The Detroit Pistons finished just one win clear of last place in the Eastern Conference last season, but they continued to progress with their young roster.
The 2021/22 campaign was the first after Detroit landed Cade Cunningham with the top pick in the draft and he recovered from a slow start to eventually find his feet as the season progressed.
Detroit stacked more talent onto their pile of prospects in the latest draft. They enter this season with one of the youngest rosters of any side, but the raw potential they have is undeniable.
|What:||NBA Season 2022/23|
|Where:||USA and Canada|
|When:||18th October 2022 - June 2023|
|How to watch:||Sky Sports, NBA Pass, bet365's Sports Live Streaming|
|Odds:||GS Warriors 6/1, MIL Bucks 13/2, LA Clippers 13/2, BOS Celtics 13/2, BKN Nets|
There's been plenty of change in Detroit this offseason, as front office chief Troy Weaver continued his 'restoration project'. They've managed to get younger, add more experience and take on more draft picks while cutting the wage bill, so it's hard to fault their business.
The headline departure was Jerami Grant, clearing a big contract with a bigger looming extension off their books. The team added Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel in trades, but that trio were taken on in exchange for future draft picks.
The Pistons were the surprise landing spot for Bojan Bogdanovic, who was part of the Utah Jazz's firesale this offseason. The Pistons didn't even have to give up a draft pick in the deal, losing only Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee. The Croatian is a solid NBA contributor who gives the Pistons much-needed experience, while they got him for next to nothing.
The Pistons have focused their rebuild around the draft, adding Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes in recent years. They were able to land highly-rated guard Jaden Ivey with the fifth pick this time around, while they traded into 13th to take Jalen Duren.
The Pistons keep adding great prospects and they now have one of the most exciting rosters in the league, with an average age of just 24. Four of their top five starters last season are aged 23 or under, with three of them just 21.
Both Ivey and Duren are likely to slot straight into the rotation, with the team slowly building an impressive future starting five. Expect them to get plenty of minutes together, which makes the Pistons an exciting prospect to watch next term.
While this is a young side growing together, Cade Cunningham remains their standout star. He already looks accomplished as a lead guard, which is a difficult thing to get used to as a young player in the league.
He did have some issues early in his debut season, but things clicked for Cade in the final weeks of the season. In March and April, he averaged 21.2 points per game and 6.7 assists, shooting at 46.2 per-cent from the field.
If he can continue that improvement, then Cade could be a contender for Most Improved Player this season. The guard comes into the campaign priced at to win that award and he clearly has enough potential to make a big jump this year. As the Pistons' chief creator and ball-handler, coach Dwane Casey is giving him every opportunity to grow into a future star.
The Pistons have a soft opening schedule, giving them the chance to get some wins on the board early on. They start things off at home to the Orlando Magic, where they are favourites to claim a victory.
After that they head out on the road to face the New York Knicks, the Indiana Pacers, and Washington Wizards. Things get tougher following that, with the Hawks, Warriors and Bucks next up across a five-game run.
The Pistons are expected to take a step forward this year, having loaded up on even more young talent.
Bogdanovic was clearly targeted by the front office to help deliver results for this team, so the minimum expectation is for the Pistons to better last year's win total.
With the sides in the Play-in mix in the East not looking all that competitive, there's a chance for the Pistons to climb up the standings this season, especially if Cade kicks on from last season's strong finish.Safer Gambling Week (17-23 October) – Let’s talk about safer gambling. Click here for more information on independent resources. Gamble Responsibly.