On this the last weekday before the Detroit Pistons begin their 2016 NBA Playoffs First Round match-up against the Cleveland Cavaliers (not Goliath's little brother farther in the north), let's get to some good reading. Let 'er rip!
Andre Drummond joins list of Pistons greats to claim NBA rebounding crown -- MLive
In case we've already forgotten...
Perhaps most impressive is the fashion in which Drummond, 22, did it. He led the NBA in rebounding every day since the start of the regular season, beginning his fast and furious pace with 15-plus rebounds in nine of the Pistons' first 10 games.
Three of those nine games saw him eclipse the 20-rebound mark, including his season-high 29 (to go along with 25 points) in a 94-82 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 3.
About those Pistons greats:
Drummond is the fourth player in Pistons franchise history to lead the NBA in rebounding, joining Ben Wallace (2001-02, 2002-03), Dennis Rodman (1991-92, 1992-93) and Bill Laimbeer (1985-86).
Wojo: Pistons' playoff return is pressure-free -- The Detroit News
The Pistons have talent, led by Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, but all five starters are 26 or younger and Jackson is the only one to appear in a playoff game. Everyone knows what to expect of the Cavaliers, who are healthier after losing to the Warriors in the NBA Finals last year. No one knows what to expect of the Pistons, and frankly, that might be their lone advantage.
"I think we're just a hungry team who's looking forward to the challenge, who wants to make a name for ourselves and prove we're about something," Jackson said. "It's gonna be fun. We have to go in there and try to outgrind them, outwork them, muck it up. It's probably gonna be an ugly series, and hopefully that favors us. A lot of times when you're young and dumb, you don't know any better."
Say, how many times has an eight seed beaten a top seed?
Five times in NBA history an eight seed has beaten a top seed, so the Pistons aren't on some impossible, carefree lark. If they struggle to shoot and don't crank up their defense, they could get embarrassed. If they play more efficient offense and cut down on turnovers, they could provide a challenge.
Pistons hope to disrupt LeBron, Cavs' flow -- NBA.com (Steve Aschburner)
Even if I don't agree with much of it, a levelheaded series preview it surely is -- and not too long, not too short -- just let me give you the most potentially humbling aspects below.
This is a 1 vs. 8 first-round matchup the way it's supposed to be: On one side, you have the heavy favorites focused on a return to The Finals, with the first three rounds almost as much of a nuisance as the regular season that preceded them. On the other, a young team taking its first tentative steps in the postseason. Given the experience the Pistons can reap from this and the teachable moments that Van Gundy will amass for training camp in a quick week or 10 days, it essentially is a no-lose opportunity for Detroit. Until, of course, it loses.
Well, the sense of the last part makes the harshness of the first part more bearable. It's really a 'no-lose' situation for Detroit. It will sting some when the series finishes and (if!) Detroit's season is over, yet in the grand scheme of things it's a proper step in the process of building the core team that will most likely be competing for the East crown in a couple seasons.
Alright, hold on for more:
The Cavs will win if ...
Kevin Love does what he's done against Detroit this season (24.0 ppg on .511 shooting with 7.3 rpg, 3.0 apg and 9 of 18 shooting on 3-pointers). Kyrie Irving does what he's done in two appearances vs. the Pistons (29.0 ppg on .550 shooting). And James does what he's been doing to first-round opponents over the past 10 postseasons. This guy doesn't mess around in the first round -- his teams are 10-0, compiling a 40-7 record in games since he and the Cavs first qualified in 2006, with a 13-game winning streak that dates back to 2012. Now factor in the way James is peaking for the playoffs -- 28.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 8.5 apg while shooting .620 in his last 10 games -- and it's hard to see the Cavaliers letting Detroit off the hook.
Steve isn't going out on much of a limb above, so let's see if he makes up for it below (hint: nope)...
The Pistons will win if
This isn't meant as a jinx of any sort, but we would need to see at least one and more likely two of Cleveland's Big Three go down early with a series-clipping injury to tip the balance in this one.
I'm still holding out hope that Detroit beats full strength ('Big' Three) Cleveland instead. Especially since it would very likely mean, as buzzardbeater nailed in a comment thread two days ago, the "END" of Cleveland and their shot at glory. Forever. Yes to this, pretty please?
Making the pick
It's hard to see this as anything but a toe-dip by the Pistons into postseason waters. Eighth seeds ending six-year playoff droughts aren't supposed to advance or even pester Finals fixators, particularly one that has the game's best all-around player on another mission. Even though this Cleveland bunch seems to embrace the sort of drama an unexpected loss or two in Round 1 might generate, they're too locked in and too superior right now for it to come so soon.
Cavs in 4.
As much as I want to say "No Steve, you are going to be so wrong about this series! May your keyboard cease to work in very important times of urgency!", I do see his points clearly and realize where he is coming from. And, for curiosity's sake, I'd like to know many of his old playoff predictions to see how accurate he is, but Steve's been at this NBA writing thing for a long while and I'm going to save my energy. I'll gladly assume he's not accurate and then not be surprised when the Cavs don't even come close to sweeping the Pistons.
I do like Steve's writing and he's probably a great guy, so I hope Steve spares me. But there's got to be a potential consequence for what Steve wrote. Naturally, a compromise seems fair. I will then wish Steve only limited bouts of keyboard malfunction in urgent times.
A Very Scientific Simulation Of The Cavs-Pistons Series Using Sega's ‘NBA Action '94' -- DimeMag (UPROXX)
Reggie Jackson (*Joe Dumars) scored about 118 points in Game 1. Pistons won the series in 6 games. I think we can live with this in real life too.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Ben Quagliata revisited the DBB staff's 2015-2016 season predictions, here. How well did they do in predicting the future? Here are the key highlights:
-- Results reveal that the DBB staff are neither too idiotic nor too entrenched in the Kool-Aid drinking Pistons culture to make fairly sound decisions about vital things in life like hoops.
This is good news. It gets better.
-- Somehow the results also reveal that the DBB staff (all of them, even those who didn't make predictions) are handsome as all hell. Very much basketball blogging lady-killers. It's true, some have stalkers. It comes with the territory I guess. DBB vs. Everybody.
Folks, if you have any other worthwhile hoops links, then please share in the comments below. AND to the lurkers out there reading this: sign up and post a comment, either here or on another post. NBA Playoffs are nearly here! What are you waiting for? I swear it will feel really good and you may just turn out to be the next big thing
on the internet at DBB. #lifegoals