|Brandon Jennings is the newest member of the Detroit Pistons, thanks to a sign-and-trade deal. (nba.si.com)|
The 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons are now far in the rear-view mirror. That season of triumph has been replaced with years of mediocre basketball, with Detroit failing to finish above .500 the past five seasons.
As much as a team can be criticized for losing, it should also be credited for doing everything it can to get back to winning. Detroit is doing that this offseason, as the Pistons went out and got pieces that can improve an offense that finished No. 22 in the league last season. They started with veteran leader Chauncey Billups and offensive-minded Josh Smith, while also drafting potential key players in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Georgia and NCAA National Champion Peyton Siva out of Louisville.
But Detroit wasn't done yet. The Pistons agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks that will send Brandon Jennings to Detroit, while Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton (no relation to Kate) and Viacheslav Kravtsov (also no relation to Kate) head to Milwaukee.
In the span of a month, Detroit now has two players who averaged 17.5 points per game last season, more than any Detroit player did last season (Greg Monroe led the team averaging 16 per game). Compliment Jennings and Smith with players like Monroe, Andre Drummond and Rodney Stucky and this Pistons offense could be firing on all cylinders.
This doesn't mean Detroit is now an automatic playoff team. These players still need to build chemistry and prove there are enough shots to go around. But on paper, at least, this team is better than last year, and when your team has been struggling this long, that's all you can ask of the organization. Show the fans you are trying to be better. The Pistons had needs on offense, and the organization went out and filled those needs. Detroit's front office is showing it wants to get better, and that should make fans excited for the upcoming season.
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