Last Years Record: 53-29
Key Losses: Dale Davis, Chris Webber, Carlos Delfino
Key Additions: [Draft picks] Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo, Sammy Mejia [FA signing] Jarvis Hayes
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
Probably the team’s most significant move was the lack of player movement. After the Pistons failed to get past the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year the call went out from media and fans alike to blow up a team perceived to be at the end of its run. Joe Dumars stood pat. Joe took a look at the landscape of the league and more specifically, the Eastern Conference and knew that the current roster was still one that could contend for the spot in the NBA Finals.
But what did happen…
Carlos Delfino was traded on June 15th to the Raptors for two future second round picks (2009,2011). This move was thought by many done to make room for Grant Hill’s return to Detroit, which if that was the case backfired when Grant decided that Phoenix was his best shot at winning.
On June 29th former Piston Michael Curry was added to the coaching staff. Curry replaced Ron Harper who had a 2 year deal with the team that wasn’t renewed. The Pistons also added Jeff Weltman as Director of Basketball Adinistration. In early July we lost Director of Player Personel to Seattle where he became their assistant GM.
Joe Dumars took a trio of guards in the NBA Draft. Rodney Stuckey at #15, Arron Afflalo at #27, and Sammy Mejia at #57.
On August 16th the Pistons signed free agent Jarvis Hayes from the Washington Wizards. The Pistons think they finally have a suitable back up for Tayshaun Prince in Hayes. Hayes is a perfect example of a typical Joe Dumars signing. He’s a guy who hasn’t been able to catch on on the league and has something to prove.
Will Blalock’s days as a Pistons came to an end when the team didn’t tender a qualifying offer making him an unrestricted free agent. The team did tender a qualifying offer for Alex Acker however making him a restricted free agent.
Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell both received contract extensions locking up their future front court. They also seen enough in Cheikh Samb to purchase his contract in hope of developing him. On the subject of player development, the Pistons got a new D-League affiliate in the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants.
And lastly, free agent Chris Webber has fielded offers from several teams and even a super offer from Olympiacos of Greece, but says he only wants to play in Detroit. A deal still may be done once the roster is trimmed.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Experience/chemistry. Four of the five starters have a championship ring in common from ‘04. They know each games and tendencies on the court. This is what gives them their edge night in and night out. When the game is on the line they know what they can expect from each other which usually translates into wins.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
Complacencey. Joe Dumars has vowed to address this by infusing new blood into the rotation. The Pistons have often been their own biggest opponent. Not taking teams seriously enough and buying into the magical switch they’re just supposed to be able to flip after lack luster efforts.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Simple. Another NBA crown. Division and conference championships aren’t enough. Anything less than a title is a let down.
5. What’s the wild card for this team?
I think you have to look at Flip Saunders’ willingness to use his bench, and also the young second unit’s ability to execute and play together. Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Jarvis Hayes, and Rodney Stuckey have to be able to come in and contribute to scratch Flip’s itchy starter finger. Fatigue has been a factor in the last two title runs.
Predicted Record: 52-30