“Look at the Lions. Two years ago, they won their last four games,” Frank said. “It propelled them into a great off-season to a great start to the season to a great season where they went 10-6, so for us, what kind of momentum do we want to bring into the off-season?”
I appreciate Lawrence Frank‘s sentiment here. I really do. But the Lions are not the greatest comparison (and not just because they play football). When they went on that four game winning streak to end a season then made the playoffs the next year, they were led by Matt Stafford (No. 1 pick), Ndamukong Suh (No. 2 pick) and Calvin Johnson (No. 2 pick). A criticism of the Pistons’ rebuilding efforts has been that they got bad, but never bad enough to bottom out and pick once or twice at the top of the draft. The Lions on the other hand … they bottomed out. Boy, did they bottom out (spectacularly, I might add). The Pistons got an absolute steal in the mid-lottery with Greg Monroe, they found a player in the mid-lottery last year with Brandon Knight who could maybe develop and they found a second round pick who is a rotation contributor in Jonas Jerebko in 2009. Those are all nice, young players, but with the exception of Monroe, none project yet as franchise players. The Lions, on the other hand, drafted three guys who are legitimate All-Pros to fuel their turnaround.
I’m not saying it would be impossible for the Pistons to have that kind of turnaround and make the playoffs next season (it is, after all, a little easier to make the NBA playoffs, especially in the East, than it is to make the NFL playoffs), but the Pistons could also still benefit from hanging around the lottery another year if they don’t luck out this year and win the top pick.