Team Name: The Detroit Pistons
Last Year’s Record: 39-43
Key Losses: Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Chauncey Billups (does that still count), head coach Michael Curry (a good loss) and possibly the best loss in Pistons history, the end of Allen Iverson in red, white and blue.
Key Additions: Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Wilcox, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko and Ben Wallace.
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
The Pistons haven’t had a significant change to a start of the season since Joe Dumars took over as GM. Dumars started cleaning house well before the season started by trading away the Pistons cherished point guard Chauncey Billups for the expiring contract of Allen Iverson. The Iverson experience was a train wreck and by the end of the season it was obvious that big changes were coming.
Dumars started in late June with the firing of head coach Michael Curry. He traded Amir Johnson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Fabricio Oberto who was later waived. With the 15th pick in the NBA Draft Detroit selected Austin Daye of Gonzaga University and later took DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko in the second round.
Dumars then shipped out Arron Afflao for more cap space to secure the free agents he was coveting. Dumars wasted no time in bringing Ben Gordan and Charlie Villanueva to Detroit. On July 1, 2009, the Pistons reached an agreement with the former Bulls guard on a 5 year/$55 million contract, as well as an agreement with Charlie Villanueva on a 5 year contract worth $35 million.
They picked up plenty, but they also lost two of their key players in Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess. On July 5, 2009 the Pistons Sheed to free agency. Wallace signed a two year, $5.58 million contract with the Boston Celtics. Following the departure of Wallace, former Antonio McDyess signed a one year contract with the San Antonio Spurs for the mid-level exception. Though Pistons fans were probably ready to see Rasheed say goodbye, McDess heart and desire will be missed at The Palace.
In dire need of big man, Dumars picked up Knicks power forward Chris Wilcox to do some damage down low. And a surprise that Pistons fans were hoping for, the return of Ben Wallace to Detroit. Wallace, who was waived by the Phoenix Suns signed for the veterans minimum to play for the Pistons this season.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
This current configuration of Pistons should have no problem putting the ball in the basket. With Ben Gordon coming off the bench and Charlie Villanueva added to the starting lineup Detroit will be able to put up points.
They also got younger and faster this season with rookies Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers. Put them in the lineup with Stuckey or Will Bynum at the point and this team will get out and run, something we rarely saw from the Pistons half court style of play.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
The most glaring and obvious weakness for Detroit is the “D”. Always known for defense first, the Pistons now have an offensive mined squad and a lack of established big men.
The Pistons new addition down low, Charlie Villanueva has a reputation to be allergic to rebounds and has been called “soft.” Look for Jason Maxiell, Chirs Wilcox and Kwame Brown to do most of the dirty work for the Pistons this season.
4.What are the goals for this team?
Better than 39 wins will be just fine for this Pistons team. If Detroit can pull off a winning season, than what happened last year can be somewhat forgiven.
If new coach John Kuester can get this team together they have the talent to do much better than expected.
Will they make the playoffs? Probably.
Will they go far? Unlikely.
5. Will the roster likely stay the way it is?
You can bet that Joe Dumars is working on trying to make a few more moves. The most valuable and likely to go is Rip Hamilton. He’s got value on the market and with Ben Gordon on the team, his offense wouldn’t be missed that much putting Ben in the starting lineup to replace him. If there is a move to make Dumars will do it, we saw it last year with Billups, don’t count anything out at this point.
One thing is sure, they may not be slotted to make the ECF like they used to, but this Pistons team is going to be fun to watch.
Projected Finish: 46-36