The Detroit Pistons may not have made the playoffs in 2010-11 if Jonas Jerebko had avoided a preseason Achilles injury. But Jerebko, now fully healthy and the recent recipient of a four-year deal to stay in Detroit, thinks that things will be better in 2011-12.
During the Pistons’ media day Wednesday, Jerebko told reporters that the Pistons have their sights set on the postseason, according to Justin Rogers.
“The playoffs are our goal and we’re going to make it.”
Detroit finished a frustrating 30-52 last season — a campaign complete with player mutiny and a general lack of interest from the fan base. Even so, that mark left the Pistons just seven games out of the final playoff spot and within striking distance until the last few weeks of the season.
With just 66 games on the slate this year, due to the extended NBA lockout, the Pistons have to feel like they’re capable of competing for one of the Eastern Conference’s eight postseason spots.
Some of what happens will depend on the Pistons’ approach between now and the start of the regular season. Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that Rodney Stuckey had not responded well to Detroit’s five-year, $40 million-plus contract offer. The Pistons already have lost Richard Hamilton this month — he was waived this week to clear several million off the payroll.
Ben Wallace’s future also remains in doubt, though it sounds as if he is leaning toward a return for one final season.
We’ll have to see what moves Joe DuMars makes beyond that, though it’s no secret he’s counting on first-round pick Brandon Knight to help round out new head coach Lawrence Frank’s rotation.
Detroit’s regular season opener is less than two weeks away — the Pistons start their 2011-12 march to Jerebko’s promised playoff destination on Dec. 26 at Indiana.