The general consensus I'm seeing from the media is that the Pistons, fresh off their first playoff berth in 7 years with one of the youngest teams in the league, are what they're going to be. I agree with that in some respects, I think they will (and should) stand pat with their core this off-season but unlike the national media, I think internal improvement will make a significant impact on the team. They've had a taste of the playoffs, and now they're hungry for more. Let's take a look and see how IamPAP thinks the Pistons should improve their roster.
#18 Thon Maker. Has the potential to far exceed his draft position. Competitive, smart, very skilled. Very raw. Boom or bust. His work on his body, competitiveness, maturity, intellect and love for the game lead me to believe he'll eventually live up to his potential.
Package Meeks and #49 to move up to #35 and select Stephen Zimmerman. Has the potential to be a mobile stretch 5 of sorts. Van Gundy wants to be able to play a number of different ways and Zimmerman would add another dimension.
Al Horford. 4 yrs, $70 million. I've seen "experts" predict that Al would garner a max contract this summer, but for the sake of this exercise, no he won't. He'll be taking a discount for the sake of winning all the championships.
Seth Curry. 2 yrs, $14 million. Player option on 2nd year. Unproven, but has upside. Fantastic shooter, which is always a plus. Not a traditional PG, but I don't think we need one with one or more of Marcus, Tobias and Horford always sharing the court with the bench.
note: I pondered Dellavedova for this spot, but something about him just screams "product of playing with Lebron"
Arron Afflalo(?) Some years, some money. I figure we're a little green on the wing, so let's snag a guy who can shoot, post-up, and can be trusted to adhere to the defensive game plan. His stock seems to have plummeted since his Orlando days, so he should be pretty affordable.
Andre Drummond. 5 yrs, $120 million
Reggie, Curry, Dinwiddie
KCP, Afflalo, Bullock, Hilliard
Marcus, Stanley, Bullock
Horford, Tobias, Maker
Dre, Baynes, Horford, Zimmerman
note: Not sure if I'd start Horford or just let him soak up all the backup minutes at PF and C.
This is a team that can play a number of different ways, can replace Andre with an all star when he's not making free throws, and hopefully a team that is much better at shooting the 3 than last year. As a bonus, if it doesn't work out, the cap is going up and everybody will be super tradeable. :)
So here's what I'm thinking
IF KCP, Reggie, Tobias, and Marcus all improve their shooting...
IF this team that was basically brought together last year continues to improve chemistry...
IF the whole team buys in and commits to being a defensive-minded team
IF Andre continues to realize his potential as a defensive force...
And most importantly
IF Andre approaches 50+% from the line and can close out games (call me crazy, but I'm actually optimistic)...
I legitimately think they could win close to 60 games next season.
Spill your brains/yell at me/each other in the comments below.