The Detroit Pistons are set to face a key season. They’ll have two of their starters entering contract years and it’ll be the last chance they have to prove the Griffin-Drummond experiment can work.
Dwane Casey failed to develop a true identity with this team during his first season in charge but should have enough tools to, at least, make it to the playoffs.
If things do start heading south near the All-Star break, Casey and the Pistons’ front office may start thinking about trading away some of their starters.
For now, this is how they’ll line up to start the season:
Bench: Derrick Rose, Jordan Bone, Luke Kennard, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Sekou Doumbouya, Markieff Morris, Thon Maker
Point Guard: Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson hasn’t been able to live up to the hype since completing his move from Oklahoma to Detroit. He talked a big game about being ready to be a starter, but injuries and inconsistency have prevented him from doing so.
Jackson is entering a contract year and he knows it’s now or never for him. He needs to prove that he can run this team’s offense and Derrick Rose’s presence will put a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
Shooting Guard: Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown really impressed during the Summer League and he even joined Lonzo Ball as the only players to record a triple-double in that tournament, so he’s likely to start over Luke Kennard to start the season.
Brown has shown glimpses of having a great ability to run the point and he’s a great rebounder for his position as well. Consistency will be an issue for him, but he has got a lot of upsides if they are willing to let him go through some growing pains.
Small Forward: Tony Snell
Tony Snell is far from the player we all thought he’d be during his tiny breakout period with the Chicago Bulls, but he’s still an above-average defender this team could use on the wing. Also, he’s already stated that he’ll embrace any role the team needs him to play.
Snell will have a lot of pressure to deliver with the Pistons as Luke Kennard, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, and Sekou Doumbouya will all try and take playing time away from him.
Power Forward: Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin lowkey had the best season of his career last year but it wasn’t enough to lead the Pistons past the first round of the playoffs. Still, he’s back at full strength following an injury-riddled postseason.
Griffin has become a better overall player over the years, he’s not just a dunker anymore. He can shoot, pull-up, run the point, dominate both sides of the glass, and has even improved as a defender in the post.
Center: Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond will enter a contract year, so he’ll have to bring his A-Game to get paid next summer. He’s the best rebounder in the league and one of the best defenders in the paint, and he needs to lead this team to success.
Drummond can score in bunches and dominate the glass but is a somewhat odd fit next to Blake Griffin, to say the least. Perhaps the Pistons will address the possibility of trading him before the break if things aren’t going well.
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