Will the Detroit Pistons be the most improved team in 2023-24?

Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

According to the annual GM Survey, the Detroit Pistons tied for third place as the team expected to be most improved next season. Oklahoma City came in first with 30 percent of the votes, and the Houston Rockets came in second with 23 percent. Detroit received 10 percent, tying the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic.

Will the Detroit Pistons be the most improved team?

Conspicuously, in my opinion, the San Antonio Spurs did not receive votes despite drafting Victor Wembanyama first overall. Coach Popovich, a clipboard, four Tito Jacksons, and Victor Wembanyama could win more games than the Spurs did last season. They’ll be improved. Most improved? Maybe not, but improved they will be.

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Will the Pistons turn a corner this year? Will Detroit exceed expectations by enjoying greater success than the others who received votes in this category?

Well, obviously, I think so.

Oklahoma City is an up-and-coming team who looked great last year, and I suspect they only improved this offseason. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was voted the third best point guard in the NBA in the same survey. Although OKC’s roster isn’t quite balanced for true contention, they’re solid at every position. They’re incredibly versatile, athletic, and young, which means they play best when they play fast. This hurt them in the post-season, but as they gain experience, they’ll gain poise without losing their speed and athleticism.

OKC will be fun to watch this year.

Ime Udoka, Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and Amen Thompson will help Houston turn a corner. That said, Detroit has a new coach, some new veterans and a Thompson twin too.

Dallas, I don’t see it. Doncic is great, but the earth, like the one basketball on the court at any given time during regulation play, is round. It’s hard to see two ball-dominant guards co-existing, especially when one of them is Kyrie Irving and Dallas did little to improve the roster around them.

The Orlando Magic might be about where OKC was last year. Like the Detroit Pistons, they’re poised to turn a corner, and I look forward to the games between Orlando and Detroit this season.

I expect the Detroit Pistons to be improved, but I think Troy Weaver said it best when he stated the goals for a successful season. The Pistons want to be competing in late March and early April. Every game should be meaningful for this young team, and the play-in should be a possibility down to the last week of the season.

For Detroit, improvement isn’t all about making the playoffs, as they only won 17 games last season, but if they are in contention for the play-in while still developing their young players, they will be the most improved team in the NBA.

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