2008-2009 Detroit Pistons Season Preview
2008 Detroit Pistons preview from MadduxSports.com. After reading be sure to view today's NBA point spread odds for the scheduled games.
The Detroit Pistons (59- 23) won the NBA Championship in 2004 and have not been able to come close again. Every post-season since they took the title, they have lost in game six of the conference finals. Last season, the team from Motown was tough to beat in the regular-season, but when push came to shove in the playoffs, they were unable to come through. In the regular-season, Detroit put up a tough defense, at times making it impossible for opponents to score on them. Leading the team in blocks were Rasheed Wallace and Jason Maxiell, while back-ups Amir Johnson and Theo Ratliff used their limited time well by stopping a large number of shots in the air. Offensive output was also stellar, with Richard Hamilton and Chancey Billups leading the way. Over the past three seasons, coach Flip Saunders has developed an effective, ball control offense.
This is a team that blocked 7.57% of opponents’ shots, leading the league and besting the NBA average by 1.66%. The Pistons were also apt at ball control partly because they played such a slow-paced game. No one accused them of being haphazard and their extreme ball control meant that opponents had less time of possession, forcing them to throw up long shots.
There’s a new coach in town as Michael Curry takes over for Saunders. Curry may not have the refined tactical mind that the former Piston coached possessed, but he’s a no nonsense guy who will keep the team in line. Draft pick Walter Sharpe comes to the Pistons with just 18 college games to his credit; he looked impressive in tryouts. The club signed backup center Kwame Brown to a two-year deal.
The frontcourt features the play of trio forward Tayshaun Prince, forward/center Rasheed Wallace and forward Antonio McDyess. Prince nailed 17.0 PPG and made 6.8 APG, while McDyess grabbed a team-leading 8.5 RPG. Wallace was good for 6.6 RPG and 12.7 PPG. The backups in the front are solid and include Maxiell who hit 54% of his tries.
The Piston guards are two of the best in the NBA. The tough and dynamic Richard Hamilton led the club in points per game (17.3) and three-point accuracy (44%) He also led all starters in field goal percentage, hitting 48%. Hamilton put up an average of 4.2 APG. But he was inconsistent last season and may find his playing time reduced as the Pistons begin working second-year guard Rodney Stuckey into the offense. Chauncey Billups hit an astounding 92% of his foul shots and 40% of his threes. The 11-year vet was good for 17.0 PPG and 6.8 APG.
The Central Division crown is just about assured. The Pistons will win their share of games and will be competitive. The club has some of the finest players in the league and they are able at both ends of the court. But it’s doubtful that they’ll have the depth to get to the conference series let alone the league finals.