2012-13 Result: 29-53, 11th in Eastern Conference, missed the playoffs
Key Additions: Josh Harrellson, Peyton Siva, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell, Chauncey Billups, Luigi Datome, Will Bynum, Josh Smith, coach Maurice Cheeks,
Key Departures: Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, Viacheslav Kravtsov, Jose Calderon, Jason Maxiell, Corey Maggette, Kim English
The Detroit Pistons were simply horrible in 2012-13, racking up losing streaks of up to 10 games in a row. They only found their groove when it was too late, winning five games and losing just three in April. It was clear that despite the team scored a combined 117.7 points a game, they needed to be more efficient as they shot only a cumulative 46 per cent from the field. They were also among the worst outside-shooting teams in the league, hitting just above 27 per cent from the three-point line.
Team owner Tom Gores fired coach Lawrence Frank over the summer and hired veteran coach Maurice Cheeks. Cheeks, previously the head coach at Portland and Philadelphia, was an assistant coach at Oklahoma City prior to his hiring. The Pistons also sought to beef up their roster with a mixture of new blood and veteran stability, bringing back Chancey Billups and trading for Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.
While the departures of Brandon Knight and Jose Calderon deprived them of two double-digit scorers as well as the team's leader in assists, Jennings and Billups more than make up for the losses. Jennings is an explosive scorer who is fast learning how to distribute the ball, while Billups is a crowd favourite who was part of the Pistons team that won the 2004 championship.
While the team lost Jason Maxiell to free agency, the wings will be bolstered by the addition of Josh Smith. Smith is a versatile, athletic combo forward who can score as well as he can defend. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks for Atlanta in the 2012-13 season, and is a definite upgrade over Jason Maxiell. A tandem of Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond should make opponents think twice before slashing to the basket.
Season Prediction: The Pistons possess a blend of youth and experience that should give them the opportunity to win more than a few games. Scoring at the wings, which used to be in short supply, will be significantly boosted by the addition of Josh Smith, who is clearly the biggest off-season pickup for the team. Brandon Jennings should be a more mature, complete player this time around, and will be a huge factor in the clutch. A playoff spot may not be guaranteed, given that Maurice Cheeks is not the best coach available in the market, but the Pistons will surely be in contention.
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