Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. It’s obviously been a rough season for both the Pistons and their fans, but what has been the biggest positive to come out of the 2013-14 season?
Dan Feldman: Andre Drummond producing near All-Star levels. Drummond appeared to be on this track as a rookie, but sometimes, players can’t maintain their production in larger minutes. Drummond did, and that gives the Pistons legitimate hope they have a superstar in the making.
Brady Fredericksen: Drummond doing Drummond things. It gives you hope, which fans haven’t had much of over the past five years. That’s something, right?
Tim Thielke: We can’t know yet because the most likely answer is whoever the Pistons take in the first round. However, that pick could yet be lost or a total bust.
2. Are there any hidden positives that may not make themselves known until later on?
Dan Feldman: Brandon Jennings‘ development as a passer. If you’ve been reading carefully lately, I often refers to Joe Dumars‘ major free agent busts as only Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Josh Smith. I’m not ready to lump in Jennings. A three-year, $24 million contract just isn’t that bad for a starting-caliber point guard, which Jennings is, even if he’s on the low end of the range. This season, Jennings averaged more assists than ever and did so with a career-best assist-to-turnover ratio. His shot selection and shooting were out of whack, but maybe, just maybe, he can put it all together a little better next season.
Brady Fredericksen: They didn’t play themselves out of the lottery’s top eight. There couldn’t have been a worse way for this dumpster-fire season to end than if the Pistons did enough to play themselves into that true danger zone. It’s well known that the Pistons tend to put together meaningless winning streaks to end the year, and luckily they bucked the trend this year. Now, they still aren’t guaranteed to keep the pick, but seriously, if they’d played themselves out of the top eight it’d rank near the top of Detroit’s most futile sports moments — somewhere behind the 2003 Tigers and the 2008 Lions.
Tim Thielke: Sure, Smith/Monroe/Drummond could develop a surprising amount of chemistry, become a devastating frontcourt, and attribute it to working through the kinks this year. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
3. You’re drawing for straws here, I know, but what the best moment of the year?
Dan Feldman: Assuming we’re talking about moments during only the regular season and not the extended season, which would include the lottery: Pistons firing Maurice Cheeks. More than anything, that gave me faith the franchise would move quickly to fix its mistakes. The Pistons have been going nowhere slowly for years. Cheeks’ firing was a refreshing sign they’re going… well, maybe still nowhere, but at least they’re doing it more quickly.
Brady Fredericksen: December 7, 2013. That was the last time the Pistons were .500, and they actually were fun and exciting and everything looked so promising — even though they were a blah 10-10. They’d just pounded the Bulls and beaten the Heat on the road, and it really felt like the team was on the way up. Of course, everything came crashing down soon after, but we’ll always have December 7th.
Tim Thielke: Probably when the Pistons beat the Spurs in John Loyer’s debut. That game produced a brief moment of hope that this team might actually be good with the right coach. Granted, that’s still true, but ti didn’t take long to discover Loyer’s not the right coach.