4. Detroit Pistons
2012-13 Record: 29-53 (Missed Playoffs)
The Pistons have made some fantastic forward progress this offseason by making quite a few key additions. They brought on star point guard Brandon Jennings as well as Josh Smith, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks. They also brought back Chauncey Billups as a second floor-runner. Add that to a great young center in Andre Drummond and you have a squad that’s much better than they were last season. They might not quite be a playoff bound team yet, but they’ve made some major strides. With some luck and lack of injury, there’s a chance they could run for a low seed this year similar to how the Bucks took the eighth seed last year.
Like it or not, this team is better than they were last year. The Warriors beat them in both meetings over the 2012-13 season, but they’ve added a borderline All-Star point guard with deadeye aim from beyond the arc and a high-tier forward in Smith on both ends of the floor. If Drummond can stay healthy, a combo frontcourt of him and Smith could take advantage of Golden State’s still somewhat weak interior defense and do a lot to counter the Warriors’ high level rebounding skills. The wins last season weren’t exactly runaway victories, and the reformed Pistons should be able to steal one this year. That being said, a 2-0 head-to-head wouldn’t surprise me either.