The Pistons have made their move. The first season at Little Caesars Arena begins on Wednesday night and the guys at the core of the team's potential are the same guys who were expected to take the Pistons to a new level last season.
Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson called the 2016-17 season "a nightmare," and explained this week to WXYZ's Brad Galli why they think the team is poised for "a great comeback."
WXYZ: When you take a step back and don't reach your goals, how do you guys explain what happened last year?
Andre Drummond: I think last year was like a nightmare for me. I've been here for six years now, and my first four years were kinda similar to how my year was last year. It kinda was like reliving a whole nightmare again. It was a tough year for me physically, mentally, and losing him (Reggie Jackson) as well was huge. It's not an excuse for how we played because obviously we didn't play as hard as we were supposed to play. We weren't doing things were we supposed to do as a team to win basketball games. That's why we had the year we had.
Reggie Jackson: I think last year both of us came and we were trying to be somebody we're not as our leaders, so we're improving. I think daily, as he (Drummond) continues to improve in himself, guys are following him in a better manner. We're getting to learn Andre's really opening up to us. We get to see who he really is, and I'm trying to do the same. We had great aspirations and great goals for last season. For us not to be fully healthy or to have that continuity was a nightmare in itself. It sucked but it was a setback and this is the year for us to try to make a great comeback.
WXYZ: When you look at the East, everybody sees it: aside from everybody knowing there are two teams at the top, it seems to be wide open. Do you feel you guys can crack open the East picture?
Drummond: I feel like, it's the NBA. It doesn't matter who's on what team. At the end of the day, we're the best basketball players in the world -- no matter if you're in the East or West, so it's not gonna be a cakewalk for anybody in the East because now that everybody knows that a lot of the top guys are not in the East anymore, everybody's gonna play that much harder knowing that spots are open. So it's actually gonna be a lot tougher, in my opinion. Everybody knows there's an opportunity to get that playoff spot. For us, it's gonna be fun for us because this is our time to really show the NBA that we're a tough team, and we'll be one of the top contenders in the East.
WXYZ: What's the relationship between the two of you like?
Jackson: Like this. (Holds two fingers intertwined)
Drummond: That's a good way to look at it.
Jackson: This is my guy. Honestly, he stuck with me through the ups and downs. Last year was a tough year. He was a rock with me. He let me know how strong our bond and relationship was, so he's a big part of my motivation. I want to be the best I can be, but also I'm inspired each and every day to be the best I can be so I don't let him down -- because he's starting to hit his path to greatness and I just wanna assist him every step and help him accomplish everything he wants to accomplish in his game.
WXYZ: I asked you about your relationship. What's Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson's relationship with the rest of the team?
Drummond: I feel like everybody looks to us for answers, in a sense. (Laughs) Because they see the relationship that he and I have and know that this team doesn't move without he and I -- including Stanley (Johnson) too. I feel like we're the engine of this team and everybody else is the body and they help us move in a certain way to make our team be great. For us, we try to be open with everybody. We don't have a clique. We try to make sure everybody feels as equal as we feel together.
Jackson: We're trying to get better at welcoming everybody. Each and every day, trying to be who we are. We may not necessarily be your biggest vocal leaders, but we're trying to get better at trying to lead they way we've been equipped to lead through our life. We can't be anybody else. We're trying to get better in our approach.
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