Pistons 2009/10 Season Preview
For the second year in a row, the Detroit Pistons are going into the season with a first-time head coach. Both Michael Curry and John Kuester have gotten spectacular reviews from the Detroit media regarding their poise and (supposed) control over the Piston locker room. Michael Curry was supposed to bring youthful energy to a team coming off of yet another loss in the conference finals. He promised to play his bench more than his predecessor in order to keep the starters fresh for the playoffs. And… we all saw how that worked out.
As poorly as last season ended for the Pistons, I think it adds to the excitement surrounding the team for this year. There are some new parts to go along with the old faces and the promise of development for a couple of budding stars. A hero returns, hopefully to guide a couple of promising proteges to greatness. Oh, and the young guns are nasty.
“We’re rookies, but if you get us, we got to get you back. [It's] Detroit basketball.”
That’s from the newest Swede to find his home in the D. No, not him. Jonas Jerebko. Both he and Austin Daye were suspended for the first game of the regular season for skirmishes with established (sorta) NBA veterans. And? I love it. If these guys are getting into it in pre-season games, think about what their intensity is going to be like in the regular season. Hopefully Coach Kuester rotates a deep lineup to keep guys hungry and competing for playing time all year. They’re definitely deep enough to pull it off.
This team, if nothing else, is going to be exciting. They may not be a top defensive team, but they have the defensive talent to do more than just out-score the other team every game. They should be active on the boards and one of the better shooting teams in the NBA. Giving this team extra chances on the offensive end could prove costly for opposing teams. To me, the Pistons seem a step below the Eastern Conference’s top tier of the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic. They should battle for the 4th playoff spot with the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls, with another surprise team that I’m missing (possibly the Philadelphia 76ers?).
Other Pistons previews
Aside from a few players, last year’s team was aging and played uninspired, complacent basketball. In just one summer, Detroit has transformed into one of the youngest teams in the NBA. With the added fresh blood, there will come an inherent passion to win that we haven’t seen out of the Pistons as a collective unit in years (most notably during the ECF). John Kuester will stress an up-tempo style of play that the younger players will be able to excel at, especially each of the quartet of guards Kuester is capable of deploying in any given rotation.
If Detroit can pull off a winning season, than what happened last year can be somewhat forgiven.
If new coach John Kuester can get this team together they have the talent to do much better than expected.
Will they make the playoffs? Probably.
Will they go far? Unlikely.
Losing Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess is going to soften this team up on the inside. They say defense isn’t as important in today’s NBA. I don’t agree. Despite the rules the league has put in place to curb defensive dominance you still need to be a good on D to be considered a legitimate contender. Although I do think the combination of Wilcox, Wallace, and Kwame Brown will exceed expectations.
However, Matt Watson of DBB has a nice preview up at NBA Fanhouse.
Kuester, who won a ring in 2004 with the Pistons as a member of Larry Brown’s staff, was widely credited with orchestrating Cleveland’s offensive renaissance last season. He no longer has an MVP like LeBron James to make his job easy, but he does have a dynamic four-guard rotation that rivals any in the league: Stuckey, Hamilton, Gordon and Bynum have lit up the opposition in the preseason and could easily combine for 65 points a night in the regular season.
Overall, I think this team will surprise some people. Hopefully Coach Kue will be able to find a winning combination with this young team. I don’t think this roster will be the one we see in April, but hopefully Joe D is able to find the missing piece and the Pistons can get back to being the class of the East.