Another lump of coal for Pistons at Christmas

The Detroit Pistons cheer team entertains the fans in their Christmas outfits . (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
The Detroit Pistons cheer team entertains the fans in their Christmas outfits . (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

The NBA’s preliminary schedule for its slate of Christmas Day games was leaked, and the Detroit Pistons are, once again, not listed. It is the 17th straight year the Pistons will not play on December 25.

This is a story we seem to write every year, and would really rather not.

The NBA has been quietly leaking parts of its 2022-2023 schedule to stir interest as it will soon release the entire thing.

What popped up recently was its schedule for Christmas Day, the day the NBA tries to showcase its best, or most popular, teams. Everyone is off work and have time to check out what the NBA is about.

Shams Charania got the schedule for December 25, and it is not good news for Detroit Pistons fans.

For the 17th year in a row, the Pistons will not be playing on Christmas. So you can go make any plans you want for Christmas, and not worry about missing a Pistons game.

While the Pistons generated a lot of buzz this summer, with Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren joining a promising young core, it was not enough to crack the prestigious Christmas Day lineup.

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Cade Cunningham is hailed as one of the up-and-coming stars in the league but, apparently, the NBA is not looking to promote him enough to place him on a Christmas Day game.

The league office has never been a big fan of putting the Pistons on national TV. The last time they played on December 25, was 2005, when they were the defending champions, and beat the San Antonio Spurs at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

How long ago was that? Joey Harrington was the starting quarterback of the Detroit Lions.

Even though Detroit was in the Eastern Conference finals the following three seasons, they have been put on the Christmas Day docket again.

So why didn’t the Detroit Pistons make it this season?

Looking at the 10 teams who will be playing, one thing stands out: They all are seen as championship contenders, or based in Los Angeles or New York, the top two television markets.

All the non-LA/NYC teams won at least a round in the playoffs last year, except Denver, but with the return of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. from injury, the Nuggets are expected to compete in the West.

This year, due to Christmas falling on a Sunday, the NBA will have to compete with the NFL, so it looks like they played it safe and just went for the big cities and top teams.

Now, if the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic or Oklahoma City Thunder had been selected, Pistons fans would have a right to be spitting mad, as they are ahead of them in the rebuilding process. But those young clubs were also ignored.

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With the NBA playing it safe, a chance to showcase a team loaded with ‘stars of the future’ received a ‘Bah, humbug’ from the league. Maybe next year?