Tankapalooza 2023 is well underway and once again, the Detroit Pistons are on the center stage.
The Pistons currently sit alone with the second-worst record in the league and are already leaning on some dubious “injuries” and late-game collapses even though there are 20 games left in the season.
To their credit, Detroit is finding new and creative ways to lose games in their quest to be the worst team in the NBA and get maximum odds at Victor Wembanyama. Being the worst team means nothing to the odds at the #1 pick, but would prevent the Pistons from falling out of the top five of the 2023 NBA Draft.
Detroit hopes to be “great next year,” according to Troy Weaver, which seems like a pipe dream the way they are cultivating this culture of losing, as they will be lucky to get to 20 wins this season.
He’s putting a whole lot of faith in the offseason, but before we get there, Detroit still has to tank this one out. Even though they have been elite losers of late, it still might be tough given their remaining strength of schedule compared to the other tankers.
Detroit Pistons schedule: The tank brigade is rolling
There are four teams that are egregiously tanking right now, the Pistons, Hornets, Rockets and Spurs.
Houston has the worst record in the league, 1.5 games behind Detroit, and San Antonio is a half game ahead of the Pistons, while the Hornets, thanks to an untimely win streak, are four games ahead of the Spurs. However, Charlotte just lost LaMelo Ball for the rest of the season, so it’s possible they will get back in the mix.
Of these four teams, the Pistons have the easiest remaining schedule, as the teams they play are just 24th in win percentage. Charlotte is just ahead of them with the 23rd most-difficult schedule, Houston is 21st and San Antonio has the 13th most-difficult schedule, putting them in the driver’s seat of the biggest tank.
It really might come down to the head-to-head matchups, as someone actually has to win those games. Detroit still has a game apiece against Charlotte and Houston, and San Antonio plays Houston twice, so could get a couple of wins there. Charlotte also has a game remaining with Houston and we’ll have to cheer for the Rockets in that one, hoping Detroit can bypass them for the worst record.
Isn’t being a fan fun? We are once again treating losses as victories for Detroit, something I really hope ends next season, as I feel like I’ve been run over by a tank the last few years.