When you think of the Detroit Pistons, no matter the era the first thought that hits you is — Bad Boys.
There was the Grant Hill era, the Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace era then it went dark. But after that era was over it seemed so was the life of a Pistons fan. The Pistons have not reached the Playoffs since the 2008 season and have not won over 35 games since that same year.
Something had to give.
This year it all seems to have fallen together but it wasn’t done without a few wide-eyed moves and luck.
When the Pistons resigned Reggie Jackson many wondered what the h*** they were doing giving 80+ million to a guy that was a bench player for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But their investment this season has sure has hit the category of “good move”. Jackson had a per of 19 points and 6 assist in 31 minutes last season. The only knock on him was his assist as I would like to see him pass the ball more to open up the offense instead of the iso plays he loves to run due to his quick first step.
But Jackson is not alone in the resurrection of Pistons basketball.
There is another…
Andre Drummond has established himself as one of, if not the best pure center in the NBA. Drummond is a throwback player to the 80’s and 90’s when centers played with their backs to the basket, defended the post with pride, rebounded for the team and did the dirty work no one else wanted to do. This is who Drummond’s style.
His per of 16 points and 15 rebounds are astonishing but since he doesn’t have a mid-range game his name goes unmentioned with the best. Name a center that you will take over Drummond?
The Pistons were 2nd in the league in offensive rebounds with 13 per game as Drummond pulls down five by himself. That is five second chances Detroit gets to right a missed shot that he provides. As good as his numbers are they could be better if he had a PG that could get him the ball in his sweet spots on the blocks. Drummond gets off 13 shots per game but with most of those off put-backs his teammates must find a way to get him more involved in the offense and that falls on Jackson’s shoulders.
There is not a better combination of an inside/outside tandem in the NBA. Some may argue for the Chris Paul/DeAndre Jordan or James Harden/Dwight Howard but when breaking down numbers– Jackson/Drummond is by far the best.
How far can the Pistons go?
The roster is young but the Pistons seem are on the right path for success. The front office has put versatile players around their two stars with Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson ,Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tobias Harris. Each player brings the team an added dimension that causes nightmares for opposing teams defensive schemes.
Harris is the do-it-all SF that can play either frontcourt position with ease. Johnson is the slasher the Pistons have been searching for, for past seasons. Caldwell-Pope is the mid-range bandit of the group with a nice perimeter game and then you have the explosive Morris who rounds out the group with his well polished skill set.
Imagine if Detroit never signed Jackson to the huge contract, if Greg Monroe had stayed last offseason or what if they didn’t take a chance on a very raw big man out of college in 2012. Luck has played a big part in the success of the Pistons last season but so has precise calculations and on-court chemistry. Despite being swept in the first round of the playoffs this year they managed to get the necessary experienced a young team needed to see what must be done to further their growth.
The future looks bright for the Pistons but where would Detroit basketball be with Jackson and Drummond?