Detroit Pistons: Marvin Bagley III getting sick of this excuse

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng (13) defends against Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng (13) defends against Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons lost their 4th in a row last night to the Toronto Raptors, dropping a winnable game in which they missed 12 free throws and lost by four points.

Frustration is starting to mount for the Detroit Pistons as well as the fans, who just want to see some progress in this rebuild. It’s not just that the Pistons are losing, they are mostly losing big, putting up a scoring margin that is similar to the “Process” 76ers.

We’ve been sold the same excuses all season, the Pistons are young, they are injured, they are developing chemistry, they…. blah blah blah.

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Marvin Bagley III had heard enough of the “youth” excuse and said so after last night’s defeat at the hands of a team missing three starters:

The truth is that the Detroit Pistons ARE young, they have been injured, and their schedule has been a brutal one filled with back-to-backs, but all of these things apply to other teams who are even younger and showing more progress and effort than we’re seeing in Detroit.

The Detroit Pistons’ age excuse

It is true that young teams generally don’t win in the NBA and that the success of a rebuilding team isn’t necessarily measured in wins and losses. I don’t think anyone expected the Pistons to be a contender this season, but they haven’t really even been competitive in most of these games.

Also, they aren’t that young. Here are the 16 youngest teams in the NBA with their average age:

  • Oklahoma City Thunder – 23.14
  • Houston Rockets – 23.58
  • San Antonio Spurs – 23.84
  • Orlando Magic – 23.94
  • Memphis Grizzlies – 24.27
  • Charlotte Hornets – 24.60
  • Portland Trail Blazers – 24.78
  • New York Knicks – 25.02
  • Detroit Pistons – 25.08
  • Indiana Pacers – 25.08
  • Atlanta Hawks – 25.23
  • Minnesota Timberwolves – 25.44
  • New Orleans Pelicans – 25.56
  • Utah Jazz – 25.86
  • Toronto Raptors – 25.88
  • Sacramento Kings – 25.97

As you can see, the Detroit Pistons are only the 9th-youngest team in the NBA, which an average age of just over 25 years old. Every team ahead of them on the list is not only younger, but has won more games, with the exception of the Houston Rockets, the NBA’s worst team.

Yes, you can argue that some of these teams have key players who are veterans while most of the Pistons’ starters are in their early 20’s, but is that even true?

OKC is led by a 24-year-old, San Antonio’s most experienced player is Gorgui Dieng, who barely plays. These teams have won six games apiece and all of their key players are young too.

The Magic are better than the Pistons and are being led by a rookie. The Blazers and Knicks, who many consider veteran teams, are actually younger overall than the Pistons and competing for playoff spots (though most of their young players are reserves). The Grizzlies are younger and are a title contender.

Yes the Pistons’ average roster age is being dragged up by a couple of older players, so this list is somewhat misleading, but a quick look around the league shows a handful of teams with a similar roster makeup who are showing more improvement and aren’t staring at a -10 scoring margin.

OKC’s scoring margin is even, the Spurs are two points better than the Pistons, the Hornets are four. Even the lowly Rockets (who have won two games) are more than a point better than Detroit.

Youth is not an excuse you can use forever. Young or not, this team needs to start showing some improvement, not just in the win column, but with overall development and effort. Otherwise, there is going to be a shakeup soon.

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