Detroit Pistons: What if Brandon Jennings never tore his Achilles?

Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons talks to Brandon Jennings (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons talks to Brandon Jennings (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The seasons from 2010 to 2020 are not years that Detroit Pistons fans care to remember. With two playoff appearances, both ending in sweeps, there isn’t much positivity to take out of the decade. But for the few that happened to watch during those times, there was a certain year, not even one of the playoff years, that some might argue had the best and most watchable Pistons basketball of the decade. This season was the very up and down 2014-15 season.

Starting the year 5-23 under new head coach and president of basketball operations, Stan Van Gundy, the team struggled to find any consistency on the court, and with the logjam they had up front, it’s not hard to see why. Trotting out a starting lineup headlined by three big men that can’t shoot the ball was an interesting strategy that clearly was not working out. Most pointed blame at Josh Smith, whom the Pistons gave a hefty contract to years prior.

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Detroit called every team in the league but not one wanted to take Smith in a trade. With the team desperate for change and new life, they waived and stretched Josh Smith and his stretched contract could be seen on the cap sheet for many years after.

The Josh Smith era was over, and so also began a beautiful stretch of basketball. For a team that started out the year so terribly, could waiving one player really change that much? Apparently, the answer is yes because the Pistons would go on to win seven games in a row and 10 of their next 11 directly after waiving Smith.

Detroit Pistons: Brandon Jennings was a spark in Detroit

The player that mostly headlined these wins was none other than starting point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings was acquired by the Pistons in a deal that involved Brandon Knight and a young guard named Khris Middleton who not many thought much of at the time. Jennings was seen as a bit of a wildcard on the court. Some nights he could be the best player on the floor and other nights he might shoot you out of a game. The latter could not be further from the truth in this stretch of games and his season after this.