Detroit Pistons: The one benefit of being the league’s worst team

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons were not expected to compete for a title by any stretch this season, but they also weren’t supposed to be the worst team in the league.

After 18 games, they are just that, as the Pistons have only won three times and have still yet to win away from home.

The Detroit Pistons started slowly this season and have been hampered by injuries and a brutal opening-season schedule that has already had them play five back-to-backs.

On top of that, they just lost Cade Cunningham for an indefinite amount of time, Isaiah Stewart is out for a few more weeks with a toe injury and Saddiq Bey joined them in street clothes after turning his ankle.

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This is in the middle of a seven-game losing streak, so it’s not surprising that Pistons’ fans are already checking the lottery odds.

If Cunningham has to miss most or all of the season, there is a good chance the Detroit Pistons will end up with the league’s worst record. Although there is no longer a huge advantage to being the league’s worst team in terms of odds for the number one pick, it does have one benefit.

The Detroit Pistons lottery odds

The bottom three teams all have equal 14 percent chance odds for the number one pick, so there isn’t any benefit to being the absolute worst in the quest to get Victor Wembanyama.

Here are Detroit’s odds by pick if they end up being the worst team:

  • Pick #1: 14 percent
  • Pick #2: 13.5 percent
  • Pick #3: 12.7 percent
  • Pick #4: 12.0 percent
  • Pick #5: 47.9 percent

The bottom three picks all have identical odds of 52.1 percent to stay in the top four, so the only real advantage to being the worst is that you are guaranteed to stay in the top five.

It’s horrible that we are already doing these calculations in November, but unless the Pistons really turn things around, they are going to be battling more for lottery position than playoff position this season.

At this point it looks as though only Houston will challenge the Detroit Pistons for the worst record in the league, so they will be the team to monitor if the losses continue to mount for Detroit.

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