ESPN asked five panelists, “Which East team with a losing record has the best long-term outlook?” Four of them chose the Cavaliers, and one picked the Pistons:
Tom Sunnergren, Hoop 76: Detroit Pistons. Among the rarest commodities in sports is a young, dominant NBA big man. In Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons have two of them. Add Jose Calderon and "Exciting Young Lottery Pick X" to the mix, and suddenly you have a team that could make waves as soon as next season.
You might remember Sunnergren as that crazy guy who believed Andre Drummond should have been an All-Star, and as fond as I am of Tom’s writing and his frequently pro-Pistons opinions – he also named Jose Calderon the most overlooked player on a losing team – I once again disagree with him.
I’ll take the Cavaliers, and here’s my breakdown of the key pieces:
- Andre Drummond < Kyrie Irving
- Greg Monroe > Tristan Thompson
- Brandon Knight = Dion Waiters*
- Rodney Stuckey < Anderson Varejao
- Owing the Bobcats a first rounder < Receiving a first rounder from the Kings, Heat (two) and Grizzlies
- No LeBron James < Even the most unsubstantial rumor that LeBron James might return
*If I had to pick one player, I’d pick Knight, but they’re close enough to a tossup that I wouldn’t criticize either choice.
An edge in second-most-valuable players doesn’t make up for all of Cleveland’s other advantages.
Which team do you believe has a brighter future?