It’s safe to say the hot streak the Pistons were on to start the season has officially ended. Since going 14-6 to start the season, the team has gone 3-8 with losses to top teams like the Warriors, Celtics, Spurs, and Wizards. It was a tough 11 game stretch, but it’s safe to say the team probably won’t finish as a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference. What’s going to be even tougher for the team to handle is Avery Bradley being out for an indefinite amount of time with a groin injury. Bradley had been one of the catalysts in the starting lineup, and without him in it, the Pistons may find themselves battling to stay in the playoff picture.
What can keep the Pistons soaring as one of the best six teams in the Eastern Conference are the efforts of Luke Kennard and Stanley Johnson. Kennard has started a few games as of late, and as long as he can provide an all-around game while not making mistakes, he’ll stay there. Johnson has found comfort playing in the second unit, and although his stats don’t show it, he’s been much more efficient. He’s also always depended on to cover one of the opposing team’s best ball handlers or scorers. We know Drummond will get his double-double, and Harris will usually be the team’s go-to guy to score, but if Kennard and Johnson can play consistent mistake-free basketball, we should remain a relevant force in the east.
Everyone is hoping Bradley makes his way back sooner rather than later, but if he’s not back it’s going to be tough to pull out games against the Spurs, 76ers and Rockets. All of whom are on the schedule the next ten games. When you throw in key conference games against the Pacers, Magic, and Knicks, it’s going to test the team’s will to win. This team is still taken seriously by teams the NBA. Still, more serious than most would have thought before game one.