It’s a case of an underrated player (Avery Bradley) leading an underrated team (the Pistons) to face a written-off-to-early foe (the Celtics). All in what could be a playoff-series preview in the (underrated) NBA Eastern Conference.
We hate to say “we told you so,” but — well actually, we love to say we told you so. And…
We told you so, Bleacher Report
Soon after the trade we bumped the Pistons up several spots in our off-season power rankings to playoff-level. And we advised Detroit fans they were getting an under-valued gem in Avery Bradley. In effect, the Pistons re-acquired Joe Dumars.
Many NBA observers yawned at the trade, while The Bleacher Report gave the Pistons a straight “D” for their off-season report card (in which the Bradley trade was the signature move.)
“Trading for Avery Bradley made things disastrous,” TBR wrote. “Bradley won’t push the Pistons into playoff-lock status.”
Celtics fans know what Avery Bradley (who talks Celtics-Pistons nearby on “The Jump”) can do. Not only is he a should-be three- or four-time All-NBA defender, but he’s quietly efficient on offense. And he’s a leader.
(FanSided’s Leighton Chappell, like us, begged to differ. He “told you so” too in an apt piece focusing on Bradley’s leadership. “In fact, Avery Bradley’s arrival to Detroit should carry more optimism than it has as the 26-year-old shooting guard brings aspects the Pistons will truly value: leadership and a hardworking mentality.”)
Eastern Conference “fake #2 seed”?
It’s way to early to project either team, let alone both, to reach the Eastern finals.
Still, in the first quarter of the NBA season, the Pistons (12-6) have seen just how valuable chemistry can be. Lose two starters, add the right one — and watch the win totals surge.
So far — emphasize so far — it’s been a rough year for SUPER-team basketball, and a better start for super-TEAMs. The OKC Thunder are struggling, albeit, at 20 games, they’re just about at the point that (say) the Miami Heat were in their first season together.
LeBron James and the Cavs have recovered of late, but still have a weary, jaded look. Has anyone seen a team that appears to have less fun than the 2017 Cavaliers? Yes, they still have LeBron. They just have an Arthur-clenched-fist mood to them.
Meanwhile, the San Antionio Spurs… they just keep humming. And then there’s the Pistons and Celtics.