The case for Detroit Pistons trying to win this year
All you have to do is point to the Philadelphia 76ers and their famous ‘Process’ and see that continuous tanking does not work. After years of losing for high picks, the Sixers have never gotten past the second round of the playoffs.
At some point, you have to put on your big boy pants, and try to beat the other NBA teams.
Detroit fans have had to suffer through three horrible years where the Pistons have been at, or near, the bottom of the standings. It would be nice to watch the team win a good amount of games and be in the discussion for the play-in.
Cade Cunningham is certainly not looking to lose this year. Here is what he said at summer league (h/t Omari Sankofa of the Free Press):
"“I think just the mindset is we’re all hungry to get the season started, get going together and prove ourselves in the league,” Cunningham said. “Like you said, super young core. Nobody’s going to give us anything but we’re ready to go out and prove ourselves. I think we have a lot of talent to do it.”"
Of course, players never want to tank. Why would they? Playing poorly to lose games just opens them up to having more competition for their position. Their job is to play as well as possible, the wins and losses are the responsibility of coaches and management.
Players like Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart are still young, but they are each entering their third NBA season. At this point in their respective careers, another season floundering in the standings could be a negative.
The Pistons talk a lot about ‘culture’ so you don’t want a culture of consistently losing, which is all they will know.
Now, there is a way for the Pistons to get players ready for a long period of success, and still get a shot at Victor Wembanyama.