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2015-2016 Pistons season predictions: DBB's staff weighs in on this year's team

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Will the Pistons be good enough to make the playoffs? 18 DBB staffers are torn on the very important matter.

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Steve Hinson

Pistons record prediction: 46-36

Playoffs? Yes

Why playoffs? If you're a team that fits, has solid coaching, and decent talent, you've got a leg up on most of the Eastern Conference. Each season you see teams make 10-15 win jumps. It's not that big of a deal. Turning over a bunch of poorly fitting pieces to align with the vision of a guy who finishes with 50 win seasons more often than he doesn't, that's a good way to make one of those jumps. And if this team decides to start playing some defense? They'll win 50+.

There's this idea that the East has improved. It hasn't. Conferences only improve with importing major talent, which the East didn't do this offseason - unless you consider David Lee or Nicolas Batum transformative talents. In fact, every single one of the East's playoff enter this season with something major to prove. Things like Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving can stay healthy and fit with LeBron James, that Tom Thibodeau wasn't a primary contributor to the Bulls' success the past 5 seasons, that Tim Hardaway, Jr. can replace DeMarre Carroll. And don't even get me started on the Pacers.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Nah, I think Karl-Anthony Towns will. Long-term, I think Johnson will be the best player to come out of this draft but wings historically have a hard time as rookies.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes. I don't see any scenario that makes sense for the Pistons to trade him.

NBA finals prediction: Golden State over Washington

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Ben Gulker

Pistons record prediction: 42-40

Playoffs? Yes.

Why playoffs? On paper, I have this Pistons as a .500 team. Barring injuries or career-worst performances, the Pistons should expect to get there. The 4-8 seeds out east will be hotly contested, as several teams vying for one of these spots improved over the off season. Yes, it's possible they don't make it...but in Stan we trust.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No. Stanley won't get enough minutes, especially early in the season, to rack up big enough point per game averages, which is usually the single most important factor in the ROY vote.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? No. I expect Steve Blake to be a competent backup, as he's been his entire career to date. Blake's play, combined with all the other factors working against Jennings leads me to believe he'll be gone at the deadline, if not sooner. We'll always have last season, Swag, and we'll always love you for it.

NBA finals prediction: Anyone but the Cavs.

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Jason Brunskowski

Pistons record prediction: 44-38

Playoffs? 6th in the East

Why playoffs? While the Pistons have had decent talent in their starting lineup the last few years, things really fell off when they went to the bench. It now feels like they have a more complete team 1-12.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Sadly, no, finishes third behind the two big guys.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Again, sadly no. His talent plus expiring contract plus youth is too valuable a trade chip. I would like to re-sign him, honestly.

NBA finals prediction: Thunder over Cavaliers

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Sean Wheeler (Hypnowheel)

Pistons record prediction: 46-36

Playoffs? Yes

Why playoffs? Good 3PT shooting = playoffs. Top 10 offense. Dre & Reggie are All-Stars. Brandon Jennings comes back as the best backup PG in the NBA.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Yes, in part because he'll be on the best team of all the rookies, which means he'll be playing important minutes in games that matter late in the season.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? That's a tough one, but I'm going to say yes. If SVG trades him, it will be to upgrade the team.

NBA finals prediction: Cavs over Spurs in 7

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J Parker Pool

Pistons record prediction: 42-40

Playoffs?: Oh, yeah!

Why playoffs?: Stan Van Gundy's track record. He knew what type of players he wanted and went out and got it. Caldwell-Pope's improvement plus Stanimal's energy plus the incredible Phoenix trade gives us more depth than we've had in a long time. And we're not starting Kyle Singler anymore!

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Nope. He'll get a veritable smattering of votes, but KAT's consistent minutes and play will be the difference.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? I'll go with yes. We'll be in a dogfight for the playoffs and SVG the coach will overrule SVG the GM to keep him around as a sleeker version of the Microwave.

NBA finals prediction: Thunder over Cavs

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Mophatt1

Pistons record prediction: 37 - 45

Playoffs? No

Why no playoffs? They are definitely going in the right direction and improved a great deal but so did the East. The start of the season is brutal. Would anyone be surprised with a 1-3 start? Then they go on a six game West coast trip. Then host Cleveland. 3-8 isn't out of the question. Too many questions on defense and the ability to close games still lingers. Until I see those questions answered, I can't put them in the playoffs. Sorry to be a party pooper.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY?
No. Doesn't mean he's not the best rookie.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? No. Traded to a contender in need of bench scoring at the deadline.

NBA finals prediction: Cavs over Thunder

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Packey

Pistons record prediction: 41-41

Playoffs? Yes

Why playoffs? As slow as the start of the season might be, I think .500 at the end is all it'll take to make it into the playoffs. So, so long as they don't start 5-23 and have to scrap back from that Josh Smith-like territory, I think they'll find a way to make it to .500 by season's end.  I'm drinking what Sean Wheeler is serving

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY?
No, because I gambled that he would. 

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? No, because as well as it might be spun for the sake of both sides, I don't think Brandon Jennings will be happy coming off the bench. He's also their best trade chip. It will be a mutual thing.

NBA finals prediction: Cavs over Warriors

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revken

Pistons record prediction: 42-40

Playoffs? Yes.

Why playoffs? I think we will start slow but get better as the team builds chemistry, Johnson contributes more, and Jennings return makes our bench especially effective.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No, I think guys like Okafor or Towns will feature more prominently in their team's attacks, and scoring points usually determines who wins.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes, I think he will make enough of a difference to our playoff chances that Van Gundy doesn't want to risk making a trade.

NBA finals prediction: Cavs over Rockets

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David Fernandez

Pistons record prediction: 42-40

Playoffs? Yes, they'll earn the 7th or 8th seed.

Why playoffs? The Pistons will be above the .500 mark, which over the past few seasons is more than enough to make the playoffs in the East. This team will not have a stable year of play. There will be some win streaks and losing streaks, but SVG will have the club playing his style of basketball, and that is a winning style of play.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No. This is not a reflection on Stanley's rookie year, but Jahlil Okafor will be the center-point of the Sixers' offense, he'll average 17+ points, 8+ rebounds (on an awful Sixers team) and those numbers will propel him to ROY.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes. I think Brandon Jennings will embrace his role as the "go-to guy" off the bench" (see Finals' MVP Andre Iguodola). We won't have him playing iso-ball ala Jamal Crawford/Lou Williams, but the ball will be in his hands and they'll trust him to make plays and take big shots (when necessary).

NBA finals prediction:  Cavs over OKC.

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Gabe FB

Pistons record prediction: 50-32 (SVG's career win % is 61% or exactly 50 wins a season, I think he gets there)

Playoffs? Yes.

Why playoffs? The Pistons have had a massively productive centerpiece player in Andre Drummond for a few seasons and have failed to build a roster around him that actually takes advantage of his unique strengths. With SVG's pursuit of shooting and defense on the wing, and pick and roll skills at the point, the Pistons seem poised to improve greatly improve on offense and defense. A lot depends on Drummond, but if he returns to his previous norm of shooting efficiency and improves his defense even slightly, the Pistons become a truly dangerous team.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No. He won't score enough points per game, which is the only thing anyone looks at for this award.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes. This might be wishful thinking, but if he comes back and can still ball, I think SVG keeps him as a bench spark plug for the playoffs. Brandon's contract is small enough that I doubt the Pistons would be able to get back an equally productive player.

NBA finals prediction: Cavs over Warriors

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Michael Dubicki

Pistons record prediction: 43-39

Playoffs? Yes

Why playoffs? Better 1-12 than last year. Weak east. Feeling Lebron will get hurt for some serious time.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Sadly no.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Will still be here. Blake will be gone...

NBA finals prediction: Thunder over Glass Joe and the Bulls...

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Christopher Daniels

Pistons record prediction: 42-40

Playoffs? Yes.

Why playoffs? There will be at least one or two teams that everyone has pegged as being semi-locks for the playoffs that fall off the cliff for any number of reasons. My personal pick would be the Raptors and I personally don't see the Celtics being this magical team but in any case I see the Pistons falling anywhere from 6-8 in the East and losing in the first round after winning a couple games and making it competitive.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No. He makes a damn fine run at it but some other guy (Mudiay? Okafor?) playing big minutes for a shitty team is the shiny object that every lazy deer-eyed writer ends up voting for.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? I would love to say yes, but Stan is not exactly shy about making moves and unless Brandon fully embraces and excels as 6th man/back up PG I see him being elsewhere (where I hope he kicks major ass).

NBA finals prediction: Spurs over Cavs

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Jordan Bellant

Pistons record prediction: 42-40

Playoffs: Yes! 7th in the East, first round matchup with Chicago

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Stanley Johnson does not win Rookie of the Year, but outplays many of the players drafted close to him (Henzonja, Booker, Kaminsky and Winslow).

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Brandon Jennings is traded at the deadline as part of a move to upgrade the 4 spot.

NBA finals prediction: Warriors over Cavaliers in 6

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Kevin Sanders

Pistons record prediction: 43-39

Playoffs? Yes

Why playoffs? I cannot imagine this team missing the playoffs this year with an overhauled roster that fits nicely together under the SVG regime. Also, the East is not as improved as advertised. It may take a bit for the Pistons to click on all cylinders, and I don't see this team making it past the second round of the playoffs this time around, but I suspect this is indeed the beginning of a new era for the Pistons.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No, though I wouldn't be surprised if he gets consideration. I also wouldn't be surprised if he is the most productive rookie this year but receives zero consideration. Detroit vs. Everybody.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes. I do not suspect we will be re-signing Jennings, but I cannot see a reason at this point in time for us to trade him unless something really good comes along. My opinion of a player has never shifted as dramatically as it did with Jennings during the magical PSE. I wish him and all his swag the best for many years to come.

NBA finals prediction: Warriors over Cavs

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Justin Lambregtse

Pistons record prediction: 44-38

Playoffs? Yes

Why playoffs? The roster finally makes sense and I think they will finally break the playoff drought. Andre Drummond will be a beast and make the All-Star team, and Reggie Jackson will narrowly miss making it. We will break the franchise record for three pointers made, and play better defense as a team. All that combined will be enough to win 44 games and make the playoffs as the 5 or 6 seed.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No, unfortunately I think he will finish 2nd to Jahlil Okafor, who will be force-fed in Philadelphia.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes, he will come back and be strong off the bench and help us down the stretch to get into the playoffs.

NBA finals prediction: OKC vs. CLE, CLE wins in 6

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Jamie Delaney

Pistons record prediction: 39-43

Playoffs? Who's ready for the 8th seed!!! I know I am!! While the east teams don't need the same level of wins to get into the playoffs like the western conference teams, it's still just as competitive. I'm not buying the Pacers and Heat taking as big of a leap as some have predicted. I also think Boston barely squeaked into it last year and can easily be knocked out. So yes, I see the Pistons as an 8th seed against the Cavs.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? No. But I think he gets second place. Karl Anthony Towns will be your ROY because he's Karl Anthony Towns and he's going to get better minutes.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? There's a better chance of me finishing the season on the Pistons roster. His contract is super movable IF (super big if) he comes back at christmas and looks even 80% close to what he was doing last January. I could see a Phoenix, New Orleans, or Memphis deal in early Feb.

NBA finals prediction: *Stares at keyboard* (sigh) Cavs over Spurs in 7 *cries* *lights keyboard on fire*

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Ben Quagliata

Pistons record prediction: 44-38

Playoffs? Yes

Why? Because why not? The roster is starting to take shape under supreme overlord Stan Van Gundy. There's shooting coming out of every orifice here, especially with additions like Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock. Add to that a full season of Jodie Meeks and the resurrection of our saviour Stanley Johnson and you have a second unit that should provide little to no drop off from the starters. Of course there are a few qualifiers, such as the health of Ersan Ilyasova, whether Jackson lives up to his contract, and the whole Brandon Jennings situation, but I think that this is the year that all the dysfunction finds someone else for a change.

Does Stanley Johnson win Rookie of the Year? I'd love to say yes, but I just don't see it. I think he'll have a fantastic season, and SLAM Magazine even predicted he'd be the most likely rookie to average 20 points per game, but I think he's handicapped at the start of the season. ROY winners get numbers, and with guys like Emmanuel Mudiay and Jahlil Okafor starting right away for their atrocious teams and getting ridiculous usage, I think they'll get too big a head start. For me, if Stanley is to win, he needs to force himself into the starting lineup very quickly, or at least average like 11 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, something very difficult for a rookie.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes, because I don't want to imagine a world without the $WAG. But in all seriousness, if it's up to the Pistons, I don't see any discernible reason as to why they'd want to trade away a 6th man of the year candidate if he returns close to a level where he once was (that's a big if, I know). A backup rotation of Dinwiddie and Blake doesn't fill me with confidence for a whole season, especially with Dinwiddie's struggles in preseason, and Jennings can be our dynamic scorer who gets 12 points off the bench. I also like to think Jennings has matured since coming to Detroit, as he's begun to unlock his limitless passing ability, and become a more unselfish player. I hope that extends to his role in the rotation.

NBA finals prediction: I don't see it going much differently from last year. Cleveland will hopefully have a full year from important guys like LeBron, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, but the early injuries to Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert could hinder them early on, but I think they'll survive more than capably. They also added Mo Williams to shore up their guard rotation, and Matthew Dellavedova proved in the Playoffs he can more than do a job in the absence of Kyrie. I really want OKC to do well as well, but the new coach could frustrate early. Also, nowadays there's always doubt that Durant and Westbrook can go a full season, but they still have a deep team with the likes of Ibaka, Adams, Kanter and D.J. Augustin, as well as nice new young point guard Cameron Payne. The Rockets will be there again, but maybe Josh Smith actually meant something to them and their bench suffers without him (that hurt to type). But they, and the Warriors, are returning all key pieces and the continuity should allow them a renewed run at the title. It will be interesting, however, to see how Luke Walton coaches in place of Steve Kerr. I'll go Warriors vs. Cavs in the Finals, with the Cavaliers to edge it 4-3.

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Sean Corp

Pistons record prediction: 40-42

Playoffs? No

Why no playoffs? In the East, Indiana, Miami and Boston all have improved rosters, but more importantly, three of the best coaches in the NBA. Even if Brooklyn and Milwaukee fall out of the playoff picture, that means Detroit will be improved but could also be on the outside looking in.

Does Stanley Johnson win ROY? Yes, I believe his defense and positional flexibility will make him an early favorite of Stan Van Gundy. I also believe he could be an offensive focal point of the second unit by the end of the season, creating the kind of counting stats that tend to sway voters. He's also prone to a highlight or two, and that combined with a big jump in Detroit's record will put him at the forefront of the ROY conversation.

Does Brandon Jennings finish the season on the roster? Yes. His contract is expiring, and the Pistons showed with Andre Drummond that they are still in the mood to maximize cap space. He's also a second ball handler, and I'm not sure the Pistons will have a bigger need for a playoff push than a really effective backup point guard.

NBA finals prediction: I love OKC, but with a new coach and the constant distraction of the Durant drama (and Durant isn't the best at handling ridiculous scrutiny), I feel like they come up short. That leaves Houston and Golden State atop the West for me and I am picking the Warriors only because I feel like people are dismissing their chances to return to the Finals for no reason other than it rarely happens. Well, great teams tend to make it back to the Finals. In the East, it's still Cleveland's to lose and I assume they'll be healthy come playoff time. Warriors beat Cavs in six.

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What say you, DBB? Leave your predictions in the comments below.