The Detroit Pistons have a rich history of playing on Christmas Day, as they have done it 32 times, 3rd most in the NBA.
But that tradition has long passed and a new one has taken its place, which is the Pistons spending their Christmas doing something other than playing televised basketball.
The Christmas Day slate of NBA games was announced yesterday, and not surprisingly, the Detroit Pistons were not on it:
The NBA tends to ignore the up and coming teams (if the Pistons are one) in favor of well-known faces, so it wasn’t surprising to see Giannis and the Bucks, Embiid and the 76ers, Jimmy Butler and the Heat, LeBron and the Lakers, Jokic and the Nuggets and Stephen Curry with the Warriors, as some or all of these teams have played Christmas Day games over the last several years.
But when was the last time the Detroit Pistons took part? And will they ever get a Christmas Day game again?
When was the last time the Pistons played on Christmas?
Playing on Christmas is an honor, as it’s one of the biggest days of the NBA season and millions of casual eyeballs will be on televisions, so it’s great advertising for the league, as well as individual teams and players.
The Detroit Pistons haven’t had the honor since 2005, so this will be their 18th straight season without an appearance. Detroit hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008, the longest drought in the NBA, so their absence from the marquee day of the season makes sense.
So when can we expect to see them again? Detroit finally has some exciting young talent, but I’d say they need to at least sniff the playoffs before they’ll even be considered for a Christmas Day spot.
If the Pistons and one of the other young teams (say Houston or Orlando) were to both make the play-in and had some exciting games throughout the season, it’s possible the NBA would reward them with a game next year, but even that is a long shot.
So until the Pistons start making the playoffs regularly, they can expect to be watching the games like the rest of us, at home on the sofa with a belly full of food and too much wine.