Isn't it exciting? It's Opening Night of the 2014-15 NBA Regular Season. Sadly, we Pistons fans have to wait until Wednesday for the Pistons' season opener. In the meantime, let's discuss what the media says about the Pistons in their Week 0 Power Rankings.
Last Year: 16
This Year: 21
The Pistons are loaded with talent up front and Stan Van Gundy should work wonders in getting the best out of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Still, this roster is funky, and the team's "big" free agency acquisition, Jodie Meeks, is expected to miss approximately two months because of a back injury. The Pistons are establishing a new identity and found a presence in Van Gundy that should help immediately, but turning it all around by the start of the season? We don't see it.
Our parent site has what looks to be the most realistic observation (don't expect immediate success), but the still have us ranked near where everyone else does.
Last Year: 18
This Year: 20
Can Stan Van Gundy do for Andre Drummond, structure-wise, what he did for Dwight Howard? Or should we skip right to the other burning question in Motown: Can Stan continue to get the sort of offensive discipline from Josh Smith seen throughout exhibition play -- only seven 3s attempted! -- all season?
Anyone else tired of comparing Drummond to Dwight, especially because of Stan's connection? Also, I wouldn't exactly call what Josh Smith did in the preseason "offensive discipline." Mike Payne has more on that (see #2).
Last Year: 17
This Year: 22
Perimeter shooting became a point of emphasis for the Detroit Pistons as soon as Stan Van Gundy came in and signed a slew of three-point threats this summer. So far, the Pistons appear to warming up to Van Gundy's floor-spreading approach just fine.
Over their last four preseason games, the Pistons knocked down 40.7 percent of their three-point tries. That number is not only a huge improvement over last year's 32.1 percent mark (29th in the NBA), but also would've been the best in the entire league in 2013-14.
Granted, Detroit's recent uptick in outside shooting comes with some glaring caveats. For one, anything coming out of exhibition play can only be taken so seriously, given the caliber of competition. And, since this percentage comes from just four of those meaningless contests, the sample is too small to be considered reliable.
That being said, the Pistons should be encouraged by what they saw, especially since two of their best shooters (i.e. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks) didn't partake in that portion of the preseason due to injury. Hypothetically speaking, those two should bring even more stretchy potential to the Pistons' revamped offense.
Agreed, sample size is too small, but wouldn't that be amazing? If somehow the Pistons had players equipped enough to lead the league in 3P%? Is that the real reason Stan Van Gundy wants Josh Smith to stop shooting 3's?
I don't think Bleacher Report is the only one to do this, but I think their low ranking is because of how much they (and everyone else) expected from the Pistons last year and were sadly disappointed. What I do find interesting is that they didn't say a word on the big man rotation or what Stan can/can't do with Josh Smith and Andre Drummond.
Last Year: 13
This Year: 20
Josh Smith took less than 10 percent of his preseason shots from 3-point range (down from 21 percent last season), a product of Stan Van Gundy staggering the minutes of his big three. But Smith took almost half his shots from mid-range, which is worse than launching 3s. The Pistons did show defensive improvement and did share the ball.
Again, not that I blame them, but I think NBA.com has the Pistons so low because they had them so high last year and the Pistons seriously under-performed. I'm glad that they emphasized that this team goes where Josh Smith goes, for better or for worse. If he's jacking up bad shots, unless Stan takes a stand and benches him, this team isn't going anywhere.
It appears most official and not-so-official rankings have us in the low 20's. This may (unfortunately) be accurate. Yes, we have a much better coach than last year. Yes, we have pieces that can fit. Yes, preseason looked much better (for the most part) than last year. However, this is Stan's first year, we're already without Meeks for a while, and Josh Smith is still Josh Smith. The Pistons start the season with two games in the West with a back-to-back against Denver and then Minnesota. Our home opener is Saturday against the Nets. We haven't seen Stan coach this team against the West yet, so next week's rankings could be worse.
Which of these rankings do you feel is more accurate? Where would you rank the Pistons to start the season? Also, don't forget to check out liam.bp's awesome Pistons Power Rankings.