If you told me two years ago that the Pistons were coming in to a new season with the core they have in place and the addition of Avery Bradley, I would say the Pistons should be at least firmly in the lower half of the playoff bracket. That being said, it is not two years ago and this Detroit Pistons team is like a movie I have seen one too many times. The core of Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, and Tobias Harris, has plateaued completely and even possibly regressed.
The Pistons will not be bad, that is not what I mean to say. The Pistons just won’t be good. Drummond will average a double double, but infuriate fans with terrible foul shooting and generally low effort for a player of his skill. Tobias Harris will look like he is about to take the next step and evolve into a dominant player, but will still only average around 15 or 16 points per game. Eventually the Pistons and Stan Van Gundy have to stop waiting for player’s who have not lived up to their potential and start fresh.
The strip down is something I do see as a very real possibility for the Pistons in 2017-18, as much as fans might not want to think about something of that sort. I would not be surprised if both Drummond and Jackson are moved this season, especially if Detroit is willing to lower its asking price for Drummond. Harris might be moved as well, but I believe his consistent scoring, albeit below his talent level, is enough to keep him in the team’s plans.
There is still the possibility that somehow Van Gundy pulls it all together. That Drummond looks like the perennial All-NBA contender we saw a few seasons ago. That guys like Stanley Johnson mature into mature rotation players to provide depth. That new additions Luke Kennard and Avery Bradley provide a long needed offensive jolt for the roster. The Pistons could finally hit the next level they have been trying to hit for a few years now and really take advantage of a weak Eastern Conference.
Although I respect the potential that many of the players on the Pistons have, I have seen one too many years of the product Van Gundy is selling. The East is incredibly weak and due to that alone the Pistons may be able to sneak into the playoffs as an 8 seed. If the team ends up getting off to a bad start, the team may jump start the rebuild which would make 2017 a long season for Pistons fans. I predict that the Detroit Pistons will finish the regular season at 35-47, third in the Central Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference.