Detroit Pistons: Projected 2015 Starting Lineup
The Detroit Pistons have that mysterious case of loading in some of the best talent in the NBA, but still struggling consistently. Detroit has not seen a winning season since 2008, and have only had two seasons of 30 or more wins since their last playoff appearance in 2009.
The talent has been there in recent years. Names like Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, Tracy McGrady, Ben Gordon and Brandon Knight have all come and gone since then with no real impact. Their roster this season will have plenty of talent to contend for a playoff birth. The question is, will Detroit finally be able to figure it out and do it? Here is the Detroit Pistons’ projected 2015-2016 lineup.
Point Guard- Reggie Jackson: Reggie Jackson is a player that Detroit got in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and head coach Jeff Van Gundy has made it clear that Reggie is who he wants as the Pistons’ point guard for many years to come. In 27 games (all starts) with the Pistons last season, Jackson put up an impressive 17.6 points and 9.2 assists per game. This came after averaging just 12 points and four assists with the Thunder that same season. Jackson is a polished scoring point guard and is an excellent fit for the Pistons’ future.
Shooting Guard- Kentavious-Caldwell Pope: KCP was assured the position as the Pistons’ starting two last season, in what was just his second year in the NBA. Pope started all 82 games for Detroit and put up 12.7 points per game, which is not bad at all for a young player. Pope was the 8th overall pick by the Pistons in the 2013 NBA Draft after an impressive career at the University of Georgia. At just 22 years old, Pope will spend another year as Detroit’s full time starter; and will continue to develop his game and come closer to reaching his full potential. Pope can easily be a top ten shooting guard by the time he’s at his best. Question is how long will it be until he’s at his best?
Small Forward- Stanley Johnson: Perhaps the most NBA-ready player in the draft, Stanley Johnson looks to make an immediate impact with the Pistons. Johnson has all the potential in the word to be absolutely great in this league. He is an outstanding defender with great athleticism and is just a purely tough player. As a former high school football player, Johnson excels at fighting and finishing right through contact. The trio of Jackson, KCP and Stan-the-man has potential to be one of the best rounded front courts in the NBA in a few years.
Power Forward- Ersan Ilyasova: On June 11th, Detroit traded Caron Butler and Shawne Williams to Milwaukee for seven-year Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova. Ersan had a very successful career with the Bucks, averaging 10.7 points and six rebounds per game over seven years of play. Greg Monroe is a fantastic player, but Ilyasova is a much better fit to play alongside Andre Drummond. Why? Because Ersan is a 37% career three point shooter, with over 400 made threes in his career. With Monroe, the paint was just too crowded for either elite big to fully produce. Now, with Ilyasova who plays more on the perimeter, the paint is free for the monstrous Andre Drummond to fully dominate.
Center- Andre Drummond: Drummond is on the verge of becoming a top five center in the NBA. He is an absolute monster in the paint at 6’11” and nearly 280 lbs. Drummond is heading into just his fourth season in the NBA, after a season where he averaged 13 points and 13 rebounds per game for the second consecutive season. With Greg Monroe gone to Milwaukee and the paint all to himself, Drummond is set to have a monstrous season.