The Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a storied history together of tough playoff battles and intense regular season matchups, creating a rivalry between the two midwestern teams.
While not as fierce as some other sports rivalries like the Lakers-Celtics or the Yankees-Red Sox, there is definitely some bad blood between the division rivals.
Coincidentally, both of these teams have been good at the same time nearly every time they are playoff caliber teams. This includes matchups between greats like Isiah Thomas vs Mark Price, Ben Wallace vs LeBron James and the former All-Star Andre Drummond vs LeBron James.
Even before James returned to his hometown team, there were some great matchups between Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight as the two guards traded crossovers and jaw dropping dribble moves while not really competing for wins.
The battle for Rookie of the Year between Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley added fuel to the flame as they both deserved the award more than anybody else in the playing field. Yes, even more than Scottie Barnes.
Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers are the future of the Eastern Conference
While neither team has a player like Thomas or James anymore, they are both beginning to get back into the play-in picture if not making it cleanly to the playoffs, particularly the Cavaliers, who recently traded for All-Star Donovan Mitchell and expect to be closer to the top of the conference.
Not too long ago, the Pistons began a rebuild, trading away centerpieces Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond for a chance at delivering a generational talent to the city of Detroit, this eventually delivered in the form of Cade Cunningham.
Around the same time, the Cavaliers lost LeBron James to free agency as he signed with the Lakers, throwing them into a rebuild where they found Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and most of the trade pieces for Donovan Mitchell.
Many Cleveland fans still firmly support LeBron James and his NBA career despite his two-time departure from the city to win championships for other teams.
In case anybody forgot, the last time James competed with the Detroit Pistons he was met with a rampaging Isaiah Stewart, leaving some fans of the all-time great with the image of Beef Stew bloody and angry as the only mental image they have of this young Pistons team.
Both of these franchises are building the basis for perennial contenders behind their young cores, both built around team-oriented offense and hardnosed defense.
You could go all day talking about how fun it will be to see Cade Cunningham vs Darius Garland, or Jaden Ivey vs Donovan Mitchell, or Saddiq Bey vs Evan Mobley, or even Jalen Duren vs Jarrett Allen. Both teams have incredible young talent with plenty more left to grow before they reach the top.
While the Cavs are already in the playoff picture and probably would have been a top four seed had Allen not been injured, the Pistons were among the bottom of the league looking for that extra piece to propel them into contention, finding Ivey and Duren.
Both of these teams are incredibly talented and have the two best young cores in the NBA featuring potentially six All-Star caliber players between them, with the oldest of them being just 24- years-old.
These teams are going to be very good for a very long time, likely battling each other every year for playoff position very soon and for the foreseeable future. This is going to be incredibly exciting to watch as the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers continue to grow and add more history to the rivalry.