Pistons’ early-season rise warranting notice

Reggie Jackson and the Pistons have gotten off to a hot start.

It’s awful early, but the Detroit Pistons are doing plenty right.

For starters, Andre Drummond is making free throws.

For another, the Pistons are winning games — both home and away, and against winning teams. They even won back-to-back road games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.

The Pistons are 7-3 with an impressive 4-2 mark against winning teams (through Sunday).

They even moved up to fifth in NBA.com’s weekly power rankings. Not fifth in the East — fifth overall.

Per NBA.com:

“Last season, the league did Andre Drummond a favor by extending the restriction on away-from-the-ball fouls to the last two minutes of every quarter and reducing Drummond’s free throw attempts from 7.2 to 4.4 per game. This season, Drummond has helped himself. With a difference-making, 14-for-16 performance in Friday’s win over Milwaukee, Drummond is shooting 75 percent from the line, up from 38 percent over his first five seasons in the league.

“Drummond ranks second in rebounds per game and leads the league in rebounding percentage (for the third straight season), and the Pistons’ starting lineup had its best performance (plus-9 in 18 minutes) in Saturday’s win over Sacramento. They’ve still been the league’s second worst high-usage (75 minutes or more) lineup, but Detroit has won five of its last six games with Anthony Tolliver providing critical minutes off the bench.”

Are the Pistons the real deal? Well, there is no doubt they’ve made some early-season strides after missing the playoffs last season. And adding Avery Bradley to Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris seems to be a real help, too — as Bradley is sort of the coach-on-the-floor by example. Stan Van Gundy, of course, is the coach on the sidelines, and he seems to again have his team’s attention, perhaps like never before.

So far, that has the Pistons playing meaningful basketball as they have moved into their sparkling new downtown arena. That is what you’re looking for, and what the Pistons are delivering at the moment.