The NBA season is here. With that in mind, it is time to flip through the book on the 2012-13 season and to take a look at what the season might have in store -- especially when it comes to the Magic. Be sure to look out for more of these team capsules and to check out all the blogs taking part in this year's NBA Blog Preview (don't worry, I will be linking to all of them in the next few weeks ... months ... this preview IS never-ending, afterall).
Last Year/This Year: 25-41/3-10
Last Year vs. Magic: Won 89-78 in Detroit; Won 102-95 in Detroit; Lost 119-89 in Orlando.
This Year vs. Magic: Lost 110-106 in Detroit on Nov. 16; Tonight in Orlando; Jan. 22 in Detroit; Jan. 27 in Orlando.
Magic Connection: Corey Maggette (Player, 1999-2000); Assistant Coach Brian Hill (Assistant Coach, 1990-93; Head Coach, 1993-97, 2005-07); Assistant Coach Dee Brown (Player, 2000-02); Assistant Coach Charles Klask (Video Coordinator/Scout, 2002-12).
The Previews: Mike Payne/Detroit Bad Boys
The Pistons have spent the better part of the last decade fighting for an Eastern Conference Championship. That is becoming a distant memory with only Tayshaun Prince remaining from those teams.
It has been some time since the Pistons were a championship contender. Joe Dumars is still picking up the pieces from the summer of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. A free agent fiasco that clearly rivals any in the NBA's history with the collective bargaining agreement.
While Villanueva eats up cap space (Gordon has since been sent to Charlotte in exchange for Corey Maggette), Detroit has tried to build its future. Rodney Stuckey was part of that to some extent. But the real future lies within third-year center Greg Monroe and rookie Andre Drummond.
The Pistons' championship teams were built on defense and strong play from the post. This is where Detroit is choosing to lay the foundation for its rebuilding.
Last year, Monroe had a breakout season, gaining some whispers about making an All-Star team after averaging 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Monroe has stepped his game up this year, recording his first career triple double in a loss to Sacramento and increasing his scoring average to 17.0 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game. He is stepping up his game and becoming a team leader.
The best part is he has his head in the right place. When I asked him about expanding his game and the triple double game, he said it was great, but he would have preferred to have the win. Monroe is growing and getting better and could develop into one of the marquee centers in the league.
The Pistons though will not be competing for much this season. There just is not enough depth and not enough talent to compete for a Playoff spot on this roster. Detroit is getting there though. With a few more draft picks, there is a real possibility Detroit could compete.
How the Pistons Will Beat the Magic: We have seen the Pistons twice already this year. Both times Detroit had a pretty solid lead and Orlando had to scramble to make a comeback. So how did the Pistons build this lead? They did a great job attacking the offensive glass and getting the ball into Greg Monrooe. Earlier this week against the Magic, Monroe got Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic into foul trouble and did a good job taking the Magic's key players in the post out of the game. When Detroit is getting the ball inside and scoring off of offensive rebounds, Detroit can be as difficult as any team Orlando has faced.
How the Magic Will Beat the Pistons: Doing the opposite of everything I said above. Orlando won both games and completed those comebacks by securing the offensive glass and getting out on the break after those stops. The Magic were able to beat the Pistons down the court and get the ball moving. Detroit's defense is not good enough to keep up with Orlando when Orlando is able to get into a good offensive flow. We have seen that happen twice already.