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Avery Bradley, Stan Van Gundy.

Pistons vs. Magic: Which hot Eastern Conference team will finish with a better record this year?

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When you look at the upper portion of the Eastern Conference standings, it's surprising to see the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic in second and third place, respectively, behind the red-hot Boston Celtics.

Currently, the Pistons sport an 8-3 record, while the Magic are tied with the Toronto Raptors a notch below at 7-4. Considering neither team made the playoffs last year, that's an impressive feat.

Obviously, it's still early in the season, but both teams deserve credit and respect for what they've done so far.

Now, though, the question must be asked - are they for real? Again, neither team came particularly close to the postseason last year, as the Pistons finished four games out of eighth place and the Magic were 12 games out of the playoff picture.

However, as many of the best players from the Eastern Conference headed to the West this offseason (Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Paul Millsap, to name a few), there are some playoff spots up for grabs in the East this year.

So, which team has a better chance to capitalize on its hot start and make the postseason? Let's take a look:

Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic

Offense

The Magic have the NBA's No. 7 offense at the moment, averaging an impressive 109.3 points per night, while the Pistons (who have historically been a defense-oriented team) are in 16th place with 105.6 points per game.

Orlando has three players - Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic - averaging more than 18 points per game, while Detroit only has one player averaging that many points - former Magic forward Tobias Harris.

Indeed, the Magic have more options for point guard Elfrid Payton, who is averaging eight assists a game, to spread the ball to, which makes them more versatile than the Pistons (at least for now) on that side of the ball.

Edge: Orlando

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons

Defense

With big man Andre Drummond anchoring the defense and new addition Avery Bradley locking down opponents on the wing, the Pistons are allowing only 100.8 points per game - the eighth-best mark in the NBA.

Meanwhile, the Magic are allowing nearly five more points a night, giving up an average of 105.6 points per game.

Obviously, the Pistons take great pride in shutting teams down defensively, and have more pieces available to them to make that possible. Any time you have Drummond and Bradley in the mix, you're going to be a solid team defensively.

Edge: Detroit

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards

Coaching

In eight of his 11 seasons, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has led his teams to the playoffs, making it as far as the NBA Finals in 2009 before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Meanwhile, Orlando coach Frank Vogel has led his teams to postseason appearances in five of his seven seasons, but has only made it as far as the conference finals twice.

Neither coach has had too much postseason success, but both have winning records for their careers. However, since Van Gundy has been around longer, he gets the edge in this category.

Both the Magic and Pistons should be exciting to watch for the rest of the season, but the Pistons seemingly have the better chance to sustain their early success with a strong mix of coaching and defense.

Edge: Detroit

Topics:
NBA
Orlando Magic
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Detroit Pistons
Central Division
NBA Playoffs
NBA Draft

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