'Transition' season gets under way for Pistons

BY foxsports • November 9, 2009

By Ryan Field
Fox Sports Detroit

Ahhh, here we go again. Another season of Pistons basketball is finally upon us, and there is a lot to be excited about. Team President Joe Dumars put it best when he talked about how for so many years, you knew how the script was going to play out. The Pistons were one of the best teams in the NBA, you knew they were going to go deep into the playoffs, with a great chance of winning the whole thing. That was then.

Now, as Dumars points out, we don't have any idea how this script will read. The Pistons have 8 new faces on the roster (2 familiar ones have returned in Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins), plus a rookie head coach to boot. Dumars big free agent splash came in one day, when he landed both Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueava. Throw in Chris Wilcox and three fresh-faced rookies, and you have a complete roster turnover.

What does all this mean?  We're not sure just yet, and that's the exciting part. Based on their 22 point win in Memphis in the opener, the Pistons will be, if nothing else, very fun to watch this season. John Kuester wants to push the tempo and he has the horses to do it. This Pistons team is not short on firepower, and should be able to score in bunches.

The question is, as we've heard all preseason long, can they defend enough to win? Individually, the Pistons are not a great defensive team, even with the return of Wallace to man the middle. But collectively, and this is the key in the NBA, they can be just fine. Defense in the pro's is more about schemes, and buying into team principle's and philosophies. Kuester has preached it since day one, and has harped on it ever since. What we saw in the opener was a solid collective effort against a Memphis team not short on firepower either. If the Pistons can set that same defensive tone throughout the course of the season, they could be a 5 or 6 seed in the East.

I'm predicting 44 wins, good for 6th or 7th in the East, barring a mid-season trade that could change everything. Either way, lets sit back and enjoy the ride, one that used to be so much more familiar, but is now even more exciting because it feels like a ride we've never been on before.