20. Detroit Pistons
Change is the only constant, right?
Capped out and without a draft pick this summer, Detroit went about changing the only part of their roster they could — the coach. Stan Van Gundy was fired after four seasons, one playoff berth, and too many bad personnel decisions to count. He became a relic of the President Coach age as soon as he left the Pistons.
In his place steps Dwane Casey, fresh off winning a Coach of the Year award for his work changing Toronto’s offensive system upside down and gleaning 59 wins from the same roster that won 51 the year before. His player development focus and emphasis on defense will help the Pistons, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to take this squad back to the playoffs — or even whether that ultimately matters.
With the only financial asset available to them, the mini mid-level exception, Detroit signed Glenn Robinson III away from Indiana. He immediately becomes one of the most intriguing young players on the roster, filling out a rotation that also includes the disappointing Stanley Johnson.
Of course, we can’t forget the Blake Griffin trade, which represents the bulk of the Pistons’ personnel reshuffling though it happened in January. His presence raises the ceiling (albeit only slightly) for this team, and gives them the best hope for sustained relevance since Ben Wallace played in Auburn Hills.
Casey will have to be even more impactful than he was in Toronto for the Pistons to really matter. Griffin can’t get hurt. The odds are against Detroit.