NBA: A Training Camp Preview for the Detroit Pistons

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Detroit Pistons Sport News


  • The young Pistons finished 15th in the Eastern Conference last season with 17 wins.
  • In the off-season, the Pistons hired new coach Monty Williams, who led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021 and is a former NBA Coach of the Year.
  • Star guard Cade Cunningham is expected to return after missing almost the entire season with a shin injury.

It’ll soon be Roundball season in Motown.

The Detroit Pistons open training camp Oct. 3 – many NBA teams start camp next week – and Michigan sportsbooks are bouncing with activity on the Pistons, believing they will take a step forward with a young core and new coach Monty Williams.

The Pistons haven’t made the playoffs since the 2018-2019 season and DraftKings Sportsbook has the Pistons +60,000 to win the NBA title, the longest of long shots, but the projected over/under win total of 28.5 at Caesars and FanDuel represents real progress.

28 wins probably doesn’t get you to the playoffs, but it would be a sign of growth for one of the youngest teams in the NBA.

Did Somebody Say Young?

The Pistons hit the reset button hard and feature one of the youngest teams in the NBA. The youth movement is led by Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Cunningham had a stellar rookie season, but played only 12 games last year because of a long-standing shin injury that needed surgery to fix.

Sportsbooks - and Piston fans -- love Cunningham. He’s +1300 at DraftKings to be the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season.

Cunningham turns 22 Sept. 25. Pistons shooting guard Jaden Ivy will be 21 when training camp starts. He’s coming off an All-Rookie selection after scoring 16.3 a game.

Big man Jalen Duren will only be 19 when camp starts. He had some good moments during the NBA Summer League.

Meet The New Boss

Williams was hired by the Pistons after a successful four-year stint with the Suns. He guided Phoenix to the playoffs three times and is a former NBA Coach of the Year.

Before sitting in the first chair with the Suns, Williams was the coach of the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) and took them to the playoffs twice.

Williams has the reputation as a player’s coach, who favors a guard-centric, up-tempo style. His playoff experience will help the Pistons.

Revving Up The Engine

The Pistons added to their athleticism in the 2023 NBA Draft taking Ausar Thompson from the Overtime Elite league fifth overall. Thompson isn’t considered a shooter, but he’s another superior athlete who can defend and score.

Thompson is +3000 at DraftKings to win the NBA Rookie of the Year.

Detroit didn’t stop there, taking guard Marcus Sasser with the 25th pick in the Draft. He’s another guard with potential.

These young players will mesh with veteran Bojan Bogdanovic, who led the Pistons in scoring last year with 21.6 points a game, and three-point threat Alec Burks to provide the scoring punch. Last year, Detroit ranked both 28th (out of 30 teams) in offense and defense and sagged down the stretch losing 20 of their last 22 games.

The Pistons first preseason game is Oct. 8.

Williams is a proven winner in the NBA and some young team always takes ‘the leap’ into contention after putting pieces together through the draft and free agency. Detroit fans hope this year that team is the Pistons.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.