They haven’t had enough shooting or intuitive passers to manufacture better looks. Avery Bradley is an upgrade over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but he’s still more of one-dribble-pull-up guy than a drive-and-kick penetrator. No one is going to respect Stanley Johnson and Tobias Harris from deep — assuming Van Gundy sticks with that starting forward combo.
This is really about Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond. If they bounce back, the Pistons probably return to the playoffs. If they stink again, this team is going to look very different a year from now.
Take a look at the Hawks’ roster and you’ll see a lot of new, unproven faces. In fact, several of them (Taurean Prince, Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins) you probably haven’t heard of unless you follow the NBA closely, and each of those three listed above are expected to play prominent roles this season. That’s what makes a proven veteran scorer, 3-point shooter and rebounder like Ilyasova an attractive option in the later rounds. Someone aside from Schroder is going to have to score for this team, and there’s a good chance that’s going to be the 30-year-old Ilyasova (13.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.7 3PG in 2016-17). Sign me up!
Sorry, Kyrie, but it seems impossible that anything could be as crazy as this past summer. But Ainge won’t be opposed if his players find a way to make the season as interesting as the construction of this new-look roster.