DETROIT – The start of the 2022-23 NBA season is upon us, and your Detroit Pistons have created a buzz unlike any other seen in the motor city in the last decade.
Although the Pistons finished the preseason 0-4, they somehow still sold out of the newly announced teal jerseys ahead of opening night.
Everyone wants to be a part of the team’s rebuild, as Troy Weaver has put together the proper pieces over the last three drafts that have sparked interest in a season that many are already saying will be filled with more lottery picks.
Detroit finished last season with the worst record in the eastern conference at 23-59. But they will look to shed the rebuild stigma and the naysayers by becoming a playoff contender or at least make the play-in tournament behind their up-and-coming backcourt, which has been a recipe for success in years past.
In Detroit, dating back to the 1960s, as mentioned by Fab Five member Jalen Rose, his father, Jimmy Walker, and godfather, Dave Bing, tipped it off. The Bad Boys of the 80s and early 90s, with the NBA Finals MVP duo Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, kept the ball rolling.
Before you laugh, remember every team with nothing to play for this season will be tanking for French professional basketball player Victor Wembanyama. The 7′2 alien has freakish athleticism, ball-handling skills, and a silky smooth jump shot that could challenge Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.
The projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft will have a majority of the league tanking, including those fringe play-in teams in the east, which could make room for a hard-working up-in-coming team that the men in teal could represent.
The old rule in basketball is that if you want to lose games, you must start young guards like Cunningham, Ivey, and Killian Hayes, as young guards turn the ball over.
Although that statement does have some validity, if you throw in third-year heat maker Saddiq Bey who scored 51 points In a game last season, and his draft class member Isaiah Stewart who’s been stretching his game beyond the arc, then the skies are the limit for the young core.
With the length and athleticism, Detroit should provide more uptempo playmaking with rim runs and trailers drifting into the paint while transitioning up and down the floor, which could be a significant plus.
Not to mention the addition of sniper Bojan Bogdanović who will spread the floor, especially during transition, will make every team have to pick their poison.
With the injury to starting center Marvin Bagley III, the Pistons could struggle up front. But, when you have a young Dwight Howard mixed with Seattle Supersonics high flyer Shawn Kemp in Jalen Duren, the future is looking bright.
Duren, who the Pistons traded up in the 2022 draft, is the prominent big man in today’s game, as he can switch on defense and is so athletic that he can reign supreme at the rim.
Imagine Duren with Cunningham and Ivey in the pick-in-roll. As the primary ball handler last season, the Pistons used Cunningham prominently in this position as he either drove the lane for the pick and pop, the floater if the defender sagged, or the assist over the top with the guard on his hip and the big man coming to contest.
Now imagine Ivey’s athleticism in those same actions with Duren. From the looks of it, either he or Duren will be putting someone’s son, father, nephew, brother, or uncle on an unwanted poster.
The possibilities are endless, especially if Ivey goes downhill as much as possible. Or have floor spacers like Bogdanović and former Michigan Wolverines guard Isiah Livers drifting for the long ball or a healthy Bagley or former NBA Slam Dunk champion Hamidou Diallo diving to the rim for the easy bucket will be a nasty sight for defenders.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Pistons will have great size and athleticism as 1-5 will be able to switch everything. Although this is a youth movement, the team is filled with wily veterans like Nerlens Noel and Kevin Knox or savvy guards like Corey Joseph and Alec Burks to slow the tempo down to conduct the offense while also setting up and creating good shots.
A lot of this rhetoric could be blasphemous, but the foundation has been set by Weaver and head coach Dwane Casey. The vision is clear; now it’s up to the players to step up and defend why the offseason buzz is real.
How excited are you about the upcoming season? How far do you see Detroit? Do you think they will have a winning record or at least have a chance in the play-in tournament?
The Pistons’ season and home opener are Wednesday (Oct. 19) as they will 2022 No. 1 Paulo Banchero and the Orlando Magic at Little Caesars Arena. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.