ESPN’s Summer Forecast not kind to Detroit Pistons

Oct 24, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) smiles after a dunk during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Timberwolves 99-98. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 24, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) smiles after a dunk during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Timberwolves 99-98. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

ESPN has released its annual #ESPNForecast as we approach the start of the NBA season.

The series touches on everything from Eastern and Western Conference standings to the good and bad additions this summer. The Pistons obviously aren’t going to be mentioned much in the conference or NBA championship predictions, but Detroit was included plenty throughout the series’ other parts.

If you want to know more about the selection process and how everything is selected, you can check this out.

SPOILER ALERT: They weren’t particularly kind to the Pistons, nor were they really insanely down. The Pistons were, deservedly, very irrelevant to the poll for the most part. They kind of deserve that treatment after the past six years, though.

There weren’t any Pistons included in the “Best Newcomer” poll. Now in Milwaukee, Greg Monroe did finish third, and for good reason. Monroe looks to be a great fit for what the Bucks need offensively. I’m not entirely sold on him defensively, especially if he’s playing center alongside undersized tweeners like Jabari Parker and/or Khris Middleton, but it’s deserved.

LaMarcus Aldridge finished first here after leaping from Portland to San Antonio. It’s tough to have any qualms about that pick.

I’m surprised Stanley Johnson didn’t receive votes in this, since it did include rookies. As I’ve harped on approximately one million times here, the Pistons’ small forwards may have been the worst group I’ve seen in my years watching basketball. But, that brings us to the “Worst Newcomer.”

The Pistons additions of Aron Baynes, Marcus Morris and Steve Blake were all included there, albeit each receiving just one vote. I can see where Baynes has to answer his critics with his play this season, and I understand his inclusion. The same can be said about Morris who, while a seemingly great offensive fit on paper, needs to show some serious maturity and ability to play small forward full time.

But Blake? Seriously? If Steve Blake, who by all accounts is a good guy who can be a nice veteran reserve in spots, is among the NBA’s worst newcomers, I don’t know what the logic is here? Especially when he’ll be the Pistons third- or fourth-string point. Somebody really sat there and said to themselves, “Man, Detroit traded Quincy Miller for Steve Blake? What a horrific acquisition.”

Oh, and in totally-not-surprising news, Kings’ guard Rajon Rondo was picked as the worst newcomer.

Johnson also got no love in the Rookie of the Year poll, receiving one vote. That ties him with two projects in New York’s Kristaps Porzingis and Phoenix’s Devin Booker. I think Johnson will be arguably the  most valuable rookie this season based on what I said about the Pistons gaping hole at his spot, but that usually doesn’t transition to awards.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota’s choice at No. 1, was picked to win the honor.

It’s a bit puzzling to see Justise Winslow, whom the Pistons passed for Johnson, ranked No. 5. Winslow is set to spend the season on the Heat’s bench behind Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng. I’d be absolutely shocked if Winslow finished higher than Johnson in the Rookie of the Year standings because of that.

The Pistons did get some love in the “Team Turnaround” poll after receiving six votes. I say that with the caveat that they still received less votes than Eastern Conference cellar dwellers like New York and Orlando. Somehow Milwaukee was No. 4 on here after seemingly being last seasons “Team Turnaround” after jumping from No. 2 pick to mid-conference playoff team.

Oklahoma City, who should have a fully healthy Kevin Durant this season, is a lock for this after being No. 1.

Interestingly, the Pistons received no votes in the Team Turmoil section. I’m not expecting them to flop this season, but if they were to start the season in similar fashion to last year, I would say that would be pretty disastrous. But, judging by these rankings, expectations are low for the Pistons.So, what’s another playoff-less season?

Andre Drummond finished third behind Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard for players most likely to make their first All-Star Games in 2015-16. I think that’s totally reasonable, but I also think Drummond making the jump to All-Star status probably means the Pistons make the jump to being a playoff team, you know, with the East and all.

Buttttt, that’s not what the forecast thinks.

The “Eastern Conference Standings” poll has the Pistons slotted comfortably at No. 11 with 35 wins. That would be a three-win improvement and one spot jump in the standings from last season. The thing about last season is the Pistons probably spent 50 percent of the year being horrible and 50 percent looking like a playoff team.

Charlotte, Indiana and Boston all added pieces this summer, but I don’t think they’re much better or worse than one another. All of them have questions and all are coming into the season with something to prove — one way or the other.

I think the Pistons are going to be closer to the team that went 28-27 after the departure of Josh Smith than the unwatchable group that went 5-23 before that. That would be a playoff team, but there are questions. It just seems like there are less questions about this group than there were last season’s team?

Anyways, what do y’all think?