The Detroit Pistons were the worst team in the league last season, and considering we are still months away from the next one, it may be a stretch to talk about “must-win” games.
But additions to the roster and the return of Cade Cunningham should make an impact, so while the Pistons are not yet contenders, there is a chance they could climb out of the cellar.
The Pistons’ schedule has some quirks (15 back-to-backs!) and tough stretches but they still have a chance to improve on their pathetic win total from last season.
If the Pistons are going to make the kind of leap we are hoping for, they have to beat the other rebuilding teams more regularly and avoid lengthy losing streaks. Having an actual winning streak of their own would also be a welcome development from last season.
If that’s going to happen, there are a few games on the 2023-24 schedule that they have to win.
3 must-win games on the Detroit Pistons’ schedule next season
November 12th @ Chicago Bulls
Plenty could change between now and the start of the regular season. There will undoubtedly be some teams that outperform predictions and those that fall short. But as of right now, it appears November will be the toughest month on the Pistons’ schedule.
Prior to this game against the Bulls, the Pistons will play the Pelicans, Suns, Warriors, Bucks and 76ers and there is a good chance they will lose all of them. The Pistons lost 14 straight in 2021-22 and 11 straight on two different occasions last season.
To have any chance at the play-in, they have to avoid streaks like this. If Detroit does lose five in a row in November, they need to snap that with a win over the Bulls. If not, November could be very ugly.
December 30th vs. Toronto Raptors
This is another game that comes at the tail-end of a brutal stretch where the Detroit Pistons will play the 76ers (x2), Bucks, Hawks, Jazz, Nets (x2) and Celtics. There might only be 2-3 wins in that group, so Detroit has to take care of business against Toronto at home, especially considering the Pistons will leave for a four-game West Coast road trip the next day.
January 10th vs. Spurs
After that four-game road trip against the Rockets, Jazz, Warriors and Nuggets, the Detroit Pistons will return home for eight out of their next nine. January is the month the Pistons can make up some ground and it starts by beating the Spurs, who should be near Detroit in the standings. This will be a massive home crowd with a lot of buzz around Wembanyama, so it would be great for Detroit to start this homestand with a win that could kick off their best stretch of the season.