Detroit Pistons year in review: 2016

Dec 26, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) is announced before the game against the Boston Celtics at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) is announced before the game against the Boston Celtics at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
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As we close the calendar and turn to 2017, it’s a good time to look back on 2016. What a year it was for the Detroit Pistons.

Following the blueprint from last year’s PistonPowered’s “year in review: 2015,” by Dan Feldman, I’ll be taking a look into my crystal ball to see what the future holds for the Detroit Pistons in 2016.

  • Jan 2: The Pistons kicked off the new year with a surprising win at Bakers Life Fieldhouse over the Indiana Pacers.
  • Jan 4: The Pistons made it two straight with a win over the Orlando Magic thanks to 30 points and 20 rebounds from Andre Drummond.
  • Jan 6: Isaiah Thomas had his way with anyone and everyone who tried to guard him, but the Pistons hammered out a win behind an off-balanced Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three at the buzzer.
  • Jan 9: The Brooklyn Nets got a 20 point lead midway through the second quarter at the Palace, only to see their lead evaporate thanks to a barrage of wide-open Anthony Tolliver threes. Brandon Jennings dished 12 assists, while Reggie Jackson scored 30 points.
  • Jan 12: The Pistons’ felt great heading into this one, riding a five game winning streak dating back to 2015. They used that momentum to lose by 30 to San Antonio, thanks to the bulldozer Greg Popovich brought to take down Stan Van Gundy’s wall.
  • Jan 14: Matt Barnes and Andre Drummond took turns nailing half court shots at the end of each quarter leading to an intense showdown in the fourth. Unfortunately, Drummond was forced to sit the end of the fourth quarter due to poor free throw shooting, giving Matt Barnes the last laugh.
  • Jan 16: Golden State jumped out to a 15 point lead going into halftime. Stan Van Gundy delivered a brilliant pep-talk and his team rallied to make it close. The Pistons would go on to lose by a buzzer-beating three by Steph Curry– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was draped all over him.
  • Jan 18: Pistons/Bulls went into six overtimes. Reggie Jackson had a chance to finish the game with a last possession of each overtime, but instead he put Chicago away with 20 points in the final period. After the game Jackson admitted that he was padding his stats.
  • Jan 20-Feb 10: The Pistons went 8-5, behind hot and cold streaks getting to the all-star break at 30-24. That was good enough for a five way tie for second place.
  • Feb 12-14: Stanley Johnson made the Rising Stars Challenge. Andre Drummond became the first Piston to make the all-star team since Allen Iverson in 2009. Reggie Jackson got snubbed as the fans voted in Kyrie Irving, destroying any chances he had of getting in.
  • Feb 18: The trade deadline passed, and Brandon Jennings remained a Piston. Jennings–who was averaging 11 points and five assists– told Van Gundy that he wanted to be a Piston long-term, and was happy with being a sixth man.
  • March 29: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 50 points in the Reggie Jackson grudge match at the Palace. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson match their output and the Pistons won as a surging Brandon Jennings proved to be the difference this time around. After the game Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook continued to look puzzled when asked about some guy named…Reggie Jackson(?).
  • April 2: This time the Bulls took care of the Pistons–no overtime required.
  • Since the all-star break: Since the all-star break, the Pistons made went 15-12, good enough for a 45-36 record and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Seeds 2-7 were separated by either one game or tie-breakers.
  • Eastern Conference Playoffs, round one: The Pistons played well, but ultimately lost to the Atlanta Hawks 4-3. Andre Drummond’s poor free throw shooting proved to be the difference. Although the Pistons finally made the playoffs, the fanbase had a mild sense of letdown. With the way the bench was playing–behind stellar play from Brandon Jennings who was averaging 16 points and seven assists since the all-star break–it looked like the Pistons could have made a run.
  • June 23: Stan Van Gundy git the sense that Brandon Jennings’ stellar finish was luring him to test the free agency waters, despite what he previously told by Jennings. The Pistons’ drafted Melo Trimble out of Maryland to replace him with the 18 overall pick.
  • Free agency: Brandon Jennings decided that he ultimately wanted to be a starter and jumped at the ridiculous offer the New York Knicks throw at him. The Pistons use the extra money to pry Harrison Barnes away from the Golden State Warriors. They then signed Andre Drummond to a max contract shortly after.
  • October 28-December 31: The combination of Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Harrison Barnes, Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope proved to be one of the deadliest starting lineups in the NBA. Despite losing Brandon Jennings, the Pistons bench improved. Rookie point guard Melo Trimble was a steal, and Stanley Johnson took a giant leap forward. Ersan Ilyasova Anthony Tolliver proved to be the perfect players to space the floor for Johnson and Trimble to create offense. The Pistons head into 2017 as legit contenders in the East. Will 2017 be their year?