Last year the Detroit Pistons were one of the worst teams in the league, finishing two losses shy of last place in the East. This granted a high draft pick to help flip this misfortune. The Pistons also had a lot of cap space to spend on a high value asset through either trade or free agency, but ended up just re-signing Marvin Bagley III and taking on Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks in a trade to go along with their two draft picks.
However, this year’s off-season so far seems like a bit of a let down. Not to say the Pistons didn’t get at least somewhat better, but when you compare the expectations to the result it leaves the Pistons community with something to be desired. The NBA schedule makers also seem to agree.
Detroit Pistons: No Christmas game
Every year the NBA’s most popular teams battle it out on Christmas. This is not on accident, the NBA pits its top teams against each other to generate the most views and sales. This year the Lakers, Mavericks, Celtics, Warriors, and Suns are some of the star teams showcasing their talent on the big night. For most of us It’s no surprise that Detroit won’t be playing on Christmas given the shear talent of all of the other teams. In fact the Pistons haven’t had a Christmas Day game since 2005. This has somewhat to do with the popularity of Detroit Basketball, seeing as how the Knicks will play despite their 37-45 record last year. However, it is mainly due to the age and talent level of the Pistons.
The Detroit Pistons won’t be on national TV much
This upcoming season Detroit will play in only four nationally televised games, an upgrade from last year, but not by much. The three extra games most likely coming because of the new rookies the Pistons acquired, so hardly a ringing endorsement of the offseason.
To be fair, nationally televised games come by way of more than just free agent acquisitions and draft prospects. Last year’s success can greatly increase your chances of being on the big stage. As many of us know last year, the Pistons had very little success which is partly why they’ve been snubbed once again.
Popularity and Success
As I mentioned there are two seperate categories that can get you showcased in the big games that everyone will be watching. Popularity and Success. Popularity is all about the roster and the market. Teams like the Clippers and Lakers will have 30+ Prime-Time games despite not making the playoffs and underachieving their lofty expectations. The success route is predominantly dependent on what your team accomplished last year. If you had a playoff push or high seeding accompanied by a postseason berth, more than likely you can see an increase in national attention. Of course you also have teams that check both of these boxes such as the Celtics and Warriors.
Our Pistons check neither box which is why they have found themselves in the doghouse once again. However, for those who are feeling down there is still a silver lining. If the Pistons make the most of the young core they do have the potential to at. least make the play-In tournament.
That gives the Pistons a puncher’s chance at a berth into the postseason. Then the following off-season Detroit will be a buying team in search of just a few pieces to get over the hump. As of right now though, you can’t blame the schedule makers for shewing the Pistons aside. The league is a business, and its primary goal is to give the people what they want. The people don’t want to see the Pistons. It’s up to the team to change their minds.