There isn’t a clear light at the end of the tunnel with the NBA’s hiatus, and despite the Detroit Pistons not being in a playoff spot, their games still matter.
With certain NBA teams being allowed to open their practice facilities up soon, there seems to be a small sense of optimism that we may soon see the NBA back in action. For the Detroit Pistons, despite their lack of the success, this is still important.
Dozens of theories have been thrown around as to how the league could move forward with a continuation of the season, and while most assume that they’ll jump straight to the playoffs, that isn’t likely.
Considering the fact that a majority of players haven’t been able to properly workout in the last month and a half, everyone would need time to re-acclimate themselves to the physical toll of playing.
It’s easy to say for a team like Detroit that it doesn’t matter if they play out any more of their games because they were so far removed from a playoff position. Nothing could be further from the truth. These games would matter for them as much as they would for a contender.
The Pistons had 16 games remaining on their schedule, and give or take a few, that was around the same number as the other 29 teams in the league.
So while it’s not expected that teams will play out their full remaining schedules, at the very least we could see 5 or 6 of them carried out in order to not only allow teams to warm back up for the playoffs, but to established firmer draft positions.
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Detroit currently has the fifth best odds at landing the number one overall pick. With the new lottery structure, the top three teams with the worst records in the NBA all have the same odds at landing the top pick.
So with the Pistons sitting at 20-46 (again, the fifth worst record) the two teams ahead of them are the Atlanta Hawks (20-47) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45).
This means that if salvaging the NBA regular season is at all possible, even if it’s only a few games, the resulting wins and losses could drastically shift the landscape of the upcoming draft.
Who Detroit would play remains to be seen, but in their final 16 games they had match ups against New York, Atlanta, Golden State and Minnesota. Those happen to be three of the four teams that are ahead of the Pistons in the lottery.
An interesting wrinkle could develop in this plan however, that being the potential return of a healthy Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard. This was drastically improve their chances of winning the games that unfortunately, they need to lose.
If basketball is able to resume, and the regular season gets some closure, the Pistons could be in even better shape with their draft selection.