After missing the playoffs this season, the Detroit Pistons have some imminent changes to make during the offseason in order to improve from their struggles.
The Detroit Pistons didn’t have the best season. They had a disastrous season. Their stars became unreliable (specifically Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson). Their defense was inconsistent and they finished the season with a losing record of 37-45.
Additionally, the Pistons decided to shut down one of their biggest stars (who has been detrimental to the team this season), Reggie Jackson, when there were four games left in the season. The hope is to allow Jackson to focus on next season and consider his struggles.
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Thus, the Pistons were doomed this season. Compared to last season, the Pistons won seven fewer games than last season, when they proved to be contenders in the Eastern Conference and played a competitive playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But head coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t ready for their struggles to define his team. In a press conference on Friday, Van Gundy mentioned that his team is ready to move forward.
“We’ve got the makings of a good basketball team, and we’ve got to come back and have a better year,” Van Gundy said. “Look, it happens. You look at Washington and Milwaukee — good teams two years ago, playoff teams, and last year not in the playoffs. Especially in Washington’s case, no real significant additions or anything and they’re back to being a good team.”
Van Gundy is right. The Pistons aren’t going to be in this position forever. But they will be if imminent changes aren’t made during the offseason. Shutting down Jackson was a step in the right direction.
Although the Pistons had many problems this season, Jackson was at the core of it. Jackson missed the first 21 games of the season due to a left knee injury. The Pistons were worse when he came back and his presence on the court was detrimental to the overall success of the team.
So shutting him down was the best way for him to focus and get prepared for next season. This was especially true because he has three more years left in his contract.
That leaves changes to be made for other players on the roster. That is the main change that the Pistons need. However, the change depends on their decision whether to keep Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason.
If the Pistons decide to keep him, they will be over the cap space and nearing the luxury tax. If they don’t, they’ll have room to bring in new pieces.
Although Caldwell-Pope can hit the occassional three-pointer and be a great defender, he’s only shooting about 40 percent from the floor and 35 percent on three-pointers. Thus, the Pistons do have the opportunity to make key roster changes.
Approaching next season will be a challenge for the Pistons. They will either decline even worse than they did this season or they will adjust to different changes on their roster and being in their new arena in Detroit.