The Detroit Pistons have been consistently inconsistent. Head Coach Dwane Casey has been slowly transforming the franchise’s culture with the help of executive Ed Stefanski. Blake Griffin is taking charge on and off the court as the team’s de-facto leader while instilling a winner’s mentality in his teammates, who have never tasted much playoff success. Detroit has reached the postseason once in the last nine seasons. In the 2015-16 season, Stan Van Gundy reached the playoffs only to get swept by LeBron James and the Cavaliers, who would go on to win the championship that season. The Pistons currently hold the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference and have a high probability of making the postseason.
Are the Detroit Pistons On the Road to Success?
Hot and Cold… and Hot again
Detroit started the season as one of the hottest teams with a 13-7 record. They fought and scrapped hard for each and every win. After December 1st the team hit a very tough schedule. Along with that came a few injuries to key role players such as Ish Smith, and Reggie Bullock. This led to the team freefalling in the Eastern Conference standings.
Detroit went on a tough stretch with an 8-21 run. Their 21-28 record saw them bound to replicate the last few season’s storylines. Adversity would lead to the team missing out on the postseason after having a hot start. The only difference this year though is that Detroit has an experienced superstar in Griffin while fielding a healthy Reggie Jackson.
As of January 31st, the Pistons went on a tear winning 14 out of their 19 games to claim the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. Detroit had a top five offensive and defensive rating in the month of February, notching convincing wins over the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and Toronto Raptors. With Detroit flirting with the 6th and 7th seed, this means that Indiana or Toronto will likely be Detroit’s first-round matchup. For Motor City fans, convincing wins over a likely post-season foe meant that competitive basketball is back in Detroit.
Ed Stefanski and Dwane Casey have initiated a culture refresh in Detroit that seems to be working towards contention. The franchise’s front office and Casey have been clear about their intentions since they took over. The Pistons will be in the business of winning, and this means that there will be no tanking for potentially high draft picks. Griffin is playing arguably the best basketball of his career along with Andre Drummond. Reggie Jackson has adjusted his role alongside Griffin while remaining a focal point of the offense.
Blake Griffin is signed until 2022, while Drummond and Jackson are signed until 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Detroit has made small moves in the trade deadline to help propel their hot streak. Therefore, there is a reason to believe that the current front office can do more of that in the off-season to launch the franchise into being a title contender for years to come. For the time being, the Pistons only need to make some noise in the post-season for everyone to view it as a successful season.