The season is still two months away, but most of the rosters are set, barring the requisite Michael Jordan comeback rumor (just kidding, but only a little). We have an idea where our team stands, but we can't really know unless we discuss everyone else. In that spirit, I'm going to throw up a "competition discussion" thread for each of the other 29 teams over the next month or so. We'll go in alphabetical order from A to Z. Today's team: Detroit.
Last year's record: 53-29.
Playoffs: Beat Orlando 4-0, beat Chicago 4-2, lost to Cleveland 4-2.
In: Jarvis Hayes (free agent), Rodney Stuckey (draft), Arron Afflalo (draft), Cheik Samb (free agent), Sammy Mejia (draft).
Out: Chris Webber (free agent?), Dale Davis (free agent?), Carlos Delfino (trade)
Projected starting lineup: Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Nazr Mohammad?
Bench (in no particular order): Ronald Murray, Arron Afflalo, Rodney Stuckey, Lindsey Hunter, Sammy Mejia, Jarvis Hayes, Ronald Dupree, Antonio McDyess, Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Cheik Samb.
So what do we think? Can they make one more run? Will it hurt to lose Chris Webber (no)? Will Chauncey Billups stop trying as hard now that he has a contract? In general, can the team get sufficiently motivated again? Will Richard Hamilton take off that awful mask? Will Jarvis Hayes continue the tradition of former DCers breaking out in Detroit?
I don't have much time, so I'll make this quick: they'll be just as good, if not better. This is going to be the ultimate test of young talent over veteran savvy. Chris Webber, Dale Davis, and Lindsey Hunter are being replaced by Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson, Cheik Samb, Rodney Stuckey, and Arron Afflalo, and while the first three have the experience, the last five are better. This is a team in bad need of a young infusion of talent, and even though I don't think it'll propel them to a title, Maxiell, Johnson, Samb, Afflalo, and Stuckey will provide enough for them to at least tread water in a better conference.
I say 53-29 again and a conference finals appearance.