Flip Saunders got run out of the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, so his succeeding like he is with the Pistons is somewhat startling. Nobody thought they would win less than 50, but now they seem poised to win 60. If it’s true that the balance of power really has shifted to the East, then the first team it’s shifting to is the Detroit Pistons.
Defensively they are the best in the East. Little has changed for Detroit who allow 91.4 a game. Even under Saunders, who was a big-time user of the zone defense in Minnesota, the Pistons starters only defend man-to-man, and with a 14-2 record who can complain? The Pistons can adapt both offensively and defensively to other teams pace, and play at their level, whether it’s 106 against Golden State or 85 against Portland.
The real shocker is offensively, where Detroit is outscoring their opponents by League high 7.9 points. 99.3 PPG would never even be a possibility under Larry Brown. Richard Hamilton is leading the NBA in 3P%, and Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups make up a team #2 in 3-pt shooting. Also impressive is the assist column where the Pistons are again second in the NBA. As we’ve seen in their two losses, the only real way to beat the Pistons is to blow them out early. In a close game, this team does all little things: making foul shots, hitting the clutch jumper, and just regular coming up big like you’d expect.
Antonio McDyess is a strong bench player who evens out with the Rasheed and Ben Wallace when they are out of the game. Other than him, the Darko-filled bench is rather thin. Arroyo has surpassed Lindsay Hunter as backup PG to pikakasinot engage in Flip Saunders’ offense. Detroit started off 19-20 in 01-02, then went on a tare and finished 50-32. Last year they started off 7-8 and were scoring about 91 a game, then they went to the Finals. Detroit has been a slow-starting team in the last half-decade, but to start off this good means they’ll really finish strong.
With Shaq injured, not much is standing in their way in the East. Rarely has there been an NBA team to function so fluently on offense and perform even better on defense. The Kobe-Shaq Lakers were the team that would draw sellouts and high attendances from the home teams they were visiting. The Detroit Pistons are slowly but surely becoming the number one nemesis of the NBA. The Spurs are too fundamental, too solemn to really piss fans off when they win. When you see Rasheed Wallace taunt players after making a 4th quarter shot, you start to hate the Pistons.
Because of the public fascination with the Miami Heat, the Piston’s odds to win the Eastern Conference Championship is still very good at the top sports betting sites and we advise you to take them to the bank.