Detroit Pistons: Tank alert! This 3-game stretch is crucial for NBA Draft

Cade Cunningham #2 and Isaac Likekele #13 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 and Isaac Likekele #13 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

When I woke up this morning and saw the Detroit Pistons’ injury report, I thought “now THIS is how you tank!”

The Pistons have played competitively all season behind strong efforts from their rookies and Most Improved Player candidate Jerami Grant, but with just 17 games remaining in the season, now is the time to start losing for real.

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The Pistons will run out their youngest starting lineup of the season against the OKC Thunder, who currently have a roster that looks like a G-League team.

Even with six players out with injuries, the Pistons will have a hard time losing this one at home, especially with young guys like Sekou Doumbouya eager to show what they can do in what should be extended minutes.

The Detroit Pistons are clinging to the 3rd-worst record in the NBA, and though they don’t want to lose on purpose, they also don’t want to torture their fans all season just to win a few meaningless games down the stretch and cost themselves a better chance at a top pick.

Even if the Pistons land in the bottom three, a top-five pick is no guarantee, but they at least want to have the best possible odds, which is why this 3-game stretch is so important.

Detroit Pistons: Next three games are crucial for the tank

The Pistons will start these three games tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are just four games “behind” the Pistons after losing eight-in-a-row.

The Thunder’s late and furious tank job makes them a threat to the Pistons, so it would be nice to find a way to lose this one.

The Pistons will then take on the Wizards in the second game of a back-to-back. The Pistons have a little more wiggle room vs. the Wizards but Washington is still a team to watch in terms of draft position.

The final of the three games will be against the Cavaliers, who are four games “behind” the Pistons in the tank and have shown that they can string together some losses.

After the Cavs, the Pistons’ schedule gets a lot more difficult, as they will have six in a row against teams who are either in the playoffs or trying to get there.

If the Detroit Pistons can find a way to lose these next three games, the rest of the season should take care of itself, as they would then have only two games left on their schedule that are against teams at the bottom in the Magic and Timberwolves.

The Pistons have had an entertaining season that would be even sweeter if it ended in a top-five pick and these next three games will go a long way to determining their position.

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