ESPN predicts disaster for Detroit Pistons

An ESPN panel of experts, which included Patrick and I, predicted the final NBA standings.

The good news? We collectively think the 17-24 Pistons will improve in the second half of the season.

The bad news? Not enough.

ESPN has the Pistons finishing 35-47 and ninth in the Eastern Conference – the worst end of The Disaster Zone.

That would mean the Pistons missing the playoffs and, I believe, Joe Dumars losing his job. At this point, I’m certainly not campaigning for Dumars to remain Detroit’s general manager, but I would like the team to make the playoffs – especially given the consequence of narrowly missing.

If the standings shake out this way, the Pistons would have the No. 11 seed in the lottery and a 2.9 percent chance of keeping their 2014 draft pick. Only landing a top-three pick in the lottery would prevent Detroit from sending the top-eight-protected first-round pick it owes Charlotte from the Ben Gordon trade.

Obviously, the Pistons, not ESPN’s experts, will determine how the rest of the season goes, and nothing is a foregone conclusion. There’s a lot of wiggle room on both sides.

In the projections, the Pistons are just one game behind the Knicks for the No. 8 seed and four games behind the Nets for the No. 6 seed, the latter of which would mean avoiding the Heat and Pacers in the first round. In the other direction, Detroit is just three games from a top-eight seed in the lottery – and an 82.4 percent chance of its their pick

It won’t be easy for Detroit to make the playoffs, but getting a top-eight seed in the lottery is probably even harder. The Pistons, from Tom Gores down, have nobody to blame but themselves for getting into this precarious situation.

Make the playoffs, keep their pick or The Disaster Zone – which is most likely? I’d rank them playoffs, The Disaster Zone, keeping their pick. But that The Disaster Zone is so likely – and the predicted outcome by ESPN – is a huge failure by the organization.

Tags: Joe Dumars Tom Gores