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How to measure success for the Detroit Pistons in 2017-18?

Do number of wins mean everything? Definitely not.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA season tips off in about 38 days. It seems to be taking forever to get here, but eventually it will arrive. Once it gets down to around 10 days left it will then speed up and bang, it’ll be here. So hang in there.

Now, there’s an important question that has come up that we should look at regarding this upcoming Pistons season. Answers will undoubtedly vary and that’s probably not a bad thing. The question is — and it’s been bounced around in comment threads here for months and months — how to measure success for the Detroit Pistons this 2017-18 season?

Reach a certain win total?

I’ve seen 50 wins as the highest total. Winning 50 games or very close to that would surely count as a success, unless Detroit was swept in the first round of the playoffs. Can you imagine thinking the season was successful if Detroit won 50 games but then was swept by, say, the Charlotte Hornets or Miami Heat in the first round? Unless there was a major injury for the Pistons, there wouldn’t be any feelings of success with that kind of ending.

Finish with a certain seed? (with the Eastern Conference looking extremely weak)

Nothing less than a top 6 seed or it’s a failure? There’s a slight dilemma however. What if Detroit got that 6th seed but they only won 40 games? So at that point who really cares about the seed. You won 40 games - get that under .500 stuff outta here. It might very well happen that the East has a bunch of teams in that 34-40 win range, having the 6th, 7th and 8th seeds all finish at or below .500 perhaps.

Ok, no more math talk or my head will start to hurt.

Young players mature and improve parts of their game?

Stanley Johnson’s time to shine has arrived it seems. It would be just in the nick of time. Tobias Harris develops a killer instinct and becomes a legit problem in the league? How about this Andre Drummond guy? He has a few things to work on I think. Can Henry Ellenson show something in his second season? Would be really stellar knowing who the power forward of the future was going to be.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Have leaders emerge who are part of the nucleus?

Perhaps Tobias Harris rises as a leader. Maybe Stanley Johnson really blows up and he too becomes an actual leader. Does Andre Drummond have maturity or leadership in him? At least we know Avery Bradley will work his tail off. But does his energy and winning mentality rub off on the team?

Win a playoff game?

Playoffs AND win? What’s that? Though, what if the Pistons sneaked into the playoffs as an 8th seed by winning 38 games? Is winning one playoff game still considered a success then? I don’t know, but I just might take it.

Ish Smith learns how to shoot?

Well, if that happened then hell yes it would be a success. Reggie who? Reggie gone.

Boban Marjanovic becomes a household name?

Reminder to self: I need to grab a Boban jersey real soon, you know, before it becomes the “in” thing to do.

Better game day suit-game from assistant coach Tim Hardaway?

Low bar?

Pull off the subtlest of tank jobs and have our version of The Process truly begin?

...plot twist.


In case you were curious how CBS Sports’ writer James Herbert felt about how Eastern Conference teams should measure success for this upcoming season, then check out the link.

Here’s what James wrote for the Pistons:

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons need re-establish themselves as playoff-worthy or chart a new course. Last year's slide was inexcusable even when you consider the wide-ranging impact of Reggie Jackson's preseason knee injury, and now there is a great deal of pressure to get back on the right track with a healthy Jackson and Andre Drummond leading the way. If those two running the pick-and-roll can't be the backbone of an elite offense, and if Drummond doesn't show improvement on defense, then the front office must ship one or both elsewhere. The mediocre record and bad vibes of last season were either aberrational or indicative of something being fundamentally broken -- ideally, it's the former, but the organization also needs to be ready to accept the latter and act accordingly. This team should be judged by whether or not it plays with spirit and conviction; if it doesn't do that in the first month or two, management has to find other players who will.

James hit the nail on the head. Crushed it square. Especially this part:

This team should be judged by whether or not it plays with spirit and conviction; if it doesn't do that in the first month or two, management has to find other players who will.

We should then add another question to the above list about how to measure success for the Pistons this upcoming season.

Play with spirit and conviction?

Yes, I would definitely take it. And unless your memory of just last season isn’t too clear, I know everyone reading this would take it too. For me, I wouldn’t even care how many games the Pistons won. Everything would shake out exactly as it should.


So Pistons fans, what do you all say? What do the Pistons have to do this season to be considered a success?