For the Detroit Pistons, 2013 will mark the final year of their current rebuilding process. As the calendar flipped from 2012 to 2013, the Pistons were in the midst of an agonizing 29-53 season. The first few months of the year were very forgettable but fans began to gain some sort of hope once the season came to an end. Here are the Pistons’ most memorable moments from 2013.
#5. Setting the table
On November 17th, playing against the Los Angeles Lakers, Brandon Jennings and Andre Drummond provided Pistons fans with a glimpse of the team’s highlight-reel capabilities. As Jennings rushed the ball up the floor, he saw Drummond trailing the play and fired a pass to him off the backboard before even reaching the free-throw line. It looked like an impossible pass to even catch but Drummond caught it behind his head and threw down an amazing two-handed dunk.
#4. Mo Cheeks era begins
Detroit decided to part ways with head coach Lawrence Frank after the team posted a 54-94 record under his two-year tenure. In an attempt to solidify the position in the long run, the Pistons named Maurice Cheeks as head coach. Cheeks had previously been the head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers. Rasheed Wallace was soon named as an assistant to Cheeks as a developmental coach. Wallace, a former Piston who played under Cheeks in Portland, will be working to develop the talents of Drummond and Monroe.
#3. Josh Smith signing
The Pistons signed Josh Smith to a four-year $54 million contract on July 10th. This showed that the front office and ownership were committed to becoming immediate contenders in the Eastern Conference instead of spending another year rebuilding. It is likely that Smith will be the Pistons’ power forward moving forward since Greg Monroe’s contract expires after this season.
#2. June’s draft
As the NBA draft approached, the Pistons were lacking a true identity. Detroit’s front court was set for the future with Drummond and Monroe but the direction of the rest of the team was undecided. Fans and team personnel were questioning whether or not Brandon Knight would be the team’s point guard moving forward, leaving the draft board full of possibilities.
With the 8th overall pick, Detroit selected shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In his sophomore year at the University of Georgia, KCP averaged 18.5 points per game and shot 43.3% from the floor. Caldwell-Pope has started 26 games this season at shooting guard but has only averaged 6.9 points in 23.5 minutes per game.
Detroit could have easily drafted a point guard as Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams were still available. Both players had a higher rating and are now experiencing much more success at the professional level than Caldwell-Pope. If the Pistons were set on drafting a shooting guard, another alternative would have been to trade down and settle with Tim Hardaway Jr.
#1. Trade for Brandon Jennings
The framework of the future for the Pistons was set when the team traded Knight to the Milwaukee Bucks for another non-traditional point guard in Jennings. As the final piece to the puzzle, Jennings brings high energy and a fast pace to a young Pistons team. Even though this team is destine to be erratic at times, they are now a team that is built to be competitive in the east and a respectable challenge to the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.
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