It’s tough to predict just how much the Detroit Pistons will improve next season.
But after winning only 17 games, it would take something beyond catastrophic to happen for them not to better their abysmal record from last season.
Recently, ESPN picked the Pistons to win just 26 games, which would be a nine-game improvement, but probably not enough to satisfy impatient fans who are ready to see this team show signs of being legitimately competitive.
That might take 30+ wins, which isn’t inconceivable even though they have a new coach, several new players and are still very young.
What constitutes a “turnaround” depends on who you ask, but a recent panel of ESPN analysts (SUBSCRIPTION) chose the Detroit Pistons as one of the teams that could do it next season.
Detroit Pistons expected to make a turnaround next season
When asked which team was poised to make a big jump in the standings, a team at ESPN chose the Detroit Pistons as one of the teams. Here are the others, in order:
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Dallas Mavericks
- Orlando Magic
- San Antonio Spurs
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Detroit Pistons
So Detroit wasn’t at the top of the list, but there were obvious reasons for the teams ahead of them. The Thunder made the play-in last season and will be getting Chet Holmgren back.
The Mavericks will have their first full season of the Luka Doncic/Kyrie Irving backcourt, an experiment that could go either way.
The Magic were on the cusp of the play-in last season and should see leaps from their young talent, including Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero.
The Spurs drafted Victor Wembanyama, enough said.
The Pelicans hope to get a full season out of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram (who doesn’t get nearly enough flak for being injured about as much as Zion), good luck with that!
The Detroit Pistons were just behind in 6th, which I think is a gross underestimation of the impact Cade Cunningham will have. There’s also the fact that the Pistons could double their win total and still be bad, so like I said, “turnaround” is in the eye of the beholder.
Detroit will almost certainly be better next season, but will it be enough to say they’ve turned things around, and more importantly, will it be enough to satisfy fans who have been waiting a very long time for a winning team?