The Detroit Pistons released their regular season schedule yesterday and there was plenty to dig into and talk about.
All fans think their teams are the ones who got “screwed” by the league, but in Detroit’s case, they might be right.
But let’s face it, the Detroit Pistons have been one of, if not the worst team in the NBA over the last four seasons, so they are hardly a priority for a league built around familiar stars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
If Detroit wants preferential treatment when it comes to scheduling, they need to start winning games, and until that day, they will be an afterthought.
But after studying the schedule, it seems commissioner Adam Silver may have it out for Detroit.
The Detroit Pistons only have four nationally televised games
Ok, so this one was expected and understandable, as the Pistons only won 17 games last season and don’t have any players who are household names (yet). But three of these games are on NBA TV, which barely qualifies as “national television” considering not everyone has access to it. Their other game is on ESPN, so if you were expecting any Christmas games or big weekend matchups on ABC, you can think again.
While it is understandable, it doesn’t seem like the best way to market your smaller teams and young star players, which is why the casual fans don’t even know who these guys are until they are in trade rumors to the Knicks and Lakers. By the way, those two teams have a combined 65 nationally televised games next season. Does anyone outside of New York want to watch the boring Knicks 25 times?
The Detroit Pistons have the most back-to-back games
The Pistons will play a whopping 15 back-to-backs next season, which is the most in the NBA.
Not only are teams far more likely to lose the second game of a back-to-back, it increases the risk of injuries. The Pistons already led the league in games missed due to injuries last season, and they have even more back-to-backs in this one.
Not only that, but when you look at who they are against, it’s hard not to believe the league is setting some of the contending teams up for easy wins or at least chances to load manage their stars. Here are some of Detroit’s back-to-backs next season:
- At home vs Suns and Warriors
- An away/home against the Raptors and Nuggets
- A home/away against the Lakers and Knicks
- On the road against the 76ers and Bucks
- On the road against the Lakers and Suns
- A home/away against the Heat and Celtics
- A home/away against the Pelicans and Knicks
- On the road against the Grizzlies and Nets
So over half the back-to-backs are against teams that have serious title aspirations this season. And it gets even worse in the home stretch.
The home stretch of the Detroit Pistons schedule is brutal
If Detroit wants to have any chance of making the playoffs, they are going to have to bank some wins before the final stretch of games. They will play nine of their last 11 games on the road, and that includes two back-to-backs.
The Pistons hope to compete for at least the play-in next season, but the league hasn’t done them any favors by giving them a brutal stretch of games to close it out. The Pistons were 8-33 on the road last season, so will need to improve mightily to have a chance to withstand those last 11 games.
This is what life is like for the cellar dwellers, and as I said, if Detroit wants to change that, all they have to do is start winning some games.