It is just over a quarter into the NBA season and the promising Detroit Pistons are still hanging on near the top of the chaotic Eastern Conference. However, fans around the league cannot help but wonder how legitimate the Pistons really are. After a missing the playoffs with a 37-45 record last season, will they be able to sustain their consistency long enough to finish in the top half of the conference?
That is complicated.
Promising Detroit Pistons Are Still Learning
Team has skills, lacks some development
The Pistons great start to the season is slightly reminiscent of what the Miami Heat did in the second half of the season last year. The team has talent, but they are not developed enough as a team to keep up with Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers, particularly in the playoffs.
The good news for Pistons fans is even with the little bump from returning 0-4 from a four-game road trip, they are still fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 14-10 record.
Andre Drummond has been a strong contributor to the team, especially defensively. He is averaging more rebounds (15.3) than points (14.7) per game. Also, his defensive box plus/minus is +5.4, meaning Drummond is 5.4 points better than the average player over 100-possessions.
Drummond is also leading the league a few areas:
- Rebounds per game
- Defensive rebound percentage (35.6 percent)
- Total rebound percentage (25.8 percent)
- Total rebounds (366)
Reggie Jackson is having a good season as well, averaging 16.4 points and 5.5 assists per game. The Piston’s leading scorer is forward Tobias Harris with 19.2 points per game on 57.8 percent shooting.
They have the talent, but the question remains as to just how much it will develop through the rest of the season.
Despite slips, Pistons still look promising
The Pistons have a strong, competitive team, but they have to show up on both ends of the floor every night. They started out the season very well, especially defensively, but that is something they will have to continue executing if they want to stay sitting near the top half of the conference.
Despite difficulties, based on their performance over the first 24 games, fans can expect the Pistons to make the playoffs. As for where they end up in those top eight teams, that is between them and the next 58 games that lay ahead.
The Pistons play the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors at 7 p.m on Friday at home.
All statistics are from basketball-reference.com and are accurate as of Dec. 7, 2017.
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