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Taking stab at Pistons starters… Caldwell-Pope in mix?

Aug 26, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

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Maurice Cheeks has one of the tougher coaching jobs in the NBA this season.

While the NBA zigged toward efficiency and advanced stats, Joe Dumars zagged and built a roster with players other teams were hesitant on — Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings mainly. The Pistons got better but the question is how much better? Playoff better? Their defense will be good, but on offense they will face defenses that pack the paint and dare them to shoot jumpers.

So who does Cheeks start on these new-look Pistons? Vince Ellis at the Detroit Free Press took a stab at it.

C: Andre Drummond: Probably works better with Jennings.
PF: Greg Monroe: Team hopes he fits with Drummond.
SF: Josh Smith: Crowded paint still a concern.
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Skill set better with the starters.
PG: Brandon Jennings: Make no mistake — he will be the starter.
C: Monroe: Could be his best position.
PF: Smith: Could lessen spacing issues here.
SF: Luigi Datome: Shooting desperately needed.
SG: Rodney Stuckey: Probably more effective off bench.
PG: Chauncey Billups: Will probably get 20 minutes per game.

Caldwell-Pope becomes a key linchpin as a rookie in this scenario — the problem is that Drummond and Monroe can’t really score much outside eight feet, and frankly neither does Josh Smith but he’ll happily shoot from there despite hitting 30.5 percent from the midrange and 30.3 percent from three last season. The Pistons need floor spacing and Jennings isn’t going to bring it with his 38.4 percent from the midrange or his step-back three.

Caldwell-Pope and Datome have to provide shooting to make this work. They become key to the team’s success. So the rookie starts and on a team of bigger stars he will be important.

  1. bougin89 - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Jennings should be more efficient because he won’t have to take so many “bad shots” like he had to on the Bucks…smh

    Jennings has the talent to be a good PG. Too bad good PG’s usually aren’t incredibly lazy on defense, afraid to finish at the rim, and have spurts where they take too many dribbles and then toss up a 28 footer.

  2. dezglobal - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Sounds about right. KCP might have a solid year playing w a bunch of talent around him. This is the first season in years that the Pistons might be pretty entertaining to watch.

  3. spursareold - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    I wonder if it will take the Detroit FO and coaching staff as long as it took ATL to figure out that Josh Smith IS NOT A SMALL FORWARD.

    • bougin89 - Aug 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      You’d think after a few 18 foot and further out jump shots from Smith when he isn’t feeling it and they’ll realize quickly that this guy needs to play a lot closer to the basket. You’d think…

  4. Brian Kronner - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    They couldn’t score in 03-04 either…

    • Kevin S. - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      Nobody could. Dallas lead the league in points/possession that season with a mark that would have been dead last last year. The Pistons were a little below average on a per-possession basis, and it looked even worse because LB had them playing at such a slow pace, but that team played legendary defense, something that’s distinctly unlikely from this crew.

  5. weaselpuppy - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    I think you’ll see will Bynum in that rotation as well at least 10 minutes a night, when Drummond is on the court. They had great chemistry last year and ran the pick and lob dunk extremely well. Bynum can get his own shot, gets off the pick to the bucket well ( Helloooo Brandon Knight) and is a sparkplug, energy wise. I don’t think Chauncey sees 20 minutes…12-15 more likely.

    KCP in the starting lineup makes sense, they need a deep ball on that setup and spacing.

    Upside? 6th in the East and a 1st rd upset of the Knicks. Downside is a year of making the part sfit and a near miss on the playoffs. Likely 7th seed.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:47 PM

      6th seed won’t be high enough to earn the right to play the Knicks.

  6. 00maltliquor - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    So much for Chauncy wanting and thinking he’s gonna start!

  7. snipedanglecelly13 - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Gonna be awesome to watch the pistons this year, but the bottomless popcorn and pop will probably be gone tho…lol

  8. 00maltliquor - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Some time should go to Will Bynum too. He’s too good to be buried on the bench. And Singler over Datome. Does the once promising Jerebko get a shot at backup PF too? And why the hell did they not amnesty CV? It still looks like he will be making GOBS of federal reserve notes just to keep the bench warm.

    My prediction: 8th seed. Comfortably, with very little to no fight from the 9th and 10th seeds.

  9. weaselpuppy - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    CV is good trade bait for a deadline deal. He’s the guy who has gotten the least out of his talent in the last decade, but his 3pt% is pretty good. Bout all he does though.

    Datome could see 20 minutes a game at SF. He’s a fantastic shooter.

    JJ is hustle depth.

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