The Pistons are the talk of Detroit after knocking off the undefeated Clippers and defending champion Warriors this weekend. They’re even the talk of the league on NBA Twitter. But the national media still (mostly) isn’t buying it.
Sports Illustrated’s Kenny Ducey somehow managed to downplay knocking off three of the darlings of the Western Conference:
15. Detroit Pistons (5–2)
Last Week: 18
We’re sure that each team ahead of the Pistons this week is good. We’re pretty sure each team behind them isn’t going to be a force this season. So where does that leave Detroit? They’ve just rattled off three incredible wins over the Wolves, Clippers and Warriors, but they’re still the same team they were two weeks ago: pretty top-heavy, and unable to get consistent outings from Andre Drummond. It’s going to take a hell of a lot longer than two weeks to get a handle on the Pistons’ identity.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN somehow managed to only move the Pistons up one spot.
15. Detroit Pistons
2017-18 record: 5-2
Previous ranking: 16
The Pistons enjoyed a productive weekend out west, winning back-to-back over the Clippers and Dubs. To make a dent in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons needed a player or two from their starting core to outperform expectations -- and Tobias Harris obliged. He and CJ McCollum are the only players in the NBA this season to score 100 points while turning over the ball five times or fewer.
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bought in a bit by at least moving the Pistons up to the 10 spot, calling Detroit the Hero team of the week.
Last week: 17
The Pistons trailed both of their weekend games by double-digits. But in the second half on Saturday, they locked down the Clippers. And in the second half on Sunday, they scored 63 points against the Warriors. Though their four perimeter starters have shot 29-for-58 from 3-point range over their three-game winning streak, their starting lineup has been outscored by 16.2 points per 100 possessions this season, the second worst mark among the 19 lineups that have played at least 50 minutes. They're a plus-12.5 per 100 possessions in 240 minutes with at least one reserve on the floor.
The Pistons are currently tied for third in the league in winning percentage. They’re ninth in +/- despite just running through an early season gauntlet with their current schedule currently ranked the second toughest. Of the seven teams they’ve played so far, only two currently have a record below .500.
So even the top 10 ranking still holds some skepticism that the Pistons aren’t really for real.
But at least two media outlets are buying in.
The Pistons look good. They beat a good Charlotte team, smacked the heck out of the Wolves, stunned the Warriors and knocked off the undefeated Clippers. More importantly, Tobias Harris is looking like a much-needed third option on offense. He's averaging 23 points while shooting 52 percent from the field. That'll surely regress at some point, but right now the Pistons will take it.
I’ll refrain from questioning bashing Tobias Harris as the third option out of appreciation for the top five spot.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News actually has the Pistons as the top team in the east.
The good: Fourth-quarter margin in consecutive wins over Warriors, Clippers: 20 points.
The bad: Slow starts. Average first-quarter margin: Minus-3.1 points, 26th in the NBA.
Now that’s some sweet Kool-Aid.
Power rankings are always rather abritrary and it’s not a huge surprise that the Pistons are all over the place. I’m not sure we quite know what to make of this team just yet this season.
What say you DBB, what do you think the right spot for the Pistons power ranking is?