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DBB on 3: Keeping up with the Joneses (And Celtics. And Raptors. And Cavs.)

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Will the Pistons keep up with the best in the East or trend to the back of the pack?

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is NBA parity speaking. We have begun our descent...we should be arriving at our mid-playoff position shortly."

Most people - myself included - would tend to think that the Pistons’ recent struggles are part of an inevitable regression to the mean, that Tobias Harris’ cooling off is part of an overall cooling off of a team which was running hotter than anyone expected.

Some though may see the Pistons heating back up and keeping their position near the front of the ranks.

No one really knows what will become of the rest of this season, but there are a few diehard Pistons fans (aka stans, or so I’ve been told) who are ready and willing to give you their thoughts on just that subject.

Now please sit back, relax and enjoy our complimentary commentary.

1. We're far enough into the season where early upstarts fade and struggling good teams start to put it together. Do you see the Pistons joining the fading upstarts or keeping up with the good teams who are catching up to them?

Michael Snyder: As a part-time hater and full-time pessimist, this team is good.

Steve Hinson: After the loss to the Cavs, the Pistons are on a 53 win pace. I think this is a pretty good Pistons team, but not a 53 win Pistons team. So I do think they'll fade some, but not dramatically. A 45-46 win pace is probably more reasonable. But hey, with 20 percent of the season already in the books, that would still put them in a great place by the end of the season.

Aye those were a lot of numbers. I’m a dork.

Ben Gulker: I don't see enough talent on this roster to sustain the 65-70 percent win percentage of these first few weeks, so I think it's fair to see we'll see some regression. I could easily see them playing slightly better than .500 for the rest of the season, and although that will exceed a lot of people's expectations going into the season, it may feel a bit disappointing after the tremendously hot start.

Lazarus Jackson: This Pistons team PROBABLY wasn't going to win 63 games this season (which, mathematically, they were on pace to do after the 5-0 homestand), so a controlled descent into a 47 or 45-win season is not the worst thing in the world. Conventional preseason wisdom that they were a better team than the Orlandos and Indianas of the East should hold, and the Heat and Hornets performing below expectations should help the Pistons in that regard as well.

Gabriel Frye-Behar: The Pistons should hang around, and unless they hit unfortunate injuries, win around 50ish games. Dre + shooting + competent perimeter defense = solid team.

Ryan Pravato: I see Detroit competing for the fourth seed, but eventually having to 'settle' for the fifth seed. I'll take it!

Justin Lambregtse: I think they will keep with the good teams. Ultimately I think the Pistons will settle into the fifth seed with 49-51 wins.

2. There have been several players playing at an unexpectedly high level so far. Which do you see maintaining that high level and which do you see fading?

Michael Snyder: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Luke Kennard and Eric Moreland and I see neither fading. Kennard can put the ball on the floor better than I thought and can finish with either hand. Moreland is a ball of energy that just needs a direction.

Steve Hinson: Maintaining: Andre Drummond. He's been in a slump with his scoring efficiency, only shooting 49 percent true shooting percentage over the past six games but he's been taking the right shots. The percentages will bounce back. His defense has also been much better so far this season and looks like it ought to be sustainable.

Fade: No one really stands out to me as a fade candidate. Tobias Harris will probably see his three point shooting fall, but he'll probably up his shooting in the arc. And 41-44 percent isn't really unrealistic for Avery Bradley or Langston Galloway.

Ben Gulker: I'm forcing myself to keep thinking Tobias's three-point shooting will fall off eventually (so that I'm not heartbroken when it does), but so far it hasn't. Ish Smith is quietly shooting the ball very well from inside the arc, which may not last. I'm a little concerned that Tolliver's play might fade a little bit just because he's getting old, and that could hurt the second unit a bit. But for the most part, I think some of the really hot shooting has leveled off, and we don't have any key cogs who can't perform like this for the rest of the season.

Lazarus Jackson: This appears to be the New Normal for Andre Drummond - praise be. Tobias Harris, on the other hand, probably will not maintain his 47 percent three-point shooting for the whole of the season.

Gabriel Frye-Behar: Another vote for - Tobias Harris won't shoot 47 percent on threes for the whole season. His two point field goal percentage is way below his career average though, so Harris might regress some in both directions. Langston Galloway will probably level off. If Dre maintains his overall level of play, his free throw percentage, and his defense, the Pistons should be okay - I think he will, it looks to me like he's turned a corner.

Ryan Pravato: Andre will sustain his play and if he continues playing hard most of the time, then fans will more easily live with his mistakes. Galloway will lose his spot and Kennard will take those minutes.

Justin Lambregtse: I think Tobias Harris will continue to lead the team in scoring, but his three point shooting will probably fall off a bit. I think Andre Drummond will also keep his current level of play. I think Ish Smith's shooting inside the arc will eventually fall off and revert to career norms.

3. There have also been players who have struggled out of the gate. Which player who hasn't quite lived up do you most see rounding into shape and which do you think is most in danger of not?

Michael Snyder: I was all in on Boban Marjanovic, like, ALL IN. And not in some “look at this guy, he’s huge” type of freak show way. I thought there were going to be games in which he dominated at the offensive end for the second unit. Hasn’t happened and don’t see it happening moving forward.

Steve Hinson: Reggie Bullock just has a knack for shooting horribly when he has a great opportunity and playing really well when there's a short window for being able to receive minutes. So it'll probably be something along the lines this:
Rotation gets set firmly with Bullock on the outside looking in -> Avery Bradley is out for a couple of weeks -> Reggie Bullock plays out of his mind while the others in the rotation play well enough to keep their spot -> Bullock back to the bench and his numbers average out as good enough to keep him as a tantalizing player.

So Reggie Bullock is my answer for both.

Ben Gulker: Jon Leuer is the most obvious candidate here, and with Tolliver and Moreland being SVG favorites, Leuer may not have a path back to rotation minutes. As a whole, Stanley Johnson's play has been subpar as well, although it's unlikely anything other than a trade would get him out of the rotation. For that reason, Stanley has the better chance of rounding into better form.

Lazarus Jackson: I still believe that Jon Leuer can be a rotation player for the Pistons - you almost have to, since it'll be so difficult to be rid of him if he isn't. Reggie Bullock might just be that guy who is good enough to be on an NBA roster, but you never hope actually plays.

Gabriel Frye-Behar: Stanley Johnson. His basketball IQ is actually really high IMO, but his feel for the game on offense at the NBA level is still off (i.e. he's hesitant when he should attack, then on the next possession knows that he made a mistake before and so tries to make up for it by being too aggressive when he should move the ball around, type stuff). But I'm a big supporter of SVG's decision to force-feed Johnson a bunch of minutes. If the Pistons are going to make noise going forward, the best-cast version of Johnson is a huge piece of the puzzle. Hopefully this isn't just wishful thinking, but I think he'll improve a good deal as the season moves along.

Ryan Pravato: Reggie Bullock will start to turn it around, but time could be running short. Detroit needs something (anything!!) out of Stanley or Bullock on offense. Thing is, there aren't any other options to try (well, if Luis Montero doesn't count).

Justin Lambregtse: I think Reggie Bullock will. I love Reggie Bullock and was a bit disappointed he blew his rotation spot when Stanley Johnson went down by shooting poorly. However, he has done this every year and I think he will turn it around. I think Stanley Johnson might be a lost cause offensively. I like Stanley, but his hot stretch of shooting before the injury appeared to be a bit of a fluke.

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That’s what we think, what do you think? Please copy/paste the three questions and give us your answers/thoughts below.

1. We're far enough into the season where early upstarts fade and struggling good teams start to put it together. Do you see the Pistons joining the fading upstarts or keeping up with the good teams who are catching up to them?

2. There have been several players playing at an unexpectedly high level so far. Which do you see maintaining that high level and which do you see fading?

3. There have also players who have struggled out of the gate. Which player who hasn't quite lived up do you most see rounding into shape and which do you think is most in danger of not?

And Happy Thanksgiving (and to our non-US readers/commenters/contributors, we’re thankful for you)!