Last Year’s Record: 64-18
Key Losses: Ben Wallace, Maurice Evans, Tony Delk, and Kelvin Cato if he counts.
Key Additions: Nazr Mohammed, Flip Murray, Ronald Dupree, Will Blalock
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
The core of the team is almost unchanged but the Pistons were dealt a huge blow when Ben Wallace didn’t resign with the Pistons. Not willing to bog down the team with a huge contract for Ben, Joe Dumars set his sights on quickly replacing him with free agent center Nazr Mohammed. Though not the defender that Wallace is, Nazr brings much needed offence to the to the center position.
Flip Murray was another free agent pick up that puts instant offence on the bench. Flip will play behind Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton. When he’s hot, Flip can score in numbers.
Lindsey Hunter will also be back this season, he signed a two year deal this summer to add to the Pistons guard rotation. Also former Piston and fan favorite Ronald “Super Dupe” Dupree is back to add some more insurance off the bench.
The Pistons picked up Iowa point guard Will Blalock with the last pick in the 2006 draft. Maurice Evans was traded on draft day for the Lakers draft pick 7 foot 1 Chiek Samb from Senegal. Blalock will most likely play most season in the NBDL and Samb will develop his skills in Europe this season.
The Pistons also added two proven winners to the coaching staff, Terry Porter and Dave Cowens. It might be just what Flip Suanders needs to help him figure out how to incorporate the bench this season.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Having four former All Stars and one player that is on the verge of making the squad is the Pistons biggest strength. This is a team of proven winners who know how to get the job done. Chauncey Billups who had an MVP like season last year, Richard Hamilton who was the team’s leading scorer, Tayshaun Prince who all but carried the team in the playoffs and one of the best power forwards in the league in Rasheed Wallace. Not to mention a former All Star in Antionio McDyess coming off the bench, that’s what you call strength in numbers. They know each other and they know how to get the job done.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
For the past couple of seasons I would have said that the Pistons bench was their biggest weakness but their biggest challenge is going to be learning how to adapt to playing without Big Ben in the middle. They have to adjust to a new system and go from a defensive team to primarily an offensive one, one of the reasons why Ben bolted. Getting used to their new direction, new teammates and playing with a bigger rotation is going to be their biggest hurdle.
4. What are the goals for this team?
This Pistons team goes into each season with the same goal, The NBA Championship. Having the best record in the league last season and then having a playoff meltdown, really left a bad taste with the Pistons. With everyone counting them out now that they lost Ben Wallace, the Pistons really have something to prove. They want to prove that they are still an elite team and nothing less than a title will be good enough.
5. Will they win it all?
Just like the team themselves I go into each season predicting a title, so if you’re asking me the Pistons win it all this season.
6. Why won’t they?
If the Pistons new offensive direction and the change in defensive tactics don’t get the job done the Pistons will be in trouble. They must all be on their games and gelling together as a team to win it all.
Predicted Record: 57-25