The most important development for the Detroit Pistons this season

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 12: Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 12: Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons season has been riddled with injury and disappointment for the fans, but hope has been found in an unexpected place.

There’s a constant sense of lingering disappointment for fans of the Detroit Pistons this season. Seemingly nothing has gone right, and everything that could go wrong, has.

Whether it’s Blake Griffin undergoing season ending surgery, Luke Kennard missing two months with bilateral knee tendinitis, Reggie Jackson missing over three months, or the Pistons finally trading away Andre Drummond. There’s always been another bump on the horizon.

Fans have reiterated this same frustration all season long, and we’ve hammered it home plenty of times.

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The assortment of injuries that Detroit has suffered has led to a number of players being forced into more significant roles. Sekou Doumbouya, Svi Mykhailiuk, and even Bruce Brown having to spend more time at point guard.

They’ve all had moments where they show their true potential.

However, this is where the Pistons’ most significant development of the season comes in. By trading away Drummond at the February 6th deadline, it opened up more freedom for Christian Wood and Thon Maker at the center position.

They’ve begun to play crucial minutes for Detroit in the four games played after Drummond’s exit.

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Wood has been averaging 20.0 points per game, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists on 53.7% shooting including 42.1% from three-point range.

Maker hasn’t seen the same success across the board the way Wood has, but he’s still been producing and playing some of his best basketball since becoming a Piston.

Since the Drummond trade, Maker has averaged 14.0 points per game and 6.0 rebounds on 58.3% shooting. His first half performances have been significantly better than in the second half, where his numbers have been dipping.

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Despite the Pistons being 0-4 since Wood and Maker have fallen into their new roles, the significance of their performances cannot be overstated.

The losses have been due to the Pistons lack of shot creators and inability to defend. It hasn’t fallen on the shoulders of the new frontcourt.

They’ve been playing so well, that the duo has been given a new nickname. Fans refer to the tandem as the “Thin Towers”.

The reason this has been so substantial is because it could provide Detroit with a blueprint for their rebuild. If Maker and Wood are going to continue to play well, it’ll allow the Pistons to include them in their contingency plan rather than having to look elsewhere for their next big men.

Maker will be a restricted free agent this summer, so if Detroit wishes to re-sign him, they’ll have more leverage than any other team to do so.

Wood on the other hand is unrestricted. There will likely be far more teams monitoring his situation, which could end poorly for the Pistons. However, the front office and Wood himself have made it clear that they’re both happy with one another.

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Detroit is the first franchise to give him the chance he deserves, and if he were to re-sign, he would undoubtedly see more minutes here than anywhere else.

The elevated play of these two gives the Pistons more flexibility on offense. While admittedly they both carry their fair share of flaws, we’ve seen significant improvement from both of them as the season moves along.

Wood’s tenacity on the boards has been as good as it’s been all year, and Maker’s increased shot blocking abilities have gone off the charts.

Whether or not their success will continue through the remainder of the season remains to be seen, but if it does, the Pistons are in good shape with their big men moving forward.

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The rebuild will have already made significant progress, and Detroit could very well be back in the mix within a few years.