Zach Lowe, formerly of Sports Illustrated and now writing for Grantland, separates all of the NBA teams into tiers heading into the season in his latest. The Pistons — for those who say the national media ignores them — actually made Lowe’s list of teams competing for the eighth seed in the East:
Don’t laugh, or at least laugh quietly. Detroit played .500 ball after a 4-20 start last season, and improved on both sides of the floor as the year went on. Brandon Knight will be better, and the fact that he shot 38 percent from deep as a rookie is very promising. Greg Monroe is already a star on offense, and Rodney Stuckey can work just fine as second or third option on a .500-plus team. Lawrence Frank can coach, and someone among their weird forward types should exceed expectations.
It probably still won’t be enough. There is no veteran backup for Stuckey, and defense is going to be an issue until someone emerges as a viable partner for Monroe. Also: Most of those weird forward types — Corey Maggette, Tayshaun Prince, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye, and the solid Jonas Jerebko — haven’t been very good of late.
Great description of those guys — the ‘weird forwards.’ I think it has potential to stick. Lowe also listed Washington, Toronto and Milwaukee in that group of teams hoping to contend for that eight seed this season.