The Detroit Pistons are off to a slow start. Injuries or not, they’ve lost nine straight to two NBA teams. Is it possible that the Pistons are just bad?
Bad matchups happen in the NBA all the time. Even most championship teams have that one team they have to eventually get over the hump on. The 80s Detroit Pistons had to finally beat the Celtics after years of defeat. Michael Jordan and the Bulls had to return the favor to the Pistons in the 1991 season. The entire Eastern Conference versus LeBron James from 2011 to 2018. (Some matchups are so unfair you just have to wait for the guy to move.)
Currently, the Pistons have nine-game losing streaks against two teams. The one to the Milwaukee Bucks, counting the sweep in last year’s playoffs, makes sense.
The other one, against the Charlotte Hornets, makes no sense. The Hornets have entered the past nine matchups with a winning record a grand total of zero times. Yes, that’s right, the Pistons have lost nine straight games against an objectively bad team.
The amount of heartbreaking losses within the losing streak is really something. There have been buzzer beaters from Jeremy Lamb and Malik Monk. Last year there was a Frank Kaminsky game and now we have two straight Bismack Biyombo games.
I almost want to watch a Hornets game when they aren’t playing the Pistons just to see all of their players come down to earth for a minute. It’s reached the point where I was truly surprised when anyone on their team missed a shot in the fourth quarter. Of course, that surprise was quickly erased with dismay as Biyombo somehow got another offensive rebound over Andre Drummond.
So, the Pistons have a massive losing streak to a title contender and one to a team actively tanking. The only thing more ridiculous than some of the losses to Charlotte would be if the Pistons think they are closer to the Bucks than they are to the Hornets. If you are consistently losing to teams that you think you should beat then there’s a good chance they feel the same way about you.
The best teams in the league often say how they have a bullseye on their back and always get the opposing teams best shot. I have a theory that this is also the case when bad teams play one another, especially when one team is full of young players.
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That’s why this theory ends so poorly for the Pistons, who are a bad team, except they don’t realize they are bad. Players like Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose and Drummond aren’t going to be thinking like that going into games. Unfortunately, all that “talent” isn’t putting bad teams away early like they should be.
It’s why the Pistons are 1-7 against the Bulls, Hawks, Hornets and Wizards. Those are all bad teams that are full of young players that are hungry to win and when the see Detroit on the schedule they have no fear.
The Pistons find themselves in a spot where they are routinely overmatched by the teams at the top of the league and they apparently aren’t talented enough to beat the teams at the bottom of the league.
Somehow that awful combination still puts them only 1 1/2 games back of the final playoff spot in the East. If anything that’s a bad sign because the way this team looks they should be more worried about ping pong balls than playoffs.
The sooner they accept that fact the sooner they can get the rebuild officially underway.