The Detroit Pistons have been at or near the bottom of the league for a few seasons, the butt of many jokes about being a “poverty franchise.”
This will likely not be the case for long because the Pistons have a bright young player at every position as well as depth to match. It is only a matter of time before they begin to make the playoffs.
Unfortunately, due to the sheer ridiculousness of the Eastern Conference, including nine teams that are legitimate dark horse contenders, they will be stuck battling for the play-in, or more likely just outside of it.
The top nine spots in the east are likely spoken for unless a major injury derails a team’s season, allowing other teams to rise up to the occasion. Very much like what happened to the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
The biggest threat for the Detroit Pistons’ play in hopes is probably the New York Knicks, boasting a new lineup featuring perceived star Jalen Brunson. The Knicks were just outside of the play-in last season after finishing as a four-seed the year before.
Following a trade in which Troy Weaver pulled some kind of voodoo magic in order to get all of the high quality but underappreciated Knicks into a Pistons jersey while giving nothing in return, some of the high impact players for the New York squad will be playing in Detroit next season.
This includes Nerlens Noel, a player who as a starter for the Knicks, changed the dynamic of their defense being coached by controversial head coach Tom Thibodeau, allowing them to make the splash in the regular season that they did.
They also gave up Alec Burks, a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range, a guy the Knicks will definitely miss. These two players weren’t stars but they were impact contributors that that the Knicks will miss even though they added Brunson.
You also have the potential “Thibodeau effect.” A common trait among Thibodeau coached teams is that great season, shattering the expectations for the team that is immediately followed by injuries, drama, and disappointment.
We saw it happen with the Chicago Bulls, then the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the New York Knicks could be next.
Could this be the season when the Thibodeau effect kicks in for the Knicks? If so, the Detroit Pistons could surpass them in the standings and take the next step towards sustained success, helped by their young talent and veteran players the Knicks gave away for cap space.