With another disappointing season in the books for the ailing Detroit Pistons, it is clear that a turnaround is in order. With lofty playoff expectations looming throughout the Motor City over the summer, the Pistons were almost a lock to capture that eighth spot in the Eastern Conference even before playing their first regular-season game. Although they managed to hold that ninth spot in the East for a while, they ultimately failed to play their way into postseason contention for the fifth time in six years.
When former Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith was acquired by the team during the offseason, it was expected that he would become the most important player on the 2013-14 Pistons roster. As the NBA season unfolded, however, that role turned out to belong to starting center Andre Drummond. Drummond’s spectacular rebounding abilities and athletic prowess helped him garner the most spotlight of any other Pistons player this year.
Drummond, only 20 years of age, forced his way into the ranks of the NBA elite, giving basketball fans and spectators no choice but to mention him among the likes of All-Star centers such as Dwight Howard. Drummond, unforgettably, provided Detroit with the highlight of the season when he posterized NBA veteran Elton Brand with a thunderous dunk that made the usually animated Rasheed Wallace express his approval with excitement from the sideline.
Maurice Cheeks was counted on to be the team’s X-factor, but an uninspired first half led to an early, and untimely, mid-season exit. Point guard Brandon Jennings, who, along with Smith, was expected to cause Mo Cheeks the most problems this year, actually expressed his surprise and disappointment upon learning of the coach’s firing. Even though Cheeks and Smith did indeed have their confrontational spats from time to time, Smith, usually a power forward, was also dealing with the challenge of converting to small forward. To his credit, Cheeks did give Kyle Singler, who usually comes off the bench, a spot on the team’s starting lineup and Singler delivered. It was still not enough when all was said and done.
Dumars stepping down during the last week of the regular season was an almost fitting end to what was a disastrous 2013-14 campaign for the Pistons. Dumars, the former team president and general manager for the franchise, was likely on his way out anyway. His departure came just weeks after he participated in a 25-year anniversary celebration of the 1989 NBA championship season that he, along with the Bad Boys, had as a player for Detroit.
Tom Gores, the owner of the struggling franchise, is now in charge of filling those newly vacant front office positions and finding a head coach for the upcoming NBA season.