NBA Preview: Detroit Pistons

Editor’s note: This is the 14th of Sam Amico’s look at all 30 NBA teams heading into the 2013-14 season.

Coach: Maurice Cheeks (first year with Pistons, 284-286 overall)

Last season: 29-53, did not make playoffs.

Projected starters: C Greg Monroe; PF Andre Drummond; SF Josh Smith; SG Kyle Singler; PG Brandon Jennings.

Key reserves: G Chauncey Billups; PG Will Bynum; G Rodney Stuckey; SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (r); PF Jonas Jerebko; PF Charlie Villanueva; C Josh Harrellson.

New faces: Cheeks, Smith, Jennings, Billups, Caldwell-Pope, Harrellson, F Tony Mitchell (r), PG Peyton Siva (r).

Scouting the Pistons

On paper, the roster has been upgraded in nearly every area. That includes newcomers like Smith, Jennings and Billups, as well as the natural maturation of Drummond, Monroe and even Singler …

Jennings never really lived up to the lofty, change-the-franchise expectations in Milwaukee. He proved he can run the point by compiling big assist numbers at times, but the overall book on him was he shoots too much. … That needs to change in Detroit, because the Pistons have the talent to play inside-out. …

Drummond has exceptional athleticism and size, and may possess the biggest upside of anyone on the team. … He still needs to develop some post moves, or at least a decent touch, to become a force offensively. Right now, about all he does is dunk. …

Monroe is the more-skilled of the Pistons’ big men, but he may have reached his ceiling. … Still, that’s not bad. He averaged 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game last season. … With Drummond and Smith next to him, that’s about all Monroe will need to do. …

Like Jennings, Smith has yet to prove he is more than just a guy who has the potential to really erupt for a so-so team. … His shot selection needs to get better and his effort needs to be a little more consistent. … With both of those things, he’s an All-Star. …

That may be where Billups comes in. He’s not the Billups who played here last time, but his teammates respect him, he leads by example defensively and he’s still capable of hitting big shots. Just having him on the roster is invaluable. …

Singler will never be a star but is an underrated all-around guy who fits well on a team with so many explosive players. … There will be times opponents will leave Singler alone and he’ll make them pay. … Stuckey is similar to that anymore, someone who will rarely look to score but has the capability if things get desperate. …

Hard to envision Caldwell-Pope getting enough minutes to contribute much right away. If it happens, he can hit perimeter shots. …

Cheeks has mostly been a figurehead in his previous stints. He stays out of the players’ way, which is both good and bad. This is a team with a some personalities (Jennings and Smith) that often need reeled in.

Prediction: 41-41

FOX Sports: Pistons home

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO