2020: The resurgence of the Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons Sekou Doumbouya. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Sekou Doumbouya. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The season may not be going the way that fans of the Detroit Pistons had hoped, but there are still plenty of reasons to feel optimistic.

The Detroit Pistons are 39 games into the 2019-20 season and it is safe to say it has been a whirlwind. The season started with fans being optimistic about a deeper team with more developed young stars (i.e. Luke Kennard, and Bruce Brown). With early injuries to Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson the season took a turn for the worse, and it led to team owner Tom Gores embracing a rebuild or at least a retool.

These are all reasons to remain in the black hole in which Pistons fans have been since Joe Dumars shipped out Mr. Big Shot. However, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to this next decade and why it will prove to be fruitful for the city of Detroit.

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The Glass Is Full of Potential

After Pistons fans enduring years and years of being stuck in NBA mediocre limbo, there is finally enough to look forward to. Although several media outlets and fans criticize the Pistons’ drafting over the last two years, it seems like there is a plan that is slowly bearing fruit.

Dr. Doom

Sekou Doumbouya has been developing in the G-League this season, however, now that Griffin is out indefinitely the coaching staff decided that it is time to give him real NBA minutes. In the last five games, he started all five, and is averaging about 12.0 points per game. Doumbouya is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game in those games while getting two double-doubles.

The Frenchman is showing his versatility and proving to be worth the fifteenth overall pick in last year’s draft. Such raw potential is often compared to Pascal Siakam, which is all the more reason for Pistons fans to get excited about what the future holds for Doumbouya.

Bruce Brown

The next piece of the puzzle that makes up the Detroit silver lining is Brown. He emerged as a defensive stopper in his rookie year last season, while raising questions regarding his offensive repertoire. Jackson has been sidelined for most of the season and Derrick Rose‘s minutes are being managed to avoid serious injury. This led to Brown playing point in most lineups unless it is the closing lineup with Rose.

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Brown is averaging 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game with an effective shooting percentage of 47.6 percent. Once this is compared to last season’s 4.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game then it is evident that Brown has seen a huge development in his game. His numbers are not flashy by any means, however, it can be compared to the trajectory Rajon Rondo took to become the floor general he is.

Livernois Luke

Luke Kennard is in his third year in the league and with the Detroit Pistons. Kennard came into the league as arguably the best shooter in a very deep draft class. There was a lot of criticism regarding his offensive drive and whether or not he can be more than just a good spot-up shooter. His development under Ed Stefanski’s front office has been something to marvel at.

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In 28 games played this season, Kennard started 25 while averaging 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. What is more impressive is him shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc on 6.5 attempts per game. Finally, his field goal percentage stands at 44 percent which is respectable for someone with his usage rate this season. Kennard started out the season incredibly strong until he was sidelined due to knee soreness on December 25th.

He had been showing off his ball-handling abilities and a killer instinct on offense that showed a lot of promise for the future.

The Best of the Rest

In addition to the impressive young talent the Pistons have, there are a few upcoming scenarios that could amount to even better future results. Andre Drummond has been in several trade rumors and with the trade deadline less than a month away, it seems likely that he will get shipped out. Drummond is likely to test free agency this summer, which means that the Pistons cannot get a huge haul for him.

The best value that the front office can ask for is, however, a first-round pick in one of the upcoming drafts. With proper scouting and player development (see above), that first-round pick can prove to be worth it even if it is not a lottery pick.

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Detroit is 3.5 games outside of the playoffs, and also 5.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks who are dead last in the Eastern Conference and the NBA. With the Pistons season getting somewhat out of hand, it is more likely for them to get a valuable lottery pick in this upcoming draft than not.

Yes, the Glass Is Pretty Full

After enduring years and years of mediocrity, two playoff appearances in the 2010s, and no playoff wins since 2008, the Pistons fans finally have something to look forward to and remain optimistic. The young core that the front office is developing seems very promising, while also fitting the Detroit mentality. In addition, Detroit is in a very good position to secure one, if not two, high first-round draft picks. Finally, in case people have forgotten, Griffin is still under contract for two more seasons after this one, which immediately raises the ceiling to a playoff contender (see: last season).

The coaching staff track record shows that they can develop young players into successful contributing players. And the front office is proving that they have what it takes to secure talent even when not presented with the easiest circumstances.

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All of that is enough reason to make the bold claim that the 2020s will finally bring the resurgence of the Detroit Pistons that all Pistons fans have been waiting on for so long.