ESPN’s forecast panel projects Pistons to miss playoffs

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 15: Reggie Jackson
AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 15: Reggie Jackson /

ESPN’s Forecast panel has projected the Detroit Pistons to miss the playoffs in the 2017-18 season and finish with an identical record to last season.

Just a couple weeks after Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insiders projected the Detroit Pistons to finish with 35.1 wins and make the playoffs in the eighth seed, ESPN’s Forecast panel has weighed in on their prospects.

While the panel projects the Pistons to win more games than Pelton’s Real Plus-Minus-based projections with 37 wins, they also predict they’ll finish in an eighth-place tie with the Philadelphia 76ers and miss the playoffs.

In ESPN’s piece:

"While 37 wins gets the Sixers into the playoffs in our projections, it’s not enough for the Pistons, who came in just percentage points behind Philadelphia when the numbers were crunched. Missing the postseason would be devastating for a Detroit franchise that had high hopes when it gave total control to Stan Van Gundy in 2014 but has played in only one playoff series (with zero playoff game wins) since then."

The Pistons upgraded at a number of positions, including addressing areas of need in depth and at shooting guard, but Marcus Morris departed and there are questions about how the team will address their forward rotation to compensate. Morris is also perhaps the only player (other than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is also gone) for the Pistons last year who had a positive national media perception, so the departure of the only two favorites many observers had on this team will work against them in any prediction.

Just who comprises this panel?

"Our approach, in a nutshell, is to create a diverse panel of people with NBA expertise and then aggregate their predictions and opinions. For ESPN Forecast, we have a panel of more than 200 members who collectively possess vast NBA experience, knowledge and perspective."

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Time will tell. The numbers from Pelton and the opinions of this panel are fairly similar. A couple notable teams in this Eastern Conference prediction include the Miami Heat (44-38, sixth in the East), the Cleveland Cavaliers (52-30, second in the East) and the Boston Celtics, with 54 wins and first in the East.