• Xavier Sanders

The Future is Bright in Detroit

DETROIT BASKETBALL is back. This young, talented group led by coach/president Stan Van Gundy is set up for a bright future. I think it’s safe to say since the arrival of Van Gundy the countless years of bleeding have now finally come to an end. We’re talking about a franchise that previously saw six straight conference finals appearances from 2003 through 2008. But until last season, the Pistons hadn’t had a winning record since 2007-08. This was unfamiliar for such a successful franchise like the Pistons. I believe the experienced and knowledgeable coach Van Gundy is the perfect fit for this organization moving forward.With the added pieces this offseason the Pistons are loaded with versatility and have the ability to play multiple styles of basketball.

This past season the Pistons made the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Despite being swept by the Cavs in the first round, that feeling of being there was exactly what this organization needed. It brings back confidence, hunger and drive for the Pistons to take into next season. Once you get a taste of the playoffs you want to be there all the time. The positive is that coach Van Gundy is well known for taking a playoff team and making it better. If you recall, Van Gundy took over the Orlando Magic’s in 2007. The Magic’s had made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons a year before coach Van Gundy arrived, however, they were swept in the first round by the Pistons that year. 2007-08, the Magic’s won a first round series against the Toronto Raptors. 2008-09, coach Van Gundy lead the Magic’s to the NBA Finals. If that’s not enough motivation for you, I don’t know what you call it? I’m not saying the Pistons are guaranteed to make the NBA Finals this season, however, I do believe they have the potential to compete with any team in the league.

One thing to point out about the Pistons is that they’re extremely young. They currently have four or more valuable players that are 25 and younger. This could go both ways, either positive or negative. This offseason the Pistons lost three veteran players in Anthony Tolliver, Steve Blake & Joel Anthony. The only players on last year’s team that were

30 years or older with an exceptional amount of NBA experience. With those guys departing, you not only lose experience, but also leadership, mentorship and professionalism. This is only a minor concern of mine. I do believe they have guys capable of feeling those roles right away.

Building and developing has been the key for this franchise to get the ball rolling again. I certainly believe they're headed in the right direction for years to come. With Andre Drummond signing a 5-year max deal worth $130 million this offseason, along with players returning like Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris and Stanley Johnson. Not to mention, the new addition of draft pick Henry Ellenson, the Pistons guys are stacked! I predict big things will play into effect for them moving forward. They don’t have a top 5 player on their roster but their team chemistry and willingness to compete will put them neck-to-neck with any opponent. The key is to not get too far ahead; on paper they have the pieces to possibly compete for an Eastern Conference Final appearance right now. However, their concentration should be on getting back to the playoffs and winning a series. Accomplish that goal and then see what can happen from there. I’m going to predict sooner or later this team will be the talk of the league again!

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