You know the tank is officially on when you see Rodney McGruder in the starting lineup for the Detroit Pistons.
That was the case last night in the loss to the Hornets, which was an important one for the Pistons lottery odds.
The loss put Detroit just a game ahead of the Rockets for worst record in the league and just a half a game ahead of the Spurs, who have lost 16 in a row. Yippee!!
Even if Detroit does debase themselves enough to land the worst record, they will still only have a 14 percent chance at Victor Wembanyama, so being the worst doesn’t guarantee anything and the Pistons would be far more likely to get the 5th pick again than the 1st.
Bojan Bogdanovic, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart all sat last night and the Pistons went down 20 in the first quarter to the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference. But they did eventually make it close before losing, and Marvin Bagley III had another big night off the bench.
Detroit Pistons: Marvin Bagley III makes history off the bench
Marvin Bagley III had 21 points and 12 rebounds last night, which put him in the Pistons’ history books with Terry Tyler:
It was surprising that only two players have accomplished this feat, as I would have expected someone from the Bad Boys era, when the Pistons had an amazing bench, to have done it several times.
Bagley III has played well in the two games since he returned, trying to remind the Pistons that they already had an athletic big at home when they went out shopping for James Wiseman.
MBIII and Wiseman combined for 44 points and 19 rebounds against Charlotte, showing that they can co-exist, but the real test is going to come when the Pistons have their full complement of bigs, as it is still unclear how coach Casey plans to use Wiseman and Bagley III when Jalen Duren is also in the lineup.
Detroit still lost the rebounding battle, but the game was really decided by the Pistons’ abysmal shooting from long range, as they hit just 3-of-26 for the game. In the last two, Detroit has gone 9-of-50 from 3-point range for 18 percent.