The Detroit Pistons are improving and hope to make the leap out of the cellar into contention for the play-in next season.
Unfortunately, just about the entire Eastern Conference is improving with them.
The East has bounced back after being the lesser conference for many years, with strong title contenders at the top and some of the best young teams in the NBA ready to breakout from the bottom.
The NBA recently released their way-too-early Eastern Conference Power rankings, which must have been a tough task given the parity of the conference and the potential for some teams to significantly improve next season.
Here are the final rankings they came up with:
- #1: Boston Celtics
- #2: Milwaukee Bucks
- #3: Philadelphia 76ers
- #4: Miami Heat
- #5: Toronto Raptors
- #6: Chicago Bulls
- #7: Brooklyn Nets
- #8: Atlanta Hawks
- #9: Cleveland Cavaliers
- #10: New York Knicks
- #11: Washington Wizards
- #12: Charlotte Hornets
- #13: Detroit Pistons
- #14: Orlando Magic
- #15: Indiana Pacers
As you can see, the Detroit Pistons have moved up slightly, but are still predicted to be one of the worst teams in the East, putting them squarely into next seasons’ Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes according to the NBA.
But there is plenty to argue about on this list, including where the Detroit Pistons are ranked.
Detroit Pistons: Eastern Conference power rankings
It’s obviously way too early to be making these rankings, as many of these teams aren’t even done making moves and some could drop or rise depending on what they do.
If the Brooklyn Nets end up trading Kevin Durant, you can expect them to fall, and I’m not certain they should be this high even if they keep him, as he is going to be disgruntled and possibly hold out of training camp.
The Bulls will be relying heavily on guys staying healthy, as they plummeted from a top spot in the East last season after losing several key players to injury. I could see them closer to the top if healthy, but possibly closer to out of the playoffs if not.
The Hawks have a new backcourt mate for Trae Young, but had to give up some of their depth to get him.
It’s hard to argue with the top four in some order, as all of them were good last year and figure to be good again.
But what about the Detroit Pistons, does 13th seem right?
I don’t think it is far off, though I could definitely see the Pistons leapfrogging a couple of teams ahead of them in these preseason rankings. The Wizards and Hornets are two teams that could be worse next season depending on how things shake out.
The Wizards are hoping to get big seasons from Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, two guys who played a combined 91 games last season.
The Hornets lost their second-best player, Miles Bridges, who may never play in the NBA again. They did nothing to replace his production and will almost certainly take a step or two back next season.
Of course, the Pistons will be relying heavily on players in their early 20’s, which isn’t usually a recipe for success, but if Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey prove to be the dynamic backcourt that we expect, they could surprise some people next season and be right on the fringes of the play-in tournament.