Why the Detroit Pistons will make the playoffs

detroit pistons head coach stan van gundy

Yes, it’s early, but Stan Van Gundy has this group playing well together. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

You could almost see this coming from the Detroit Pistons.

Stan Van Gundy isn’t the type of coach who takes to losing easily, and with the steadily-improving Tobias Harris, one of the best defensive guards in the league in Avery Bradley, and another year of improvement from the still just 24-year-old Andre Drummond, this team looks like the real deal.

At 8-3, the Pistons might be the league’s most pleasant surprise. Detroit owns wins over the Warriors in Oakland (115-107), the Clippers in L.A. (95-87), Minnesota and Milwaukee at home. They’ve won six of seven, and will host Atlanta on Friday night (should be another W).

Deeeee-troit Basketball is getting it done with defense. Of course a Stan Van team is going to be tough on defense, and these Pistons are, ranking 8th in points allowed.  

But they’re also much-improved on offense, which is the primary reason for the turnaround

The offensive uptick is thanks in large part to Tobias Harris, who’s become the go-to-scorer for this squad. He’s averaging a team-high 20 ppg and has dropped 34 on the Wolves and 27 on the Hornets this year.

Just check out his performance against the Pacers earlier this week:

His job description has been to get buckets (what a great job description), and that’s exactly what he’s doing, shooting at 43% from the field and a career-best 47% from three.

Detroit ranks 10th in the league in team field goal percentage, and 11th in three-point percentage.

Of course, a lot of the Pistons’ success will revolve around Drummond, who’s averaging 14 points and a gaudy 15 boards per game. His free throw numbers look like a typo, up to 63.8% thus far, from 38.6 last year.

They didn’t add much from a 37-win team in 2017, but after making the playoffs in 2016 (44 wins), this has the look of a bounce-back year for Detroit.

Stan Van Gundy always gets the most out of his talent, and this club has enough of it to stick around–and have a shot at winning a round come springtime.

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