Back to back strong efforts in double digit wins at home against Orlando and Milwaukee after a disappointing loss at Toronto on opening night.
This is a fun story to watch develop, IMO, this team…definite improvement over last year in a few key ways. The bench is already significantly better than a year ago. Leuer looks like a great addition at the backup PF, offering the kind of perimeter shooting SVG wants but VASTLY better rebounding than they were able to get from that rotation spot last season and he just seems like a guy who isn’t going to give ground up when he comes into the game. Smith and Udrih (what a great late waiver pickup, btw) are doing a fine job at the point and when Jackson gets back should give Detroit one of the better backup PG combos in the game. Smith in particular has been everything they thought he’d be and just think…he’s really the *backup*.
Thing is, they haven’t even started to hit their stride. Stanley Johnson, after a really good summer, hasn’t clicked just yet but I think he will and then Jackson will be back during the holiday season at some point. I think the Morris/Harris forward combo just keeps getting better and then Drummond puts up a 20/20 (actually 20/23) game tonight like it’s no big deal, and he’s clearly improved offensively, now using both hands comfortably to finish around the rim. If Jackson can quickly get back to where he was last season, this team is definitely better than last year’s edition and that should be enough to get home court in the first round of the playoffs. Still one of if not the youngest team in the NBA, and yet clearly competitive now and with significant upside for the future. Obviously they’re not a true threat to Cleveland just yet, but I think a playoff series victory should be the goal.