There aren’t official awards on a team-by-team basis, but for the second year in a row we’re using the outline of the major awards given by the NBA at the end of the season to predict which players might stand out in certain situations for our very own Detroit Pistons. Who will be our MVP? Our Sixth Man? Defensive Player of the Year?
As with the NBA Awards Part 1, 2, and 3, we gave our writers each three votes, No. 1 being worth 5 points, No. 2 worth 3 points, and No. 3 worth a single point. The number of No. 1 votes is in parentheses.
Most Improved Player:
1 - Stanley Johnson: (6) 35
2 - Reggie Jackson: (1) 17
3 - Boban Marjanovic: 8
Henry Ellenson: 6, Andre Drummond: (1) 5, Reggie Bullock: 1, Avery Bradley: 1
Unsurprisingly, Stanley ran away with this one. The Pistons need him to run away with whatever role he’s given - this is a critical (if not make-or-break) year for him. He regressed across the board last season, but Stan Van Gundy let it be known he wasn’t allowing Stanley to rely on the ultra physical bully-ball style he was accustomed to leading up to his arrival in the NBA. Has Stanley learned enough from SVG to play a new way, or will SVG allow him to revert back a bit in order to find a compromise? We’ll see. (Last year: Stanley Johnson)
Sixth Man of the Year:
1 - Boban Marjanovich: (3) 21
2 - Jon Leuer: (1) 13
3 - Langston Galloway: (2) 11
Ish Smith: (1) 10, Tobias Harris: (1) 9, Reggie Bullock: 7
Release the Boban! The time has finally come my friends. We will finally see if the Per-36 legend is the real deal over real minutes. Pistons fans want him to be: He’s the most likable guy by far on the team (In the league?). In a way, it’s perfect that his inclusion in the regular rotation coincides with the new arena, and hopefully, bigger crowds. He will get the crowd on their feet like none other on this squad. (Last year: Stanley Johnson)
Defensive Player of the Year:
1 - Avery Bradley: (8) 40
2 - Stanley Johnson: 20
3 - Andre Drummond: 6
Boban Marjanovic: 3, Jon Leuer: 1, Eric Moreland: 1, Ish Smith: 1
This is chiefly what Bradley was brought on board for: Defense. The hope is that not only does he continue to be a lockdown on-ball defender, but that his defensive effort proves to be contagious. We want Stanley and Andre to be in this conversation at the end of the year too, with the rest of the team nipping at their heels. (Last year: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope)
1 - Avery Bradley: (3) 25
2 - Tobias Harris: (1) 19
3 - Andre Drummond: (2) 17
Reggie Jackson: (2) 10, Boban Marjanovic: 2
Bradley comes out the winner here too, and this is entirely possible if he embraces the larger role Stan seems to have envisioned for him: Defensive stopper, floor leader, locker room presence. If he can provide all of that while improving/maintaining his ability to stretch the floor and getting into the paint, he will not only deserve an MVP, he’ll deserve a fat contract. (Last year: Andre Drummond)
Best New Addition:
1 - Avery Bradley: (8) 40
2 - Luke Kennard: 22
3 - Langston Galloway: 7
Anthony Tolliver: 3, Eric Moreland: 1, Little Caesar’s Arena: 1
Bradley sweeps this category too, unsurprisingly. He is the best new addition because there needed to be at least one new player in the starting 5 or this team is essentially where it was last year. Stan assured an improved KCP by essentially trading for an actualized version of him, and also got a more mature character as well. This was a huge role of the dice but the hope that in retrospect one that looks like pure genius.
(Editor’s Note: Shoutout to whoever voted for LCA. A more lively downtown crowd could make the difference for those random Wednesday games in January.)
Worst New Addition:
This was shaping up to be piling on the new guys at the end of the bench and the guys on two-way contracts, so we axed it. My favorite vote-getter, though, had to be Kid Rock’s restaurant at Little Caesar’s Arena.
What do you all think? Do you agree with our predictions? Copy/paste the list and fill in your top three in each category.
Most Improved Player
6th Man of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Best New Addition