We all have our own — and sometimes unique — reasons for getting excited about certain things. Take your birthday for example. Some people get excited about their birthday because they know someone will make them a cake, while others look forward to the gifts. Others might get excited because their birthday means one year closer to retirement. Whatever gets your blood flowing. Whatever gets you excited. To each his own.
Then, it isn’t too random that recently I’ve been thinking what my main reason is for being excited about the upcoming 2017-18 Detroit Pistons season (besides the obvious enjoyment of DETROIT BASKETBALL).
So far, the NBA off-season hasn’t been uneventful in terms of actual moves and signings the Pistons made, no matter how small or potentially large they were. There’s the additions of Langston Galloway, Eric Moreland, Avery Bradley, and Anthony Tolliver (one of these is not like the other). Last but not least on the addition side is newly drafted Luke Kennard. All these additions might be seen as quite underwhelming to most fans, but surely they’re better than a sharp stick in the eye? Well, check back in about four months about that.
For news’ and analysis’ sake, the off-season hasn’t been uneventful either. There’s simply no ignoring the deviated septum surgery Andre Drummond had and its assumed positive impact on his performance (not to mention some maturity maybe settling in on Andre too). There’s no ignoring the potential revival of Reggie Jackson that is likely about more than just his health. And, just because, there’s no ignoring the 86-point game Stanley Johnson managed last weekend at a tournament with a smattering of other NBA players — even if it means absolutely nothing.
Glory, if you squint hard enough you will see that most all of DBB has a glass of kool-aid firmly in their hands, sipping more and more feverishly as the summer creeps on. Say what you will or disagree all you want, but some potent Pistons kool-aid in August is kind of hitting the spot.
In looking at the 2017-18 Detroit Pistons season — opening of Little Caesars Arena aside — what excites you most about the team?
IT’S NOT THE BROOKLYN NETS
If this is your pick for what excites you most about the season, then we gotta tie you down and force extra sweet Pistons kool-aid into your sorry body, pronto.
TOBIAS HARRIS being more of the team’s main squeeze
If the Pistons are any good this season, meaning: they are an over .500 team throughout, then I’m going to believe that Tobias had an All-Star caliber season. I’m not too much of a numbers guy, so perhaps around 19 points per game with efficient shooting numbers (at least mid-thirties for three-point percentage like last season) and strong rebounding numbers will push him into the running.
However, even in the fairly weak Eastern Conference, Tobias will need a truly outstanding first half of the season to get a spot. Because nobody cares much about Detroit. We are over on this island called Ignore. Though, winning cures all — and if Tobias is lighting up the scoreboard but the Pistons are down in the standings, who really cares?
Point being, if you can see Tobias taking the next step in his career, it’s going to be pure excitement watching him be an even bigger part of the offense due not only to his own improvement, but also because there’s no more Marcus Morris in the way.
ANDRE DRUMMOND focusing on what initially made Andre Drummond really good
Speaking of no more Marcus Morris in the way, what about the news of no more Drummond post-ups?
Okay, I’m exaggerating (a lot), however it now seems Stan Van Gundy is more dead set than ever on beating into Drummond’s brain the need for him to focus on his elite skills instead of broadening the other facets of his game. Count me in as intrigued, yet I’ll be careful not to expect too much.
Be DeAndre Jordan, Dre. That’s what Van Gundy and everybody else really wants you to emulate (except the 29 other NBA teams). Furthermore, when it all comes down to it, Andre Drummond will be able to breathe better going forward considering that his septum isn’t deviated. That’s probably a big thing and is going to be worth a whole lot. The ball is in Dre’s court now.
So, if you can see Andre Drummond playing harder on defense — competing nightly, mind you — doing his rebounding thing and becoming a smarter, more disciplined cog on the offensive end too, then you’ll have sound reason to be excited. Ecstatic even.
And, if all this happens, then it’s going to add a few years to Mike Snyder’s life, because God knows Mike must have lost a few years of his life last season dissecting all those special Andre mistakes in the high/low pieces.
REGGIE JACKSON playing just good enough to have trade value
I remember the 2015-16 days fondly when it seemed every week on DBB I wrote ‘Reggie Jackson SATISFACTION’ in posts or in comment sections. The phrase never caught on, but man, I thought Reggie Jackson was something else. Most fans did too.
These days, slowly but surely, I’ve been getting giddy about the return of Jackson and fully ready to forget last season’s injury woes.
Hold on now, nagging at me still is the thing many of us don’t want to admit. Perhaps if we step back and are all honest with ourselves, we will understand that Reggie is not going to have a revival. Or let’s put it in a kinder way: he’s not in the long-term plans of this franchise. Although, he may be decent for right now and we may see some impressive scoring and play-making displays from him at times, other times he’s going to dog it. There will be issues.
If you can see Reggie being healthy and resembling his 2015-16 baller self, good for you. He is talented, there’s no argument there. Let’s just enjoy Reggie Jackson while we can. It could be pretty exciting. He’s due for at least a few more great moments of putting the team on his back, right?
AVERY BRADLEY making everyone say Kentavious who?
I’m guessing every legit Pistons fan now realizes that Bradley is one of the best two-way players in the league. If Bradley style of play wasn’t already fierce enough, he’s looking for a plump contract heading into 2017-18 as well. If he stays true to who he is, then he’s going to be a happy guy come contract time. And who knows how long Avery will be a Piston? If it ends up being for a long time then most everybody is guessing the culture of this franchise will be much different than it has been in the recent past.
Right, there’s really no “if you can see” for Avery Bradley. If you aren’t already excited to watch him leave everything out on the floor for Detroit, then I think I want to smash your TV. And your computer if you watch games there instead.
LUKE KENNARD and HENRY ELLENSON earning minutes and showing us how to shoot
Luke will earn minutes if he shows Van Gundy general competence on defense. It doesn’t need to be great — he just needs to keep it together. That would be stellar, because Detroit could use Kennard’s shot-making ability.
Say, let’s be cautiously optimistic about him this season. While Luke did indeed prove that he can handle the summer league guys, playing against NBA vets might make him look like he’s stuck in mud. That may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not to Van Gundy, who will expect a high level from the rookie and nothing less. Van Gundy often has an all or nothing approach to most young players. It will be frustrating for the fans to see the player sit, although you have to mostly give the benefit of the doubt to a coach and how they push and motivate a young player.
For Mr. Ellenson the road is much tougher, as what we saw on defense from him in summer league wasn’t much — plus he has bench vets like Leuer and Tolliver as options in front of him. Though who am I to say you can’t be optimistic and excited about Ellenson cracking the rotation this season? Now, if he only had to play offense, then we’d have a nearly flawless reason to be pumped.
If you can see the Pistons being a pretty bad team this season, then you likely have a reason to be excited about Luke and Henry “earning” minutes and letting shots fly once the season is all but lost. Patience.
BOBAN MARJANOVIC not sitting in a chair every game
The Barbarian played in just 35 games last season. And we all know how efficient and talented the Barbarian is at basketball.
It’s just insane. Only 35 games.
And many of those 35 games were when the outcome was already decided.
This season is shaping up to be different. There’s no Aron Baynes to beat out and hopefully no rigid stubbornness from Van Gundy to not make other teams pay savagely for not having their own 7-foot-3 enforcer on the floor at the same time.
Don’t fret, I’m not forgetting the defensive concerns with having Boban on the floor against certain lineups or for extended time. Those concerns are very real. Though, it’s not rocket science — this coaching staff and team have to make having Boban on the floor work for them.
He’s too offensively talented and too big. No bench player can guard Boban. Not too many starters can, either. Period. I’d be shocked if Boban didn’t play at least darn near 70 games.
Sure, while there may (will) be times when Jon Leuer or new agile big Eric Moreland make more sense on the floor, I’ll be sad when Van Gundy overthinks things — opting to not, as I said earlier, make teams pay for not having any of their own trees to match up against Detroit’s Barbarian.
So finally, if you can see the Barbarian ON THE COURT DURING AN ACTUAL GAME being fed basketballs for him to then feed to the basket, then, by golly, you might just melt from all your excitement. Life is going to be good with Boban actually playing basketball for Detroit more than once every two weeks.
STANLEY JOHNSON making the most of his chance to shine
Originally Stanley was going to be left off this list, but because of the 86-point game, I’m taking the bait.
He’s now the favorite to lead the
team league in scoring, you read it here first.
The more likely outcome is we see an 8.6 points per game average out of the 21-year-old, which depending on his shooting efficiency, may be palatable enough and be a nice boost for Detroit to be a playoff team. With no Morris, Stanley must step up on offense. We know he’s a willing defender and will keep improving there. I know there’s many Stanimal fans out there who still think he’s going to be something. I tend to think he will be too. Though, for sure his numbers from last season say that he has a long way to go.
If you can see Stanley making better reads on offense (and using his powerful body!) and actually knocking down more open opportunities, it’s certain that you will have good reason be very satisfied and excited. Maybe you’ll be beside yourself. It sure can’t get any worse than last season for Stanley.
What’s your main reason for being excited this upcoming Detroit Pistons season?