Detroit Pistons look for playoffs with new coach as season starts tonight


DETROIT (AP) — Once the Detroit Pistons traded for Blake Griffin last season, their roster was largely set for the foreseeable future.
When that deal wasn’t enough to push the Pistons into the playoffs, they made the easiest changes they could in the offseason, hiring a new coach and overhauling the front office.
Stan Van Gundy is out and Dwane Casey is in on the Detroit bench, but the team Casey will coach isn’t much different than the group that went 39-43 last season.
The Pistons will hope for a nice boost from their new coach and some better health for key players. With Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, Detroit has an intriguing nucleus, but those three were rarely on the court together in 2017-18.
“Our expectations should be high,” Griffin said. “In the East, with our roster, I don’t see why getting home court in the playoffs is not a reasonable expectation.”
The Pistons appeared headed toward a season like that before Jackson went down with an ankle injury in late December. The team slipped after that, and the blockbuster deal that brought Griffin to Detroit wasn’t enough to salvage a postseason spot. Van Gundy, the coach and team president, was out after four years in charge.
The trade for Griffin and his big contract left the Pistons without much roster flexibility and it cost them their first-round draft pick this year.