The Detroit Pistons are one of several young teams looking to climb out of the cellar into regular contention for the NBA playoffs.
There were five teams in the NBA last season that won 25 games or fewer, including the Pacers (25 wins), Thunder (24 wins), Pistons (23 wins), Magic (22 wins) and Rockets (20 wins).
It’s not likely that any of these teams actually make the playoffs next season, as both conferences are deep with talent, but after watching the Cleveland Cavaliers go from awful to contention in one offseason, you can’t rule it out.
All five of the NBA’s “bad” teams are young but talented and could represent the next group of contenders in the NBA, but which one is going to bust out first?
Detroit Pistons: Which bad team will be good first?
The Magic won just 22 games last season, but have a promising core built around Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs and #1 pick Paolo Banchero.
Orlando’s climb out of the cellar will largely be dictated by how good Banchero is, as the rest of their guys are more in the “solid role player” category than stars you want to build around. Anthony, Wagner and Suggs are all really nice players but there is a solid chance that none of them are superstars.
If Banchero is, then the Magic have a nice team, though they have an odd big man situation with Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr. and Jonathan Isaac all signed. They may need to make a trade to balance their roster, though they have no idea what, if anything, they are going to get from Isaac.
Orlando has a ton of projected cap space next offseason, so could be players in free agency if they improve this year with their young core. I like what the Magic are building but it feels like they are still several years away from being good and may lack the top-tier star power, depending on how Banchero pans out.
Will the Magic regret not taking Chet Holmgren? I think their fans might already, but it’s too early to tell. Much like the Detroit Pistons, the Magic’s turnaround will be dictated by the success of the #1 pick.