Top 10 moments of the 2020-21 Detroit Pistons season

Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE.
Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE. /
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While this past season was not that successful for the Detroit Pistons in terms of pure wins and losses, it was one of the most positive experiences for fans in a few years.

Detroit found what might be a young core of players to start building a contender around. They also lost enough games to give themselves the best possible chance of getting the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

The Pistons during the season had the strange pattern of doing extremely well against the best teams in the NBA, but struggling against those at the bottom of the standings.

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The hard-playing Pistons almost never got blown out. They rarely won, but almost all of their games came down to the fourth quarter.

So, before we project ahead to the future, here is a look back at the top 10 moments of last season.

Rankings are based on importance, entertainment value and meaning.

Top 10 moments of the Detroit Pistons season

10. No unlucky 7s! (May 16, 2021)

It came down to the wire, but the Detroit Pistons  secured having the second worst record in the NBA with a 104-91 loss to the Miami Heat in the final game of the regular season.

A loss would have put them in a tie for second with the Orlando Magic, meaning second would have come down to a coin flip.

In the NBA Draft Lottery, Detroit always seems to end up in seventh place. Last year they had the fifth-worst record and ended up getting the seventh pick.

Thanks to the loss, Detroit can have no worse than the No. 6 draft choice. They also have a 14% percent chance, as one of the bottom three records, of getting the No. 1 pick.

Bad news occurred (sort of) when the Atlanta Hawks secured the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference earlier in the day. That meant the Heat were the No. 6 seed no matter what, and now had no incentive to win the game.

Miami was the defending Eastern Conference champions and needed to prepare for another long playoff run.

However, any drama was quickly eliminated. The makeshift Heat were facing a bunch of exhausted young players and bolted out to a 32-13 lead after the first period.

Ironically, this is the last game the Miami Heat would win all season.

9. Wayne Ellington beats Lebron James (January 28, 2021)

The Detroit Pistons were coming off one of their few uncompetitive games, a 15-point beatdown at the hands of Andre Drummond and the Cleveland Cavaliers in which they had played terrible.

Next up were the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers at Little Caesars Arena in the second game of a back-to-back. The Lakers were without Anthony Davis but LeBron James and the rest of the core of the team were there.

The Lakers were the No. 1 defensive team in the NBA, but they simply could not stop Pistons guard Wayne Ellington.

Ellington is a noted three-point shooter but he had been on a major hot streak at that time.

He knocked down 6 of 9 three-point shots, including two big ones in the fourth quarter, as Detroit pulled away for a 107-92 victory.

It was, undoubtedly, the most surprising victory of the season.

8. Hamiduo Diallo arrives (March 13, 2021)

Everyone knew that Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver would do something as the NBA trading deadline approached. Standing pat is simply not in his DNA.

The shoe dropped on March 13, as the Pistons sent Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for young wing Hamiduo Diallo.

The trade worked for both teams.

Mykhailiuk simply had not gotten on track during the season. He was a three-point shooting specialist who was not shooting three-pointers very well (33% at time of trade). A change in scenery was definitely in order.

Diallo was playing well for the Thunder but he was going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. With Oklahoma City in full tank mode, there was little chance they were going to coax Diallo back.

Ironically, Diallo, by reputation a poor outside shooter, was better from three with Detroit (39%) than Mykhailiuk had.

Diallo will still enter restricted free agency but the Pistons have made it clear they want him to be part of their future. Signing Diallo is a high priority for Weaver.