The Detroit Pistons haven't been to the playoffs in awhile, but have been steadily moving forward as a team since Stan Van Gundy took the job before last season. With Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, and Andre Drummond, they are assembling an intriguing mix of talent that can perhaps grow up together. If the season ended today, the 39-35 Pistons would be the 8th seed in a surprisingly deeper Eastern Conference than we're used to seeing. They're also just .5 games back of the Indiana Pacers.
It might not be the Pistons time just yet, and it's not clear where or if or how they can find another star to pair with Drummond. It's also not clear whether or not Drummond will fulfill his considerable defensive potential. But the cantankerous Van Gundy clearly loves coaching his team, even when he's ripping for them for inconsistency. Some people are at their happiest when they can express themselves in loving exasperation, and Van Gundy is one of them.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, have a somewhat comfortable three game cushion over the Toronto Raptors, who likewise have an intriguing batch of talent while playing inconsistent defense. With time running short, it's hard to see the Cavs forfeiting that kind of lead, even if they don't care much to protect it. What do the standings look like?
|1y -Cleveland Cavaliers||52||21||.712||-||30-6||22-15||7-5||30-14||103.9||97.9||+6.1||W1||7-3|
|2x -Toronto Raptors||49||24||.671||3||28-9||21-15||11-2||33-12||102.9||98.5||+4.4||L1||6-4|