6. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons snuck into the playoffs last year as the eighth seed, and will have a chance to do it again this year.
If Charlotte didn’t endure the losses of some key pieces, they would likely be above Washington and Detroit, which of course would have moved Detroit down. But the Pistons will once again be led by Andre Drummond, who has another year of experience in the league.
Detroit also boasts Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of their young core. In addition to the pieces Detroit had in place, they added former San Antonio Spurs big man Boban Marjanović. He played well in spurts for San Antonio over 54 games last season, and Detroit was impressed enough to sign him to a three-year, $21 million deal. How will he fare with an increase in playing time? If he can fulfill the potential he showed in San Antonio, this could turn out to be a terrific move for the Pistons.
While some teams suffered key losses, Detroit largely kept their core intact. But Detroit is one of a few teams, including Charlotte and Washington, who are hoping to take the next step this season.
Will 2016-17 consist of magic in the Motor City? Only time will tell.
Next: No. 5