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Trying To Rev Things Up In The Motor City

by Kyle Ratke

Web Editor

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Notable Players Acquired: G Avery Bradley (trade), G Luke Kennard (draft), F Anthony Tolliver

Notable Players Lost: SF Marcus Morris (trade), G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (free agency)

Recapping 2016-17

The Pistons finished last season with a 37-45 record, four games back from a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Much of the team’s struggles revolved around an early-season injury to Reggie Jackson. The team didn’t get back the chemistry it had the season before with Jackson and Andre Drummond, something they hope they can get back in 2017-18.

To surprise nobody, the Pistons finished seventh in opposing points per game at 102.5, led by coach Stan Van Gundy's defense.

Tobias Harris led Detroit with 16.1 points per game. Drummond averaged 13.6 and 13.8 rebounds per game, while Jackson added 14.5 points and 5.2 assists in 52 contests.

If Detroit had made the playoffs, it would have been the first time sine 2008-09 the team had made back-to-back playoff appearances. In 2015-16, the team finished 44-38 and fell in the first round of the playoffs to the future champion Cavaliers.

The Big Question

With Caldwell-Pope gone, what kind of effect can Bradley have with the team? Bradley should fit right in defensively. He’s an absolute stud on that end of the court, but don’t sleep on his offense. He averaged a career-high 16.4 points per game last season while shooting 39 percent from deep. With Bradley on the perimeter and Drummond protecting the rim, Van Gundy has two very solid pieces to build his defense around.

The Pistons would also welcome a breakthrough season from third-year player Stanley Johnson. Things haven’t clicked quite yet for the former lottery pick.

Timberwolves Connections

Tolliver, who the Pistons signed this offseason, played for the Wolves from 2010-2012. In 116 games with the Wolves, Tolliver averaged 6.3 point and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.

Ratke’s Projection

We’ve said this with prior previews, but with the Pistons being right in the thick of things to get an eighth seed for the majority of last season, it’d be a surprise if they didn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18. The East took a hit with the Bulls (eight seed in 2016-17) losing Jimmy Butler, the Pacers (seven seed) losing Paul George and the Hawks (five seed) losing Paul Millsap. Detroit has the talent to grab one of those spots.

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