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Detroit Pistons preview: Will the young core surprise in the East in 2023-24?

Here’s a look at the Pistons ahead of the upcoming NBA season.

Detroit Pistons v Milwaukee Bucks
Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey of the Detroit Pistons talks during a break in the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on October 31, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season, DK Network is taking an in-depth look at all 30 teams. We’re going over all the big moves from the offseason, predicting the starting lineup, providing a fantasy basketball perspective, looking at relevant odds and assessing season expectations for each franchise. Here’s a look at the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit Pistons 2023-24 Outlook

Key additions: Ausar Thompson, Joe Harris, Monte Morris

The Pistons used the No. 5 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft on Thompson, an athletic wing who could grow into a bigger role. The good news is Detroit doesn’t need him to do too much in his rookie season. Harris and Morris are solid veteran additions the team can flip at the deadline to a contender or keep around as bench pieces.

Key departures: None

Saddiq Bey left at last year’s trade deadline, so that’s a change to start this season. However, there are no other major pieces moving. Detroit has done well in its rebuild to identify players who can fit together in long-term roles while avoiding an attempt at a quick fix in free agency.

Projected starting lineup

Cade Cunningham should return after missing most of last season recovering from a shin surgery. Jaden Ivey will join him in the backcourt. Jalen Duren should be the starting center, while Bojan Bogdanovic will be one of the forwards. The Pistons could with Thompson or Harris at the small forward spot, with the rookie likely to get the nod as he’s the one who has to fit with the core trio.

Fantasy basketball player to watch: Jalen Duren

Detroit messed around with Marvin Bagley and James Wiseman last season in the frontcourt, but it’s clear Duren is the best player there. He had a strong stretch at the end of last season, putting up 11.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in the final 15. Duren doesn’t have to be a scoring machine with the guards the Pistons have, but he might be tasked with carrying a second unit offensively if the shooters aren’t hitting. We could see a big jump in production from this young center in his second season.

Notable odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Win total: 28.5
To make playoffs: Yes +800, No -1400
To win East: +30000
To win NBA title: +60000

Season expectations

Making the playoffs might be too much of an ask, but the Pistons will be ecstatic if they are in the play-in mix late in the season. The biggest priority is making sure the Cunningham-Ivey-Duren trio is something the front office can build a contender around. All three players are high draft picks and will be expected to show growth this year.

This roster has a good mix of young players and veterans, which usually results in a pesky team that stays competitive for most of the season. The middle of the East is not great, which leaves an opening for Detroit to at least make things interesting. Development is the priority but competing for a play-in spot won’t hurt.