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Under the Microscope, Part IV: Detroit Pistons

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

We're a few weeks away from the start of the regular season. With that in mind, I turned to Natalie Sitto of Need 4 Sheed to talk about the Detroit Pistons. Here's our conversation:

BF: There was a lot of success in the early portion of Joe Dumars' time as General Manager, but it didn't end well in the final years. How should we view his overall tenure as the GM and what should we remember most?

NS: There are so many things that factor into answering this question. A ton of things factored into his decisions making in his later years like the passing of long-time Pistons owner Bill Davidson, but inevitably he still made bad decisions. When you have a GM that can bring you a championship and so many years of playoff basketball it's hard to label him anything but a success.

He will be remembered in my eyes for making a team without a legitimate superstar into champions.

BF: How do you see Stan Van Gundy managing the head coach and President of Basketball Operations roles?

NS: I'm already impressed at what Van Gundy is doing in the front office. He's not making changes simply to make changes and he's not breaking the bank on any deals that simply aren't worth it.

The Pistons have been in need of a strong coach that can lead, and that's something SVG can do.

BF: I remember back when Andre Drummond was drafted, there were a lot of questions about his game and whether he'd actually be good. Two years later, they all look so silly. What's the next step he needs to take in order to become an even better player?

NS: He's go to get a bit better on the defensive end. He's made strides since his rookie year, but he has some games where he gets into early foul and you always want him on the floor. It's also a no brainer that he's got to get batter on the foul line, he's been pulled late I game because he's a liability.  That's got to change.

BF: It was a pretty rough summer for Greg Monroe. Do you see him being on the team by this time next year?

NS: Sadly unless Detroit can get someone to take Josh Smith and his contract off their hands, it doesn't make sense for him to stick around.

BF:  Do you see Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith having bounce back seasons after rough debut years in Detroit?

NS: One would hope, but I don't expect either of them to change the way they play to get there. There is no doubt they both want to win, but will they stick to the Van Gundy's game plan to get there.

If Smith's shot selection improves even 25%, I'd consider that a huge improvement.

BF:  Is there anything about the Pistons you think national writers and people who don't follow the team closely get wrong that needs to be corrected?

NS: I don't think Detroit really has had a bad rap, they've played their way into mediocrity. What they need to do is correct their rep with their play on the court. If they can do that, they're on their way back.

BF: What do you think would qualify as a successful season for Detroit?

NS: One word: Playoffs.

BF: Moving from Detroit and onto the bigger NBA scene, is there a player, team, or story that you'll be keeping an eye on throughout the season?

NS: Being a Detroit Pistons fan and having to deal with the Cavaliers in the later part of Detroit's playoff run, it will be interesting to watch the return of LeBron James to Cleveland.  It's an interesting story and it makes the Pistons return to the playoffs that much more difficult.

Thanks to Natalie for joining me. You can find her at and on Twitter at @Need4Sheed_com.