Several teams made a splash in free agency this summer. By most accounts, the Detroit Pistons were not one of them. Granted, they made some nice additions to their roster. Boban Marjanovich, the lumbering giant with the cartoonishly-oversized hands, should offer some help (and entertainment) in the frontcourt, while feisty point guard Ish Smith should make a solid backup for Reggie Jackson. And if anyone can figure out how to coax solid production out of those guys, it’s definitely Stan Van Gundy.
The Pistons made the postseason last spring and played the eventual champs as hard as they could (before finally getting swept), but their modest offseason moves most likely won’t be enough to get them over the hump. Don’t tell that to Jackson. He likes playing with a chip on his shoulder, which is probably a good thing given the reality in Detroit. Via Keith Langlois of NBA.com:
“I think people are looking for huge names and that’s not necessarily what Detroit’s ever done,” he said. “We do it collectively. We don’t need anyone to believe in us. We’ll still find a way. But I think we shored up our second unit and added some more versatility and some more depth. I think we’ll be scary this year. But you know what? I don’t want to talk about it too much. We’ll let the season speak for itself.”
For someone who claims he doesn’t want to talk about his team’s chances too much, Jackson certainly has done a lot of talking about it lately. Just a few weeks ago, he was quoted as saying the Pistons “can go as far as they want” next season. It’s good to have confidence, and these are just the types of mental gymnastics required to stay competitive at the highest level. For instance, Derrick Rose probably doesn’t really believe the Knicks have a chance to win every game next year anymore than Jackson thinks Detroit has a shot at the title.
Or maybe he does. Who knows? He’d be wrong about that, but it’s hard to begrudge him for using psychological games to get amped up for the coming season.