The Detroit Pistons are coming off of a 2018-19 campaign in which they won 41 games, notched the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and then proceeded to get swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
A classic treadmill team, the Pistons are not exactly in a good place right now, as they are strapped financially and don’t have a whole lot of young talent to look forward to on the roster.
But, Detroit will still be a playoff contender in the weak East next season, and the club has numerous players who have things to prove.
So, here are the three Pistons players under the most pressure going into the 2019-20 campaign:
3. Luke Kennard
Outside of 18-year-old rookie Sekou Doumbouya, who has a ton of potential but is also incredibly raw, Luke Kennard is probably the only young talent on the Pistons worth mentioning at the moment.
Kennard is entering his third season and had a decent 2018-19 season, averaging 9.7 points per game while making 39.4 percent of his triples.
Still, for a 12th overall pick, Detroit wants to see more.
Kennard’s ceiling is debatable, with some predicting him to be a Kyle Korver-type, which would be great, but we certainly need to see more out of the 23-year-old before we can make any definitive assertions.
This is a big year for Kennard and could very well determine his track for the future. If he can bump his scoring average to double figures and become a deadly three-point threat, the Pistons will certainly be happy.
Andre Drummond is an interesting player. He puts up huge numbers, but his actual impact on the game has been in question for quite some time.
In spite of his size and ridiculous athleticism, Drummond is actually not an elite defender, and his offensive repertoire leaves much to be desired (although he has significantly improved his free-throw shooting).
Here is the catch: Drummond has a player option for the 2020-21 campaign, meaning 2019-20 is kind of a contract year for the big man.
It will certainly be interesting to monitor his free agency if he does opt out, as teams may be reluctant to throw lucrative contracts at him due to his inconsistency on the defensive end.
This will be a year for Drummond to prove to everyone around the league that he can, in fact, defend at a high level on a nightly basis.
This one is obvious.
Blake Griffin was actually having one of the best seasons of his career this past year, but a knee injury abbreviated his regular season and caused him to miss two playoff games.
Injuries have hampered Griffin throughout his entire NBA tenure, and now that he is 30 years old, you truly have to wonder just how much time he has left before his knee issues eat him up for good.
The thing is, when he is healthy, Griffin is fantastic and may actually be the most underrated player in the league these days. He has developed into a lethal three-point shooter, and we know he is a terrific facilitator.
Production with Griffin is not the issue. It’s health. As a matter of fact, this past year was Griffin’s healthiest year in quite some time, as it marked the first time he played 70 games since the 2013-14 campaign.
But in the end, knee problems still did him in.
Can we just get one healthy season out of Blake Griffin? The dude is arguably the most disrespected star in the game today, and it would be awesome to see him over the course of a full 82-game campaign.