3 takeaways from 8-3 start to the season

Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons opened up Little Caesars Arena and kicked off the 2017-18 NBA season firing on all cylinders. They haven’t looked back since.

Last year, the Detroit Pistons ended an injury-plagued season by missing the playoffs. This season, the Pistons found a way to tap into the old Detroit Basketball magic and are finding ways to win games. Three weeks into the 2017-18 season, the Detroit Pistons look like the real deal.

On a recent road trip, the Pistons shocked NBA fans with road wins against the Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers.

How do you beat the Detroit Pistons on any given night? Do you resort to the old “Hack-a-Shaq” technique and put Andre Drummond on the line? You can, but that’s no longer the surefire practical option it used to be. Drummond is shooting 63.8 percent (30-for-47) from the charity stripe this season.

Head coach Stan Van Gundy and his team have gone back to fundamentals. The team is focused on playing the type of smothering defense the Detroit Pistons built three championship teams with. Their defensive mindset has opened the floor up, giving the Pistons more second chance opportunities and leading to more free throws this season.

The Pistons expected Luke Kennard and Avery Bradley’s shooting prowess to significantly increase the team’s shooting percentages. What they weren’t expecting was Tobias Harris’ putting together one of the best seasons of his career. How do you counter or craft a strategy to beat a team when you don’t know which one of the Pistons poses the biggest threat from one game to the next?

After only 11 games, the team is in midseason form. The Detroit Pistons’ only loss in their brand spanking new arena is to the Philadelphia 76ers. On the road the Pistons are doing the unimaginable. Not only are they winning, they are beating teams they “shouldn’t beat” in a variety of ways. Who believed the Pistons could march into Staples Center and Oracle Arena and leave with wins?

Can Stan Van Gundy and his team continue to set trends and shock the NBA to return to the playoffs, or even have a couple of players named to All-Star Game in February? If they continue on the current track they’ve set for themselves,  the answer is yes. Here are three keys to the Detroit Pistons’ successful start this season.

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