The Detroit Pistons sit atop the Eastern Conference standings after terrific back-to-back road wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.
Stan Van Gundy's men are currently 5-2 and look ready to finally pose the threat they were expected to in the Eastern Conference since he took charge in 2014.
After disappointingly missing out on the playoffs last season, they've come back stronger this year and made everybody sit up and take notice with the stunning 115-107 win at Oracle Arena over the defending champions last night.
According to Fox Sports Detroit, the Pistons are the first team since the San Antonio Spurs in November 2014 to complete a sweep of a back-to-back against the Clippers and Warriors.
One reason for their impressive form has been the togetherness of the team and how they're working as a unit.
“It’s two games versus two very good teams; the morale in the locker room is great right now,” said Tobias Harris, who had 16 points in beating Golden State.
“We’re embracing each other and enjoying it and having fun. That’s the biggest thing: we’re having fun as a team.”
Despite having an All-Star in Andre Drummond, Detroit doesn't rely solely on him to score and win them games in the way that stars normally do for other teams.
The big man identifies this as a strength of theirs and points to it as a big factor in their impressive start.
“With the Warriors, they got Steph (Curry), Klay (Thompson), Kevin Durant, you expect to get 20-plus out of them every night,” said Drummond.
“It’s so much different because anybody on any given night (can deliver). One night it could be Avery (Bradley), one night it could be Tobias. Tobias had 30-plus (two of the first five games), but after that Reggie’s coming back now.
“With us, it’s such a good core of guys that are able to put the ball in the basket. You never know who’s going to get off that night.”
On this night in Oakland, it was Avery Bradley who went off. His arrival from the Boston Celtics has already had a positive impact and he capped it off with a 23-point performance against the Warriors.
The defensive stalwart has brought a toughness and grit to the team and has already formed a nice backcourt partnership with Reggie Jackson.
For the last two years, the Pistons had been tipped as dark horses to contend in the east but they didn't live up to those predictions.
If the first seven games of this campaign are anything to go by, this could be the year they put themselves in a position to compete with the best teams in the conference.
Going under the radar and not being spoken about coming into this season may have been just what the Pistons needed.
Their disappointing finish last year prompted many to overlook them this campaign as it was difficult to know what to expect.
“I don’t care if they sleep on us; that’s cool. So what?” said Jackson. “We’re coming out here to be better than the day before and that’s what the team is taking on. We couldn’t care less if people sleep on us.”
The team appears to be playing with a chip on their shoulder and Jackson is epitomising this with his attitude and play.
He took much of the criticism for their failings last season and is currently posting 16.1 points and 6.1 assists as he gets back to his best form.
As a whole, the Pistons are playing with a more determined approach and it's already bearing fruit. It's too early to get carried away but they have put down a serious marker for the rest of the campaign.
The wins in L.A. and the Bay Area will give them huge confidence going forward but they'll have to prove themselves against teams in the east such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards as that's who they'll be competing with if they make the playoffs.
A postseason berth looks realistic now but they'll have to show that their hot start isn't a fluke and they're ready to finally bring some good times back to the state of Michigan.News Now - Sport News