Jose Calderon could be part of something special with the Detroit Pistons. Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com
The Detroit Pistons are unlikely to reach the postseason this year. While it’s not quite impossible, they are seven games behind the Milwaukee Bucks and they would have to reel of a stunning amount of the wins the rest of the way to qualify.
That they have lost rookie sensation Andre Drummond to a back injury makes this Herculean task all the more difficult. Keeping that in mind, the Pistons’ playoff drought will most likely reach four seasons this year.
Luckily, there is still plenty for Detroit basketball fans to be joyful about these days. The Pistons have put together a solid young core and should be contending sooner than later. The aforementioned Drummond is arguably the most enticing prospect on the Pistons roster right now. In something of a sixth-man role, Drummond has illustrated both mind-boggling athleticism as well as excellent efficiency.
Imagine if Tyson Chandler was the player he is now when he was 19 and you have an idea of how good Drummond is. In the future, he’ll likely enter the starting lineup and receive more minutes. While this may hurt his efficiency, Drummond will dominate in the pick-and-roll and become the centerpiece of the Pistons’ offense.
When the time comes to make Drummond a starter, he’ll likely be playing alongside Greg Monroe in the Pistons’ frontcourt. This season, Monroe has been effective as a center, but he’s capable of playing the 4 and the 5. When Drummond finally becomes a starter, Monroe will probably move to the power forward spot, where he can still be productive.
Monroe might be the best young player in the league that no one ever talks about. He’s been stuck on some losing teams and he doesn’t have an extremely noteworthy personality, but he’s a talented, hard-working young player who deserves some recognition. Together with Drummond, Monroe will be part of one of the most fearsome frontcourts in the league.
The Pistons have some talented young guards as well. While second-year man Brandon Knight struggled to pick up assists when he was the starting point guard, he is a fast, elusive young player who is capable of playing the 1 and the 2. The acquisition of Jose Calderon was an excellent move for the Pistons, one that thoroughly improved their backcourt. Calderon will be a free agent at the end of this season, but the smartest thing the Pistons could do is re-sign him. He’s an excellent passer and shooter and while his numbers don’t jump out at you, he’s always been an effective ball distributor. The prospect of Calderon running the show with Drummond and Monroe excelling on the pick-and-roll is certainly enticing. When this team reaches their full potential, they are going to be really fun to watch.
The good news doesn’t end there, however. Kyle Singler hasn’t gotten much press, but he’s been one of the better rookies in the league this season. Singler isn’t flashy and he has a relatively low usage rate, but he’s efficient on offense, and if a quality shot is created for him, he’ll likely make it. Singler will never be a player who gets much hype, but he’s a useful cog made more useful by his ability to play the 2 and the 3. It would be surprising if Singler ever became an All-Star, but he’s solid enough to quietly put together a quality NBA career.
The Pistons haven’t arrived yet, but the pieces are in place. If the team is smart enough to bring back Calderon, and Drummond can avoid further injury trouble, this could be a stunningly scary team as early as next season. They have the personnel, now all they have to do is put it together.