Auburn Hills — One of the last images of the Pistons season was point guard Reggie Jackson missing the potential winning shot in Game 4 against the Cavaliers.
He was incredulous there wasn’t a foul called on Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving.
Still, while being swept at the hands of the Cavaliers wasn’t a desirable finish, the Pistons see the progress.
After winning 32 games in 2014, an increase of 12 this season is a boost of confidence — and making a good showing in three of the four games in the playoff series shows a blueprint for improvement.
“It was a good season,” Jackson said Wednesday as the Pistons cleared out their lockers. “When you look back and have time to reflect, it was a successful season. We accomplished some of the goals that we set out for.
“Of course, we always want to achieve more than what others expect from us — we set really high goals. The goal next year: Finals.”
Although they didn’t reach all their goals, the Pistons did end their streak of six seasons in the NBA lottery.
And Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the longest-tenured Pistons, made their first trip to the playoffs, along with starting forwards Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris.
“Sitting down and talking to Andre and KCP the end of last year, a goal of ours was to get to the playoffs and change the culture,” Jackson said. “We feel like we’ve done that, and we still have to progress.”
Caldwell-Pope credited the intensity of the final few weeks of the regular season and having to fight their way into the postseason with helping them develop a mental edge and grow from previous years.
“Players have changed a lot and with the program, we brought a lot back to the team — a lot of fire and a lot of fight and even pushing into the playoffs,” Caldwell-Pope said. “That determination that we had to even make the playoffs was one of the biggest keys we had this year.”
Reggie Jackson talks about the season and how he and the team can improve for next sesaon.
Caldwell-Pope said he will take about a month off to recuperate from a core-muscle injury he suffered during the season, and will pick up his offseason workout routine a little later than usual.
He’ll also look to improve his outside shooting, ball-handling and add a few pounds.
“I haven’t even reached my peak yet,” he said. “Just going every summer and getting better and stronger and try to improve as much as I can in the time we have. It’s not just working on one thing in particular; it’s everything.
“I wanted to gain weight this season but couldn’t maintain it with all the training camp and practice. This summer, it’s about getting stronger and putting on a little weight and maintaining that wait.”
For Jackson, the focus will be on his shooting and watching film to help game planning and combating how opponents looked to negate his effectiveness in the pick-and-roll.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t have many answers when that happened, but Jackson will look to do his part.
“Coach is really going to define people’s roles and where they need to improve for the team to get better,” Jackson said. “Everybody has to stay hungry and the experience of being a year older and going through so many reps throughout a season, you figure it out and see things so many times, once you come into next season and see it again, it becomes a repeat.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope talks about the season and what he plans to do in the off season to improve.