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Hope, Reality, and More Hope: The Preseason Pistons Power Rankings

The Pistons Power Rankings, taking all things Pistons and rating them accordingly.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

(Previous Ranking in parenthesis. NR = Not Ranked)

1. The Battle of Preseason Hope and Reality (NR)

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

- Andy Dufresne

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Nothing like a Nietzsche quote to bring down your boy, Andy Dufresne. But as a Pistons fan, it's necessary to look at this season with a glass half-full and half-empty attitude.

Half-full: The Pistons looked good in the preseason (find a game-by-game recap here). DBB's Jason Brunskowski thinks it's possible the Pistons could win 50 games.

Half-empty: The East still sucks. There's a shot the Pistons could win 38 games and make the playoffs just to be decimated by the Cavs or Bulls. ESPN picked the Pistons to finish 11th in the east (although it appears they didn't do any research). We still have a big three that is just big, but can't play together.

So tread carefully, Pistons fans. While hope is a good thing, it can make someone go crazy. And check the SB Nation Pistons Preview.

3. Stan Van Gundy (1)

It's a small sample size, but SVG has proven to be the right hire for the Pistons so far. He's the main reason the aforementioned hope is drowning out some realities, and for good reason. DBB's Packey wrote up a great recap of the Pistons' preseason win in Atlanta. The main takeaway: SVG is trying to break old habits, and it appears to be working. He's stressing consistency and effort, his players seem to be buying in.

3. Drummond (2)

We'll take a 9-for-9 effort from Drummond any day. Even though the Pistons lost to the Wizards on Oct. 12, this game showed that the Pistons can play with the elite in the east. And this shot to take the lead from Drummond? Goodness:

4. Spencer Dinwiddie (4)

Has there ever been this much hype around a second-round pick and who played only 16 minutes of preseason ball? While he won us over with his mustache and his pervy AMA, he may be proving that the hype may be warranted. In his first appearance, he proved that he could play. Caron Butler gushed about Dinwiddie, saying, "He can really do it all."

Any updates on that NBA 2K rating?

5. Not Undefeated (NR)

SVG told Sports Illustrated, "I'm expecting to win all 82 [games] but I know that won't happen." He was almost right about the preseason, where the Pistons went 5-2. While an undefeated season would have been nice, it may not have boded well for future success. The most famous undefeated preseason in Detroit sports history came in 2008, when the Lions went 4-0. Remember what happened after that? 0-16.

The two losses in the preseason for this Detroit team aren't a bad thing.

6. We said, "RIP Josh Smith, Small Forward" (3)

In our last Pistons Power Rankings, we pleaded with SVG not to put Josh Smith in at small forward. What happened? SVG put Josh Smith in at small forward. Yes, injuries put the team in tough spot, but we know this doesn't work. Amazingly, it worked — the Pistons dominated Charlotte — but it's not a recipe for Pistons' success. And while it was just preseason, DBB's Mike Payne put it perfectly in his preseason recap: "The new Josh Smith is as bad as the old Josh Smith." Smith is still shooting too far away from the basket, and "sported a team-worst offensive rating of 89.3."

At least Smith gave us this:

7. Injuries (NR)

Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks going down to injury are just part of the preseason grind. While Meeks is out for eight weeks, it looks like KCP will be back for the opener.

8. Predictions (NR)

Screw the glass half-empty approach, I think the Pistons are about to win 45 games, pick up the 5-seed and beat either the Wizards or the Raptors before losing to the Cavs in the conference semi-finals. Hope lives on.

313. Joey D. (NR)

The offseason power rankings had one glaring omission: a thank you to Joe Dumars. While he may have faltered after picking up a title in 2004, we're going to try to remember the Dumars who won three rings with the Pistons. So, belated thanks, Joey D.

Not ranked: The Dancing Usher. Where is his dance-off foe?