The Detroit Pistons are another team that could be a surprise in 2023-24. It’s going to be an important season, but not in the way that you think. They’re not going to be immediate contenders. They need to take a step forward in the progression of their rebuild. The Pistons’ have a young talented core that needs to turn flashes of brilliance into success.
The 2022-23 season saw the Pistons finish with a league-worst 17-65 record. That wasn’t the expectation at the beginning of the season a year ago, but the Pistons were doomed when Cade Cunningham decided to undergo season-ending ankle surgery. They embraced the tank and struggled mightily in the absence of their point guard. The struggles ended up turning into a positive as they were able to focus on their young talent. Rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren received a lot of minutes, as did third-year guard Killian Hayes. In the absence of Cunningham, Bojan Bogdanovic was a focal point of the Pistons’ offense with a career-high 21.6 points.
The Pistons didn’t make any groundbreaking moves in the offseason. The biggest moves didn’t involve the roster on the court. Former coach Dwane Casey had stepped down from coaching, which meant changes were coming.
Once Casey moved into a front-office role, the Pistons started their offseason and started the search for a new head coach. With the team nearing the tail end of its rebuild, it was to bring in a playoff-caliber coach. Once Williams and Phoenix parted ways, he became the perfect candidate. The Pistons threw all the money they could his way and he accepted.
Rather than trading the No. 5 overall pick, the Pistons opted to keep it and draft Ausar Thompson. Though he still needs some development, especially in with his shot and three-point game. Until he develops in that category… Thompson will bring elite athleticism, great defense and strong basketball IQ to Detroit.
Adding a veteran player like Joe Harris in 2023-24 could be valuable in many ways for the Detroit Pistons. He could play some valuable minutes while also serving as a player-coach. The Pistons got Harris in a trade with the Nets.
The Pistons didn’t really have any big key losses this offseason. All the guys that left have been role players and depth. They filled that in pretty quickly with more rotation players.
Starters: Cunningham, Ivey, Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Duren
If everyone in this lineup can stay healthy… it should be a good season. You could throw Thompson into the starting rotation but with him still needing to develop his outside shot coming off the bench may be best.
This looks like a good bench group on paper. There are some veterans but it’s mostly a young group with some experience.
The 2023-24 campaign will be all about progression for the Detroit Pistons. It won’t be so much about how many games they win or lose but more so about how their young players look. If the young talent lives up to the lofty expectations, Detroit should see an increase in their win production. I would expect them to eclipse 30 wins if everything goes according to plan.
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