Detroit Pistons: 3 early-season surprises in 2018-19

(Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have pretty much played up (or down) to expectations this season, but not everything about the team has gone according to script.

With more than one-third of the 2018-19 NBA regular season in the rearview mirror, it would be fair to say that the Detroit Pistons are who we thought they were.

The Pistons are 15-15 going into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, sitting in third place in the Central Division behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers, while holding down seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Hovering around .500 and toeing the line of playoff contention is right about where it seemed most NBA fans and media had the Pistons in their preseason predictions.

Perhaps the best way to describe this team is consistent inconsistency.

Detroit began the season with a four-game win streak, then promptly lost five in a row. The team ended November with a five-game win streak, then started December with a six-game skid. They have beaten the Golden State Warriors and lost to the Brooklyn Nets. They’ve scored more than 120 points in regulation a couple of times, and have been held in the 80s on a few other occasions.

Credit and/or blame for the team’s up-and-down start has naturally fallen on the shoulders of its “Big 3” (or, depending on who you ask, its “Big 2-And-A-Half”) of forward Blake Griffin, center Andre Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson, as well as first-year coach Dwane Casey.

Detroit’s win-loss record, place in the standings, and the individual performances of most of its key players are not too far from what anyone would have guessed when this roster took shape. No one would be surprised to see little change by the end of the season.

However, there are some things about these Pistons that haven’t gone according to script.