By Dan Jenkins
Detroit Pistons’ General Manager Joe Dumars made a splash this summer, adding Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to a young lineup, and the league has taken notice.
In the annual GM Survey conducted by the league, league general managers selected the Pistons as the team that will improve the most this upcoming season. The results were as follows:
1. Detroit — 16.7%
2. Brooklyn, Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota, New Orleans, Washington — 13.3%
8. L.A. Clippers — 3.3%
The Pistons finished last season with a record of 29-53 and failed to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year. But, NBA general managers aren’t the only ones picking the Pistons to be leaps-and-bounds better than in recent seasons. In ESPN’s NBA Preview, writers selected the Pistons to finish sixth in the Eastern Conference and have a 99.2 percent chance of making the playoffs.
The Pistons got more love from the league as the general managers selected Pistons’ guard Chauncey Billups as the player most likely to be a good coach in the future, the second year in a row Billups has been for this title. Here’s the voting breakdown:
1. Chauncey Billups, Detroit — 32.1%
2. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers — 17.9%
3. Shane Battier, Miami — 14.3%
With an almost complete overhaul of the team’s roster, the Pistons should be expected to make some noise in the Eastern Conference, but few people thought the results would be so dramatic. If there’s anyone that knows basketball, though, it should be a professional general manager.
Let us know what you think about the projections in the comments below.