The Pistons are seven and a half games back of the Boston Celtics, who were the superior to Detroit. That was until star point guard Rajon Rondo went down with a season ending injury. With the race in the Eastern Conference wide open, the Pistons have a chance down the stretch. Here is what they must do:
1)Beat the Bad Teams
It sounds simple but the Pistons have yet to accomplish this feat at a high level. The Pistons have 33 games left to make up 7.5 games on the Celtics. While time isn't on their side, neither is there schedule. Only 14 games are against below .500 win squads. Detroit must take advantage of the these teams and must find a way to win at least 9 of these games, then find some breaks along the road.
2) Give Drummond more time
While many fans have been screaming of this move for a long time, I personally appreciated what Coach Frank is doing to keep Drummond on the bench and keep his role minimized. They have brought him along very slowly, allowing him to embrace the offense and focus on learning his system. The process has worked, however, they now have a chance at a playoff run and Drummond has been steadily better than 8 year vet Jason Maxiell.
3) Survive on the road
Detroit has been nothing shy of awful this season on the road, coming in at 5-18. If Detroit is going to make a move at the playoffs, they must do much better on the road. With 17 road games left, the Pistons must find a way to win a minimum of 7 games on the road and take care of their home games at the Palace.
4) Be ready
The Pistons had 11 back to back games so far this season and more are coming. They'll have seven more back to backs but have fared poorly on the second night. With a record of 3-8 in these games, it has to be a concern of Franks going forward. Seven more back to backs means they must be prepared, focused and ready to roll down the stretch.
5) Let Calderon truly run the Offense
You might be asking what does he mean "truly" let Calderon run the Offense? Frank has to utilize the pick and roll with Monroe and Calderon. Calderon was deadly in Toronto running this with Andrea Bargnani. Give Calderon the ball and allow him to create shots for his teammates and himself. Let him be the General and setting up his teammates like he's done his entire career.
If the Pistons can conquer these things it's no guarantee they make the playoffs but there chances certainly increase. Detroit is facing a tough up-hill-battle behind seven and a half to the Celtics. The Pistons have the skill, now its time to take that to the hardwood.