There is a lot of youth and room for development with the Detroit Pistons, but which starter will take the biggest leap for the team next season?
The Detroit Pistons are a fairly young team, in fact one of the youngest in the NBA as no one on their roster is currently 30 yet. Lets take a look at each individual starter.
Reggie Jackson: Having now a full season of starting at point guard, he should come back next year smarter and even better. But how much better can he really get? A bump or two in assists? Maybe two more points per game? A little better defense? On this team i don’t see where Reggie can really significantly improve on
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Each year KCP continues to improve aspects, as last year he developed much better ball handling and even better defense. However, his three-point percentage took a dip as he shot 30 percent from behind the arc and 42 percent shooting from the field isn’t ideal either. Improving those two aspects and his consistency could certainly help his growth.
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Marcus Morris: No one really knew what we would get out of Marcus Morris this time last year, but he was better than expected. Before Tobias Harris came to Detroit, Morris was heavily relied as a post presence, something the Pistons lacked. He was also called upon guarding the opposition’s best forward and did a marvelous job at that. In Stan Van Gundy’s system the only thing I can really see Morris improving on is consistency. He does his job well and just has to continue to do that for more improvement.
Tobias Harris: Tobias Harris is a key weapon in SVG’s lineup. His offensive versatility is second to none. He can play either forward spot. When guarded by small forwards he can use his strength and bully his way to the basket. When guarded by power forwards he can use his quickness and blow past them to the basket. Also, he can knock down the three ball when called upon. Tobais is still fairly young at 24 years old, and can really explode with his skill set.
Andre Drummond: Andre (in my opinion) did not get the credit he deserved last year. He was often slaughtered by some for his terrible free throw shooting. But it made people overlook how greatly he improved over the season. He developed a reliable post hook, he became and even better offensive rebounder, he showed strides when motivated to be an elite rim protector. But yet, there is still much room to improve. He can get better at post moves, he needs to stay consistent as a rim protector, and of course improve the free-throw shooting.
Stanley Johnson: This is admittedly unlikely but in case Stanley Johnson finds a way starting next season I decided to take a look at him as well. Bear in mind, I love Stanley Johnson. He is a straight dog, one of the best competitors in the league (as Stan Van Gundy stated), and his desire to be great is second to none. However, he can do things that I question. He often can settle for bad shots, or try to force the issue when it just isn’t there. However, that is normal and expected from a rookie. With an improved bench and not being forced to carry the workload, Stanley might clam down and forced to play a more relaxed and comfortable game, which he showed he can do throughout the year. He can improve on almost all aspects of the game and with his drive, I am almost certain we will see that improvement with him.
However, if I had to select one Piston who I believe will break out the best next year.. it would have to be Kentavious Caldwell-pope. It could easily be Andre Drummond or Stanley Johnson as both of those guys have a lot to improve, but they seem like it will be a process and not something that happens overnight, which is OK. But, there are several reasons in which I believe KCP will breakout the most for the pistons next year.
1. It is a contract year for him. He knows how much this year means for him and how much teams will invest on him.
2. The league fits his style of play perfectly. At his position, with his size, length, athleticism, defensive instincts, and three-point shooting potential he has “breakout” written all over him. With many point guards now guarding the lesser of the two guards. KCP will have mismatches on him much of the 82 game season. He has shown he can knock down the 3 point shot going back to his college days, and two seasons ago when he shot 34 percent from three, with his improved ball handling, and lock-down defense, he could breakout into not only a shooter, but a scorer, and really help the likes of Reggie Jackson when he gets fatigued.
3. He plays the most minutes, and has a motor like no other: KCP plays the most minutes for the Pistons, thus allowing more opportunities to play better and score. Also, his motor leaves you speechless at times. He constantly guards the best opposition perimeter player night in and night out, chasing them around screens, running around the court, and he still plays the most minutes. His drive will only help him on the offensive end, as we all know what he is capable of at the defensive end.
Combining his defense with consistency and production on the offensive side, with his motor, would be a scary sight for opposing teams. Be prepared Pistons fans.. we could be in store for a huge breakout campaign from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.