who whiffed on LaMarcus Aldridge, to offer him a max contract or something? What was the purpose of not moving Greg for draft picks if you had no intention of paying the man in July?

Not the end of the world though — his contract is off the books, and now you don’t have to worry about spacing the floor with Drummond and Monroe out there at the same time. Let’s go spend that available cap space on someone who is efficient.

I hate to do this to you guys again, but, I’m afraid I have to…

You let Greg Monroe walk so you could re-sign Reggie Jackson to an 80 million dollar contract. Between Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy, I give up on head coaches who are also the team’s president of basketball operations. I really do.

Now, don’t get me wrong – Reggie can ball. He is a dynamic offensive presence who led the team in scoring (17.4 PPG), Assists (9.2 Per Game), and creating for others (51.2% of the Pistons’ field goals were assisted by Reggie Jackson when he was on the floor) … but, you absolutely cannot dedicate this type of money to a player in a salary cap league who

  • cannot defend his own shadow (109 individual DRTG when the team’s was 106.4 AND a -1.2 Defensive Plus/Minus average Box Score)
  • plays at a position where 2 of the 4 highest-paid players on the team currently reside.

Let that sink in for a second. Stan Van Gundy thought it was a good basketball decision to pay Reggie Jackson $14 million this year when Brandon Jennings ($8.3 Million) and Jodie Meeks ($6.3 Million!!! JODIE MEEKS!!!) are already under contract. If Van Gundy’s goal is to lead the league in undersized point guards who take horrible shots and are a turnstile on defense, he’s doing one hell of a job.

How on Earth do you plan on playing Jennings, Jackson, and Meeks 30+ minutes each without giving up 130 points per game? Short answer: you’re not going to, and they’re all overpaid – so, no other franchise is going to take one of these guys off your hands unless you incentivize them to. This Pistons backcourt situation is the NBA equivalent of the fantasy football scenario where you draft three quarterbacks because they’re simply too good to pass up, but soon realize you can only start one per week. It’s great that you have so many talented guys on your team, however, the entire league knows you have too many chefs in the kitchen — and they’re in no rush to fairly compensate you for your assets … because they know the longer they wait, the more desperate you’ll get to move one of them for a bigger need.

I want to believe that this Pistons squad is on the verge of turning the corner this year – because on paper: they’re pretty damn talented. Andre Drummond is so close to becoming this generation’s Shaquille O’Neal. Between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, and their highly-touted draft pick Stanley Johnson: they are absolutely STACKED on the wing, and are going to give other teams PROBLEMS on both sides of the floor. But, like the other awful NBA teams in the league right now — Detroit is at the mercy of a completely incompetent front office leader who builds a roster like he’s starting a fantasy draft franchise in NBA 2k.

Expect Detroit to show flashes of brilliance this season, but, I promise you’ll ultimately find yourself asking: “How the hell did they lose that game?” more times than not.

  • 2015-2016 Season Projection:
    • 33-49 Record
    • 11th Place in East
    • No Playoffs
  • Fan Mindset, as told by Hollywood:
    • Stupid Pirate, Hook

The Palace of Auburn Boo Box, hosted by Captain Reggie Jackson.

  • Baseless God Wob’s 3 Divine Questions:
  • If you line up every NBA player up against the wall and draft them one-by-one pick up style, what # does Andre Drummond go?
  • Coming off his Achilles tear and heading into a contract season, will Brandon Jennings show up for the most important year of his career?
  • How do the Pistons get rid of Jennings and/or Meeks without having to trade a draft pick?

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OTHER NBA SEASON PREVIEWS/PRESEASON RANKINGS:

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