Why does everyone think the Pistons are due for a drop-off next season?
Detroit tied Golden State for the lead in Team Turmoil with eight votes.
It’s not clear what Team Turmoil means. But depending on how you define it, picking the Pistons first is either ridiculous or very ridiculous.
Here’s the vague definition ESPN gives for Team Turmoil:
"Team Turmoil — the squad that could encounter quite a few difficulties this season."
Really? Of all the teams in the league, Detroit is tied for most likely to face trouble?
How about Grizzlies, Bobcats, Bucks, Nets, Clippers, Timberwolves and Knicks?
But to be fair, all those teams received at least a vote.
Two that didn’t: Pacers, Kings. I’m pretty confident Detroit will be better than both.
Besides center, the Pistons will be better or the same across the board from last year.
Point guard: Rodney Stuckey is a year older, and hopefully a year better. He improved last year from his rookie season. At worst, he’s the same.
Shooting guard: Richard Hamilton will regain his starting role, and there’s no doubt he’s better than Allen Iverson.
Small forward: Tayshaun Prince is back. No reason to expect much difference.
Power forward: Antonio McDyess played admirably last year. But Charlie Villanueva is also good.
Although he’s not as good defensively, his PER (18.6) was higher than McDyess’s (16.6).
Center: However the minutes shake out between Chris Wilcox, Kwame Brown and Ben Wallace, they won’t be as good as Rasheed Wallace. But Sheed wasn’t that great last year. He looked old and disinterested, so the drop here won’t be too steep.
Bench: Ben Gordon will be a strong contender for sixth man of the year. He’s easily makes the bench better – especially given Richard Hamilton played better as a starter.
Coaching: Michael Curry was terrible. John Kuester will also be in his first year as a head coach. But he spent 13 years as an NBA assistant – 12 more than Curry. Odds are strong Kuester is better than Curry, who set the bar very low.
Team Turmoil came out the same time as Team Turnaround – defined as “the squad that could see vast improvement this season.” So maybe Team Turmoil means the opposite of that.
In that case, the voters are even more misguided.
Not only do I think the Pistons will be better next year, but the voters are picking a team that finished in the bottom half of the league last year. There’s less room to drop.
The Rockets (third) were the only playoff team in the top six. (By the way, if Team Turmoil is the team that will have biggest drop from last year, Houston is the best choice. Without Yao Ming and Ron Artest, there’s just not enough talent).
No matter how you slice it, the Pistons don’t belong on that list – let alone tied for the top.