There has been a wide range of opinions about the makeover of the Detroit Pistons this season. But one thing that has remained consistent is both the lovers and the haters think it will be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
A trainwreck? Maybe, but a glorious trainwreck. A 48-minute dunking clinic? Maybe, but how many games can dunks win you?
Casual and hardcore NBA fans at least want to watch the Pistons again, and after the last couple of years that is practically a victory in itself.
And Grantland (who has a LONG history of Pistons love) has ranked very NBA team based on League Pass watchability and the Pistons came out ranked sixth.
The rankings were a joint product of Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe, who individually scored all 30 teams based on five unique categories.
Here is how Simmons and Lowe sized up Detroit:
Zach: It's going to be fun watching Mo Cheeks work out the Brandon Jennings-Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond core four. Is Joe Dumars right that talent, and passing talent in particular, overcomes spacing issues and positional overlap? I'm optimistic, but part of that optimism is based on Detroit getting quality outside shooting from at least three of the following four guys on the wing: Chauncey Billups, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Singler, and Luigi Datome. This could work, and Drummond alone is worth a lot of League Pass Watchability points.
Bill: However it goes for Detroit, it's going to be fantastic for League Pass purposes. I personally think they're a no. 6 seed in the East, maybe even a no. 5 seed if the Knicks regress ... but I wouldn't be shocked if Drummond's back issues flare up again, Jennings and Josh become embroiled in a Bad Body Language contest, their bench guys don't come through and everything goes south. Can you think of two players who needed new fans more than Jennings and Josh? I'm not even talking about a change of scenery - I'm just talking about new fans. They burned out the old ones. This can work with them. Or maybe I just have a soft spot for a team that's 60 percent left-handed ... we're only two more lefties away from my dream of an all-lefty starting five, Zach!
Zach: Wait, did Marc Stein hijack this thread? Are we going to start dropping Man City references here?
Bill: I hate that Marc Stein hoards the lefty-loving corner from everyone else.
Zach: It's always nice when a team with a good League Pass product gets good League Pass players. Detroit has all the essentials - very good announcing crew, nice court, nice jerseys, great team name. Let the midrange bricks fly!
Ouch. Got a little rough at the end there, Zach. Lowe actually had Detroit ranked No. 11 on his ballot while Simmons pegged the Pistons as his No. 3. The teams to finish ahead of Detroit were the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors. Not bad company to be in at all.
Of course, around these parts Detroit is No. 1 with a bullet, but thinking about who rounds out the top five is an interesting little thought experiment for a Friday.
Personally, I'm not much of a fan of Miami's play style and I've seen plenty of it ever since the arrival of the Big Three. And I love watching Chris Paul but am not nearly as enamored by Lob City.
I think I would go (leaving Detroit out of the equation): Golden State is definitely No. 1. When they get going offensively no team is more electric. No. 2 would be Chicago because they combine extremely skilled offensive players (especially Rose) with suffocating, smart team defense. Houston is my No. 3 as much as I'm sick of the Dwight Howard drama. I'm just too intrigued by the players and how it all might click into place this season. New Orleans is my fourth-ranked team because as much as I love Drummond, what Anthony Davis is doing this offseason is ridiculous. Have to keep tabs on the competition for superstar big man of the future. For No. 5 I am torn between Minnesota, Indiana, Cleveland and Memphis.
I love Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, but then again, as soon as one gets hurt the team becomes unwatchable. So they're out. Indiana has such a great defense, but there offense can be a slog (what fans saw in the playoffs was not the Pacers offense I saw during the regular season). Out. Cleveland is following a team trajectory similar to Detroit, just smarter. Ridiculously talented, but again, once one of their injury-prone players goes down they become a lot less dynamic and interesting. And I have full confidence that Mike Brown will think of a way to sap all the fun out of that offense. Plus, on League Pass you're just as likely to have to suffer through the home broadcast as an away. And no team has a more annoying pair of announcers (not even the Celtics). Out. Out. Out!
So my No. 5 is Memphis. I still like watching Tayshaun Prince, and now that he's on another team all of his annoying tics and habits become funny instead of infuriating. I can't wait for him to throw his hands up in the air when a teammate blows an assignment! Plus, the duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph is ridiculously entertaining. And I enjoy Mike Conley running laps around the development of Rodney Stuckey.
Plus, Tony Allen. Definitely Tony Allen. No. 5!