2007 Detroit Pistons Season Preview
The Pistons of Detroit took the division last season and then fell apart in the Eastern Conference finals for the second year in a row. Did Joe Dumars, the President of Basketball Operations, retool the team? Not really. He added some youth via the draft and held onto the core elements of a squad that’s one of the best in the NBA.
Even though they didn’t add any big-name guys, the Pistons are still worthy opponents. Twelve-year vet F/C Rasheed Wallace (.423 FG%, .351 3P%, .788 FT%, 7.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 12.3 PPG) lost his temper too many times last season, went past the league limit for technicals and after fouling out of game six of the conference finals went on a tirade worthy of no professional athlete. He’s 33 years old—when is he going to grow up? Tayshaun Prince (.460 FG%, .386 3P%, .768 FT%, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, 14.3 PPG) proved to be the team’s best three-point man. The Pistons are looking for third-year forwards Amir Johnson (.545 FG%, .000 3P%, .691 FT%, 6.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 8.1 PPG) and Jason Maxwell (.500 FG%, .000 3P%, .786 FT%, 4.6 RPG, 0.4 APG, 5.9 PPG) to give them quality minutes. Both guys showed marked improvement last season.
Together, Richard Hamilton (.468 FG%, .341 3P%, .861 FT%, 3.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 19.8 PPG), at swing, and Chauncy Billups (.427 FG%, .345 3P%, .883 FT%, 3.4 RPG, 7.2 APG, 17.0 PPG), at point guard, threw in an average of almost 37 PPG and dished off 11 APG in 2006- 2007. In the backcourt, the Pistons need help off the bench and are hoping that rookies Aaron Afflalo (UCLA) and Rodney Stuckey (Eastern Washington) will be ready at the top of the season.
This team will need its young guys to produce if it plans to go deep into the playoffs this season. The fact is there’s a lot more parity in the division and the conference than in the past. Additionally, the Pistons were rife with turbulent off-court tension and unchecked on-court emotions last season. A repeat of last year’s antics will see coach Flip Saunders, who’s popular with some Pistons and not popular with others, out on his ear.