NBA Power Rankings #20: Detroit Pistons
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The Pistons have been one of those teams that have been stuck in the middle of the NBA for quite sometime, which is never where you want to be. This year, they may finally be able to get into the playoffs and actually win a game, or even a series. Detroit is coming off of a 39-43 season that had them just missing the playoffs as the ninth best team in the East. After acquiring Blake Griffin from the Clippers last season, this will be the first full season of Griffin in a Pistons uniform, which could be enough to slide them into the playoffs.
The front court combination of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond should be enough to give the Pistons a .500 or above season, if healthy. Drummond has done very well in his career staying available, but Griffin has seen some problems with this health over the past few seasons. If both these players can play upwards of 65 games, they should be in good shape for competing in the Eastern Conference.
The play doesn't stop with those two however, the guards and wings need to step up if they want to be a serious threat. Having two players who can combine for 35 points and 18 rebounds is nice, but the NBA requires shooting and production from the outside if you want to be really successful. Reggie Jackson is coming off of a down season in which he played only 45 games and averaged 14.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 5.3 APG. He's another player that they need to stay on the court. This isn't a very deep team, and they're ranked as just the twentieth best team in the NBA for a reason. They need their top guys (Griffin, Drummond, and Jackson) to carry this team if they want to have a chance at seeing an improvement in the win column.
This is a team that is looking to win now and don't have much flexibility going forward if things go south. Griffin is locked up on a Super-Max contract until the summer of 2022 (player option worth thirty-nine million dollars), Drummond has a twenty-eight million dollar player option in the summer of 2021, and Reggie Jackson is owed $36 million over this season and next. They need to do their best to get at least one playoff birth with this core, and the ability to stay healthy this season will be the make-or-break factor.