One of the big questions of the offseason was whether the Detroit Pistons were going to tank again next season.
This became especially loud after the Cavaliers traded for Donovan Mitchell, making the Pistons road in the Central Division even tougher.
But Detroit somewhat put that question to rest after making a trade for Bojan Bogdanovic that looks like a huge win for the Pistons.
The legion of misery was out in full force yesterday, as they wanted the Pistons to tank for a chance at Victor Wembanyama and think that Bogdanovic might help Detroit win just enough games to sniff the play-in and remove themselves from the conversation for a top pick.
Of course, the 33-year-old Bogdanovic isn’t enough to really make them contenders, so why try to win at all, right?
Those of us who are sick of watching the Pistons lose would disagree, but winning also makes sense from a team building standpoint, as Detroit wants to make incremental improvement in Cade Cunningham’s early careers and get some real big-game reps for their young players.
There is value in winning, not just for player development, but for the fans, who pay money for these games and want to see a quality product. The NBA is wide open right now and you never know what can happen, just look at Cleveland, who made a huge leap last season and is now on the cusp of really being good. Wouldn’t this be a better result than winning 20 games again next season just for the 14 percent chance at a “generational prospect?”
Also, this trade doesn’t necessarily mean the Detroit Pistons won’t be tanking next season.
Detroit Pistons: Go for it! Then tank.
I love this trade for the Pistons, as it will make them better and more entertaining to watch. Entertainment and winning are the two points of professional sports (for fans), so I am happy that Detroit will actively be trying to win games instead of giving up on the season before it even starts.
But Bogdanovic isn’t going to make the Pistons a 50-win team, so they can play hard in the beginning, try to win games, and if it works out, great! Your young guys get some quality reps, maybe their first sniff of a run at the playoffs and Detroit heads into the offseason with a ton of cap space and promising team that is now suddenly appealing to free agents.
If things aren’t going well and it appears the young roster is not ready to make that run, then the Pistons can simply flip Bogdanovic for assets at the deadline and tank away. If they are out of contention completely by midseason then they’ll have plenty of time to tank down the stretch and still put themselves in position for a top pick.
It’s really a win/win for Detroit, as they are showing their young guys they want to win and giving them every opportunity to do it, but without sacrificing any steps in the rebuild, losing assets or forgetting the big picture, which is sustained success.