Now that baseball has concluded, we at Bless You Boys have decided that you as fans shouldn’t have to suffer through what promises to be one of the most mundane offseason’s in recent memory for the Detroit Tigers. That’s why we’ve reached out to our Detroit SB Nation siblings to draw some attention to the other sports that are currently rocking MoTown. To kick it off, I talked to Lazarus Chance of Detroit Bad Boys about downtown Detroit’s newest tenants, the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons are currently off to a great start, sitting at 8-3 with wins over the Warriors, Clippers, Timberwolves, and Bucks. They are led by the best rebounder on the planet in Andre Drummond, and the supporting cast is the deepest it has been in years. After nearly 40 years away, the Pistons are back in the heart of the city where they belong, and have brought a new on-court energy that they will rely on to power them to the playoffs over the remaining 71 games.
Without further ado, here is Laz on the Pistons.
What’s the most positive sign from the team this year that you think will lead to sustained success throughout the season?
Last year, the Pistons were a top-10 defense because they played at a glacial pace, never gave up any transition points, and forced teams to shoot a bunch of low-value long two-pointers. This year, they are a top-15 defense because they’re playing at a glacial pace, aren’t giving up any transition points, and they’re forcing a lot (a LOT) of turnovers. The turnovers are huge – it’s the result of a more aggressive defensive style and emblematic of the energy level the Pistons are playing with on that end.
What’s your favorite aspect of the hot start?
Watching NBA media members wander around in confusion about the hot start. Reactions have varied from “I refuse to analyze them in any depth because they bore me,” (which, personally, is INFURIATING) to “They look good, but I’m not sure why,” to “They might be good.” #DetroitVsEverybody
What makes SVG the m-f'n boss that he is? Also, how is Eastwood Van Gundy?
Stan’s A boss because he’s THE boss. As President of Basketball Operations, he’s formed this team in his image – defense-first, big-man centric, and deliberate. He deserves a lot of credit for not pulling the ripcord on Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson (like plenty of fans wanted to) after the slow-moving disaster that was last year. Instead of changing the players, he changed his offensive system: Less 1-5 (point guard/center) pick-and-roll, more ball movement and player movement.
Eastwood, from all accounts, is doing good. Hasn’t tweeted in a while, though.
Avery Bradley: the most Detroit Pistons player they’ve had since the Going to Work Crew?
Oh yeah. From day one, he’s talked (quietly, as is his way) about the historical identity of the Pistons as an aggressive defensive team, and working towards that. However, he’s a lead-by-example guy. Playing against him in practice has shamed Reggie Jackson into giving a crap on defense, and playing alongside him has revitalized Stanley Johnson.
Why do the national sports pundits have no clue who Tobias Harris is?
Getting traded for relative peanuts twice in five years tends to put a damper on a guy’s perceived value. And, to be honest, for most of last season, it appeared that Stan Van Gundy had no idea who he was. Like I put it in my preview, he came off the bench for 34 games last year despite indisputably being the Pistons’ best weapon on offense on a nightly basis. This year, though, if he keeps shooting above 40 percent from three, scoring nearly 20 points a night, and the Pistons keep winning, you’ll hear his name more.
Last one, and I know it’s kind of silly, but make a case for why the city of Detroit should care about these Pistons.
This is definitely something I’ve been mulling over.
From my head, I’d remind Detroit sports fans that the Pistons are their best chance to see postseason play. It’s my understanding that the Red Wings are rebuilding, the Tigers are rebuilding (as you guys at BYB know intimately), and the Lions are a factory that have only made two things in my lifetime – Money, and Melancholy. The Pistons made the playoffs two years ago, had a season from hell last year, and look poised to make the playoffs again this season. Why not support the (best? only?) sports success story in Detroit?
From my heart, it’s a little rough. On one hand, I have been waiting for the Pistons to come downtown for a long time, but I sympathize with the fans who were closer to Auburn Hills than Detroit (if you were, say, a Pistons fan in Flint? No way you catch any games now). On the other hand, the Pistons haven’t spent time cultivating a fanbase downtown, preferring to (understandably) cultivate a fanbase closer to the Palace. Now they’re leaning on casual fans who already come downtown for the other sports teams to put them in the rotation, with the HOPE that casual basketball fans who live in the city will attend games. Eventually.
The Pistons belong in Detroit. The story of why they weren’t in Detroit is long, and convoluted, and ugly in an all-too-familiar way for anyone who is aware of the city’s divisive racial history. But, what ultimately matters is that they’re a long-lost part of the city, and having them back, even in the sloppiest, most haphazard way, helps makes the city whole.
Once again, thanks to Laz and the Detroit Bad Boys staff for taking the time to answer our questions. Make sure to check back at DBB all season long for the best Pistons news coverage and analysis in the business! And tune into Fox Sports Detroit on Friday night at 7 p.m. to see the Pistons take on the Atlanta Hawks.