Tough loss. No way they’re going to bail RJax out on that last attempt…was there contact? Absolutely but that’s never going to get called.
That game was pretty much the whole series. The Pistons were tough as hell, made a lot of clutch plays, but simply weren’t good enough to get over the hump. However, I think you saw the beginning of something real this season. They’re not a finished product but the core of a team which could be very good in the relatively near future is present.
If Johnson makes the kind of offensive improvement I think is reasonable to expect, the trio of he, Harris and Morris is built for the modern NBA game. All those guys can play the 3 or the 4, you can switch with them on defense, etc.
I love Jackson’s toughness. He needs to continue to grow as a decision maker and he’s got to get better on defense, but he is a flat out warrior in terms of attitude and toughness and he’s shown signs that he may have more room yet to improve. I don’t think he’s hit his ceiling.
Drummond gives them a weapon very few teams have. Tonight, I really liked what I saw from him defensively…probably his best game on that end of the series as he was blocking or altering shots on a regular basis. More of that and he goes up another level. The FT stuff is a concern but it’s WAAAAAY overdone by the basketball casuals. The rule is going to be changed anyway, so the impact will be further muted. When you find more 22 year olds who do the things he does with regularity, let me know…they don’t exist.
I think the biggest thing to come out of this season is that a culture has now been established. That can be the hardest thing to do in the NBA and I think SVG has got the foundation laid in year two. He’s overhauled the roster relentlessly and while he doesn’t have a perfect team in a basketball sense yet, he’s got a lot of guys who play with the kind of personality and toughness it’s going to take to break through and win in this league. They do have an elite talent in Drummond but big guys don’t tend to become the favored sons in this game…they’re not going to get the carpet rides that the LeBrons and Durants receive. So toughness, nastiness and physicality are going to have to be part of the mix, just like they were for previous Pistons’ champions. I think it was a fun year overall and even though they got swept, this series was exactly the kind of experience I hoped they’d have. They learned what it’s going to take and that they’re not there yet. They played well enough that they can take some confidence into next season. That’s a good start.