Should the Detroit Pistons lose every game now? Yes

Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph . Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph . Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

It was a great win for the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. With a little help from some old-timers, a group of promising youngsters dispatched the Memphis Grizzlies in convincing fashion.

But after that victory, in terms of the NBA Draft Lottery, they really can not win another game this season.

The Detroit Pistons have absolutely nothing to play for. They are eliminated from even Play-in contention at this point.

On the other hand, their opponent on Friday, the Memphis Grizzlies, had a lot of reasons to try and win. The Grizz were in eighth place in the rugged Western Conference, battling to improve its position.

Yet it was the team that had no reason to win, Detroit, that scored more points. It was not even really close, as the Pistons rolled to a 111-97 win.

A key to the win was the return to the court of veteran guards Cory Joseph and Wayne Ellington.

Not having Killian Hayes (illness), Josh Jackson (dental surgery) or Hamiduo Diallo (sore knee), coach Dwane Casey had no choice but to insert the previously-mothballed vets.

Rust was not a problem, as Joseph had 18 points and 11 assists while Ellington rained six three-pointers en route to 18 points.

It was Detroit’s last win since April 26, when they defeated the Atlanta Hawks. That was also the last time Joseph, Ellington and most of the other Pistons experienced players saw action.

In the four games in-between, Detroit lost with a lineup of rookies and other young players (plus Jahlil Okafor).

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Now, Detroit was not blown out in those games (like the Thunder has); they were competitive. However, they simply did not make the plays down the stretch needed to win. Joseph and Ellington did make those plays, and their leadership allowed the youngsters to make those plays as well.

It was a good win.  Joseph and Ellington (who are not guaranteed to return next season) showed management their value, and the young players learned a a lesson on what it takes to win.

But when you looked at the NBA standings after the Memphis win, only one reasonable conclusion can be made:

The Detroit Pistons must lose every game for the rest of the NBA season

The win over the Grizzlies gave the Pistons a record of 20-47 with five games left in the season.

In the NBA standings, Detroit is tied with Minnesota for the second worst record in the league. Since the three worst records get the same percentage of ping pong balls (14-percent) for the draft lottery, the Pistons, as of now, are fine.

If Detroit goes 0-5 the rest of the way, they are guaranteed to have as good a chance as any NBA team in getting the No. 1 draft pick.

The lurkers:

While Detroit is OK now, if they win more games, it could really affect their final finish.

There are a bunch of teams only a game (or is it ahead?) of the Pistons. And they are not trying very hard to up their win total.

(records as of noon, May 7)

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 21-46
  • Orlando Magic: 21-45
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 21-45
  • Detroit Pistons: 20-47

Theoretically, if the Pistons went 2-3 the rest of the way, they could get passed by these three teams and end up with the No. 6 worst record. Their odds for No. 1 drop from 14 to 9.7%.

Still a decent shot, but not as much as if Detroit finished in the bottom three.

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Detroit does not have an easy schedule to end the season.

They face three teams that will be in the playoffs (Philadelphia, Miami, Denver), another with slender hopes of making the Play-in tournament (Chicago) and a May 11 date with the Timberwolves, which could have major implications.

Detroit will be the underdog in all but the Minnesota game. However, after playing in Philadelphia, the remaining games will be at Little Caesars Arena.

Many a title contender (76ers, Lakers, Suns) have gone down to defeat to Detroit at the LCA this year. It could certainly happen again.

There is a report that Pistons’ leading scorer Jerami Grant will play Saturday against the 76ers. That is probably OK.

Going against the No. 1 team in the East at its home court, where they have been virtually unbeatable, with full guns blazing, might be a good lesson for the young players.

The 76ers are where the Pistons want to be be in a couple years. Coach Dwane Casey can show the rookies what it takes to reach that level.

But that would be a game, even at full strength, the Pistons would have a trouble winning. Any game in Detroit, however, past history shows, is a possible victory.

We are not saying they have to lose by 53 points like Oklahoma City has done. The rookies and other young players have shown they can be competitive. They just can’t win – and that is the way it needs to stay.

For its future, the Detroit Pistons must lose all of its games the rest of the season!

How important is it for Detroit to go 0-5? Here is a little draft positioning story, albeit in football.

If the Philadelphia Eagles lost their last two NFL games, they would get the No. 1 overall pick in the 1969 draft. However, in their next to last game, they rallied in the second half to beat the New Orleans Saints.

The Buffalo Bills got the first pick thanks to a 1-12-1 record. The Eagles ended up in third, as the Atlanta Falcons were also 2-12, and picked second.

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The Bills selected O.J. Simpson. The Eagles drafted Leroy Keyes, a college running back who would switch to safety in the pros.

This is why the Pistons can not win anymore.