The 2015-16 NBA season starts soon, preseason hoops are in full swing, and playoff prognostications have begun in earnest. Because season previews can get bogged down by team-specific minutiae, and we cover every basketball team, we’re providing our readers reasons why you should care about all 30 teams in the Association.
Stan Van Gundy has got another playmaker now in Reggie Jackson. But can the moody former Thunder guard really help usher in a possible mid-aught Pistons renaissance? Are the Pistons — pause — a playoff team? Letting Greg Monroe walk was smart, even if some scouts disagree, but will it really open things up as much as we’re imagining?
The floor was just super cramped in Detroit the last two years, particularly when Josh Smith was jockeying with Monroe and Andre Drummond for position. Smoove was waived last season, and the Pistons elected not to go after Monroe in free agency. Greg was offered a max deal by at least four teams, and decided to go with playoff-ready Milwaukee, but the Pistons are looking elsewhere for their offense now. It starts in their backcourt, and at center.
Stan found a lot of success back in Orlando with a team consisting of peak Dwight Howard, and four shooters — specifically guys like Hedo Turkoglu who could handle the ball and were tall enough to match up against opposing fours. We’re not saying SVG invented small ball or anything, but he knew his personnel would work best with four shooters around Dwight, keeping lanes open for dribble drives off the pick-and-roll and to feed the big man.
He might have that again after dealing for Ersan Ilyasova. But before he can implement his high-low offensive plan around Andre Drummond (another imposing big who can’t shoot free throws, so you can be sure SVG will be just as annoyed as ever), they’ll have to figure out their backcourt situation, which is dicier than you might think.
Reggie has looked pretty bad in preseason play, especially in the pick-and-roll half-court that’s so effective in the modern game. If he continues to flounder, when Brandon Jennings comes back — no earlier than mid-November — there could be a power struggle for control of the first-team’s offense.