Can the Pistons surprise?
The Over/Under odds for the Eastern Conference came out and they look like this:
This seems…disrespectful. Right?
After all, Andre Drummond is arguably the best rebounder in the game, has the roll gravity of a black hole, and improved as a passer.
The Detroit Pistons also added Blake Griffin last year, who will benefit from spending more time around his new teammates. What’s more, Reggie Jackson will return to full health.
The Pistons also have some intriguing young talent. I was a big fan of them adding Khyri Thomas in the draft as well as Bruce Brown Jr. New coach Dwane Casey will take his Coach of the Year talents to Detroit too. So, what are the three main reasons I will hammer the over for the Pistons?
1. Personnel Development
What’s scarier than Andre Drummond catching a lob and dunking on you? Seeing Andre Drummond drain corner threes. According to Marcel Mutoni of Slam Magazine, Drummond has been,
“adding the three-point shot to his offensive arsenal. The big fella says he’s been splashing 200 corner threes every day this summer.”
Yikes. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Will Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson add noticeable difference to their games? At this stage of their careers, probably not. But, expect someone like Luke Kennard to make the sophomore jump and become a significantly more consistent contributor. Reggie Bullock will look to add to his breakout year as well.
And hey, maybe Stanley Johnson plays the best ball of his career during his first contract year.
2. Dwane Casey
This was such a great hire by the Detroit Pistons. It seems as though Casey took all of the blame for not being able to get beyond LeBron and the Cavs during the postseason. Well, maybe DeMar DeRozan took some of the heat as well.
Regardless, Casey is one of the top coaches in the League. Last season the Raptors won 59 games and finished first in the Eastern Conference. They did so because Casey modernized their offense and showed an ability to adjust his coaching philosophy. Expect more of the same in Detroit.
Hiring Casey does not mean that the Pistons will become a serious playoff threat. Do not forget that Tyronn Lue outcoached Casey in the playoffs. But, Casey will adapt to the talent he has and turn things around in Detroit. Perhaps they still land as an 8 seed, but the Pistons should surpass their projected 37.5 win mark.
3. Who else gets the wins?
Last year, Detroit went 11-14 when playing with Blake Griffin. This winning percentage translates to them winning 36 games in the regular season. Perhaps this is where Vegas is getting their number from.
Still, the Eastern Conference is not brimming with talent when compared to the West. Last season, Detroit lost 3 games to the Cavs, another 2 out 3 games to both Charlotte and Orlando, and even split their their season series with Sacramento.
These are winnable games. With an improved roster and successful head coach, Detroit should approach the 40 win mark, and do so easily.