The Detroit Pistons only won 20 games, so it’s difficult to say that they exceeded expectations as a team.
But this rebuilding season was actually a masterclass in tanking, as the Pistons developed players and build excitement for the future while still losing enough to get the maximum possible odds at the number one pick in the NBA Draft.
Even though the Detroit Pistons didn’t have much team success, you could point to several players who exceeded expectations this season.
But the guy who really blew expectations out of the water wasn’t the fringe All-Star or the ascending rookies but boring old Mason Plumlee.
Detroit Pistons: Mason Plumlee quietly had an outstanding season
When the Detroit Pistons signed Mason Plumlee to a 3-year contract the reactions ranged from laughter to anger.
Most fans were baffled by this, as it seemed like an overpay for a career role player who would be gone before the Pistons were ever good.
But Plumlee quickly came in and asserted himself as the Pistons’ starting center and never looked back. He started all 56 games that he played in and was part of most of the Pistons’ best lineups.
Plumlee ended the season averaging 10.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists, which were all career highs.
His assist totals were 3rd in the NBA for centers and Plumlee proved himself capable of initiating the offense and making plays from the five spot.
He was a great mentor to the young bigs, played hard and smart basketball all season and had the best year of his career.
Plumlee went from joke to one of the best value signings of the offseason and now the Detroit Pistons either have a guy who can be a solid contributor on a good team or someone they can get an asset for at the trade deadline.
Considering that Plumlee wasn’t expected to be anything more than a stop-gap center during the down years, his season was a great success that completely exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.