This off-season has brought some changes and shifts in strategy for the Detroit Pistons. They acquired Stuckey, Afflalo, and Mejia in the draft also naming Michael Curry as the assistant head coach. The resigning of Billups and Johnson was more than necessary and crucial for the team to remain in contention of anything let alone the finals. Bringing the center Cheick Samb and guard Jarvis Hayes to the team is going to allow more diversity on the court.
Last year the Pistons did not advance to the finals because of the lack of depth but remained content because they knew they were and probably still are the best team in the East. They have obtained some young talent that will support Prince, Hamilton, and Billups. Allowing them to rest and not to play 90% of the time for the entire year. They also are getting better defensively with the additions of the new talent. Wallace and Maxiell both have gotten into better shape and should be much quicker on the boards and in the defensive rotation. Considering these players are not at all washed up I see them performing better than they did last year as a team and maybe even going all the way this year. The Pistons so far have a decent record in the off-season and by this point the fans paying attention and understanding achievements in this years draft. They know about Maxiell’s dazzling Summer League performance, and about the commotion that Amir Johnson has been making since the season ended.
Most Importantly the Detroit fans seem confident that the draftees Dumar has aligned make it possible for them to join forces with Maxiell and Johnson to alter the Pistons’ court chemistry just enough resulting in better basketball and hopefully a further placement in the playoffs. The fans are happy and that is one thing but it is important that they know that the players definitely feel the same way about the decisions Dumars and his staff have drawn up and put into motion. All-Star guards Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton both think that Dumars is doing the right thing and making the right moves to alter the core of a Pistons team even thought they have made appearances in five straight conference finals. They’re pleased not only because it keeps them together as a team but also because it speaks of the confidence Dumars has in the teams veteran players. Dumars has expressed this summer the need to put confidence in the younger players and give them a role with more responsibility. In fact, Dumars has had many conversations over the off-season with all of the teams stars – Chauncey Billups, T. Prince, R. Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Antonio McDyess – and nothing but positive feedback has been received about his ideas and visions for the season at hand. Everybody has come to an agreement that Jason Maxiell is going to be the most important bench player this year giving the team even more potential than last year. Once Rodney Stuckey adopts to the shorter shot clock and the pace of the NBA the team is more than likely to succeed. It is going to be nice to see what the Pistons can do this year against their rivals including the Bull’s and Pacers.
The off-season games are coming to an end and tickets at “The Palace” are going to become harder to get your hands on. The executive office has come up with an idea called, “Hotcakes and Hoops”. The Pistons have hosted six Hotcakes and Hoops events so far with an average between thirty and forty guests. The team assigns a designated sales representative to each guest as they eat breakfast, enjoy the pleasantries and talk basketball. It doesn’t stop here, the deciding ticket buyers get a chance to hear a Pistons executive speak and answer any relevant questions. The whole idea behind these events is to give the undecided season ticket buyers a chance to see their seats up close and personal before actually purchasing the tickets. The privileged guests also are allowed a tour of the players locker room by the end of the day.
The effects of the front office, the coaching staff and the returning players accepting and showing confidence in the new and young bench should be a sign of things to come. It should also make the veteran starters a more efficient by keeping them fresher and more aware. In the last playoff stretch, the Pistons’ key players have been simply exhausted being forced to play the majority of the game. The idea this year is to keep everybody healthy and bring the team into the post season performing to their desired potential; ready and able to play their best basketball. Worst case scenario the team remains a play off contender so all things seem to be beyond par and looking good in Detroit.