Why the Detroit Pistons will be competitive in the East

DETROIT, MI - MAY 16: Andre Drummond
DETROIT, MI - MAY 16: Andre Drummond /

The Detroit Pistons will be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference and they will win their first playoff series since 2008.

The Detroit Pistons have been mediocre to put it lightly since 2009. Only entering the playoffs once in 2015-2016 since their last taste of playoff waters in 2008. It is time for Detroit to resurface as a contending franchise. And that will start this season.

Last season, Andre Drummond showed little to no improvement in his game. He continued to struggle with free throws, but still lead the league in rebounds per game. Detroit is going to need much more out of the former All-Star.

Entering the season at 24 years old, Drummond is poised for a breakout. He has been tearing it up in hist first stint playing in the Drew League, flashing his new and improved mid-range game. Drummond is also knocking down the occasional three pointer, something no Piston fan thought possible.

Drummond also seems to have slimmed down in size, looking more athletic and agile while on the court.

This season is the last chance for Andre Drummond and the rest of the team for that matter. If they are not successful, Stan Van Gundy will have no choice but to blow it up and start the rebuild process once again. Something fans have seen enough of. It is time for Detroit to be watchable, and that time is now.

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Detroit has lost two starters this off-season. One of which being Marcus Morris. But, the Pistons received something special in return: Avery Bradley. The deal will be a bust, though, if Bradley decides to not resign after this season.

Bradly will join this team, arguably becoming the best player on the roster. With his prolific shooting and astounding defense, he is the best possible guard to add to the Pistons. While missing out on an All-Defensive spot this year, he has been named to the All-Defensive First Team before. Bradley also has high hopes for himself and Detroit this season.

If Avery Bradley can make due on his goals, Detroit will be positioned to compete in the weakened Eastern Conference.

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Bradley has also publicly stated that he is most excited to play with Reggie Jackson. Bradley also said that Jackson is very much respected around the league.

Reggie Jackson has been nothing short of a complete mess since signing a max deal with Detroit. Frequent injuries and sub-par performances do not add up to a max contract.

The way Reggie played in his contract year is another story. If what he says is true, “feeling good as new”, Jackson could return to his prior state. But, Derrick Rose is among the many guards in the league that have said they are feeling good as new, only to continue struggling.

Reggie Jackson did not go through anything like what Rose faced, but it is still impossible to tell if Jackson will ever return to his former self. If he does, look out.

Detroit also recently renounced their rights to former starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whom recently signed a one year, 18 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Related Story: Saying goodbye to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

While Caldwell-Pope was a much respected and loved member of the Detroit Pistons, this is a positive step in the right direction. Possibly signing Avery Bradley to a max deal rather than forking over the cash for Caldwell-Pope makes more sense. Bradley is more deserving of a max deal, at least at this moment in time. Detroit made the right decision.

Letting go of Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also opens the door for Stanley Johnson. Johnson could possibly sneak his way into the starting lineup after an abysmal second season.

There is two main possible starting lineups floating around the internet.

The first lineup inserts Tobias Harris at the four slot. It will match up well with other small-ball lineups, but Harris is much better served at the three. Having Harris at the four, though, is a much better option than Jon Leuer.

Whichever lineup Stan Van Gundy chooses, the Pistons are still in good shape. With Eastern stars bolting to the Western Conference, the East is wide open for the taking.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics are the clear best in the East. Other than them, anything is possible. The Philadelphia 76ers are looking to hit the playoffs for the first time in ages, as well as the Brooklyn Nets are looking more like an actual NBA team.

If Detroit can avoid the Celtics and the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, whose to say they cannot win a playoff series. The Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards are the biggest threat to Detroit, but the Pistons can win a series against them.

Next: What should the starting lineup be?

What are your expectations for the Detroit Pistons upcoming season? Are Avery Bradley’s bold predictions feasible?