The Detroit Pistons are coming into the 2019-20 season with a sense of hope. Last season, the Pistons were eliminated from the playoffs after being swept 4-0 during their first round series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Some may argue that if Blake Griffin were healthy during the playoffs, the Pistons could have made things interesting and could have potentially pulled off an upset, defeating the first seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
During the off-season, the Pistons signed point guard Derrick Rose and power forward Markieff Morris, made a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for small forward Tony Snell, and drafted Sekou Doumbouya out of France to bolster a lineup that already included All-Stars Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
The expectation this year in Detroit is to make it back to the playoffs, but how far will the Pistons go? Will they be better, the same, or even worse this upcoming season? That and more will be covered here in our top five bold predictions for the 2019-20 season.
1. Derrick Rose will supplant incumbent starter Reggie Jackson on the depth chart
This may not appear to be a bold prediction initially. Derrick Rose is coming off a season in which he averaged 18 points, 4.3 assist and 1.1 three-pointers per game. Reggie Jackson is coming off a season in which he averaged 15.4 points, 4.2 assist and a career high 2.1 three-pointers per game. So why is this a bold prediction? Derrick Rose’s health.
Rose played in 51 games last season. Meanwhile, Reggie Jackson played in all 82 games during the regular season. If it wasn’t for health concerns, this would not be a bold prediction. Rose certainly has the skill set to pass up Reggie on the depth chart, but the Pistons will make sure Rose is healthy enough for a hopeful playoff run. Having Rose fresh off the bench to manage his minutes makes sense, but there is a chance Rose can stay healthy and convince the coaching staff he’s ready for starter minutes.
In Blake Griffin’s first full season with the Pistons, he played in 75 games, the most he’s played since his 2013-14 season with the Los Angeles Clippers when he played in 80 games. If Rose can replicate Griffin’s health and play in at least 70 games, then moving Rose up the dept chart would be the smart move here.
2. Both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond make the All-Star team
Both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond have made the All-Star team in previous seasons, but they have not done it together since Blake Griffin joined Detroit during the 2017-18 season. Last year, Blake Griffin made it to the big stage and the year before, it was Andre Drummond representing the Motor City at the All-Star game. The Pistons have not had multiple All-Stars on the same team since 2008 when Chauncey (Mr. Big Shot) Billups and Richard (Rip) Hamilton made the team, representing the East.
Andre Drummond is playing for a contract, as his current contract is set to expire once the season is over. Drummond will be looking for a big pay day, so expect him to have a career year this season. Blake shouldn’t have any issues joining the team for this year’s mid-season exhibition game as long as he is healthy.
3. Detroit will receive outside help to pair up with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond
The Pistons have made it clear they want to be contenders this season. Their off-season acquisitions suggest they are in win now mode, with Blake Griffin entering this upcoming season at age 30. Assuming the Pistons doesn’t shake up their entire roster, they could put themselves in play for a player that can get them over the hump. Buddy Hield out of Sacramento is a situation worth monitoring if he and Sacramento can’t come to terms on a deal soon. Kyle Lowry is also worth monitoring if the Raptors playoff hopes evaporates right around the All-Star break. Either player could form a big three with Griffin and Drummond, and should be enough for the Pistons to make things interesting around the second round of the playoffs.
4. Dwane Casey in serious contention for coach of the year award
This is contingent on where the Pistons finish this season. Dwane Casey has already won the coach of the year award during his time with the Toronto Raptors. Ironically, he was released from the team the same year he won the award. During his first season in Detroit, Casey helped the Pistons finish 41-41, the first time the Pistons did not finish their season with a losing record since the 2015-16 season. The Pistons look to build off of last season, and right now the arrow is pointing up. How far up they rise in wins depends on their roster structure and how far their coach can take them. If Casey can kick things up a notch and help this team win above 50 games (more on this with our fifth bold prediction), he will certainly be in the discussion. The last Pistons coach to win coach of the year was current Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle , when he won the award in 2002.
5. Detroit will win over 50 games this season
A lot will have to go right for this prediction to come to fruition. This starts with keeping Blake Griffin healthy when the playoffs start. Blake Griffin has experience winning playoff games, something the Pistons have not been able to do since the 2007-08 season. Another year under Dwane Casey should also help the Pistons with continuity. Off-season key acquisitions Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris will also be able to help as veterans/leaders for some of the younger/inexperienced guys on the current roster.
If the Pistons can win above 50 games, it’s possible they can inch their way into a top four seed, and have home court advantage for the first round of the 2019-20 season. If the Pistons remain stagnant (another first round exit), then next off-season will be interesting in seeing which direction the Pistons will go heading into the 2020-21 season: do they blow it up, or continue to build?
Detroit heads into Bankers Life Fieldhouse to face the Indiana Pacers this upcoming Wednesday, October 23rd for their first game of the season.