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Sunday, 24 September 2017 18:22

Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics: CLNS Celtics Newsfeed's 2017-18 NBA Season Preview

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Boston Celtics Newsfeed 2017-18 NBA Season Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons| Powered by CLNS Media 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Detroit Pistons finished last year with a 37-45 mark, falling short of the playoffs with a 10th place finish in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons finished 1-3 against the Celtics last year. However all three losses were fairly close, with the aggregate deficit only 12 points. The Pistons’ sole win against the Celts last year occurred on November 30th in a 121-114 victory. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had one of his best games of the year that night as he poured in 25 points.  

The side effect of the blockbuster Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade was that the Celtics had to make a hard decision on Avery Bradley’s soon to be expiring contract. One of the most likeable athletes in the entire city of Boston, Bradley was on a very team-friendly, 4-year, $32 million contract he inked several years ago. With that deal set to expire in a year, and Bradley likely seeking a contract north of $100 million, Danny Ainge and the Celtics were left with no choice but to trade him. And the beneficiary of this predicament was none other than Detroit.  

With star guard Reggie Jackson saddled with injuries a year ago (he only played in 50 games), the Pistons struggled mightily from behind the arc -- a recipe for disaster in today’s NBA. Bradley, who is known as a defensive wiz first, has become a significantly more reliable long-range shooter -- particularly from the corner. He is a major improvement upon Ish Smith, whose production last year was quite inadequate while Jackson was sidelined.  Even with the addition of Bradley, there are serious questions about the team’s perimeter shooting and if there are enough complementary scorers to play with Drummond. So the big question going into training camp is can the Pistons, a team that shot poorly from long-distance last winter, improve this season.  

Very quiet offseason for the Pistons as they signed a pair of relatively unknown combo guards Dwight Buycks, who has only 20 games of NBA experience and Langston Galloway, a journeyman guard who comes over Sacramento. The loss of Caldwell-Pope to the Lakers stings as it seems like he was carving out his niche in Detroit’s backcourt while consistently scoring in double figures every night.  

There is reason to be optimistic in Motown, and not just because the team is moving into their sparkling new facility, Little Caesars Arena. For one, their two franchise players, Jackson and Andre Drummond, had down seasons last year. These guys are only in their mid-twenties, so barring any significant injuries, odds are they will bounce back. The second reason is that this summer, the East got significantly weaker. Paul Milsap, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler have gone westward. The potential for teams like Atlanta, Indiana, and Chicago to regress this year opens up the possibility for Detroit to sneak into the playoffs as a lower-level seed. And of course Drummond, when healthy, is still one of the game’s most dominant big men.  

The Pistons could very well give the Celtics some close games when they meet this year. Like many of Stan Van Gundy’s teams, Detroit is built on their stout defense, which could keep Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in check. First match-up is Monday November 27th in Boston, at which point we should have a better feel for just how competitive the Pistons will be in the Eastern Conference this year. It will be interesting to see how Bradley and Marcus Morris play against their old teams for the first time that evening.  Come April, there is a very good chance that these teams could meet in the first round with the Celtics landing at No.1 or No.2 and the Pistons sliding in at No.8 or No.7.  

However, that’s their ceiling. This is not a team that will pose a significant threat to advance far in the Eastern Conference playoffs, should they even be fortunate enough to make it. There is too big of a talent gap between them and top tier teams such as Boston and Cleveland, or even a team like Toronto for that matter.  

Prediction: 42-40, 7th in Eastern Conference