The Detroit Pistons were the worst team in the NBA last season and might be again next season depending on who you ask.
The optimistic among us think the Pistons have a chance to double their win total, which isn’t saying much considering they only had 17 wins last season.
Detroit didn’t make the spashy move in free agency that many were expecting, instead using their cap space on veterans Joe Harris and Monte Morris, moves that looked as much about finances as basketball.
But they should help, particularly Morris, who will solidify the guard group and finally give the Pistons a veteran backup who can actually play.
That wasn’t enough to impress the NBA staff at ESPN much, as their recent predictions for the Eastern Conference (SUBSCRIPTION) have the Detroit Pistons in a similar position.
ESPN picks the Detroit Pistons to win 26 games next season
While the writers at ESPN do like Cade Cunningham and to a lesser extent Ausar Thompson for possible individual awards, they don’t have much optimism that the team will crawl out of the cellar.
Their staff broke the East into tiers starting with the contenders Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philly, Miami and New York, the usual suspects over the last few years in the conference, though does anyone really think the Knicks can win it?
The play-in group had four teams in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Indiana and Orlando, a group that the Detroit Pistons hope they can crack next season.
The final group was the five at the bottom in Chicago, Toronto, Charlotte, Detroit and Washington. ESPN predicts the Pistons will improve by nine games and win 26, which would put them just ahead of the Wizards (24) as the second-worst team in the conference.
I am Homer #1, so am still hoping Detroit can improve by more than nine games, but if I am being entirely realistic and looking at it from the objective point of view of an outsider, this is probably closer to the truth than the Pistons doubling their win total and joining the play-in hopefuls.
They will not only need improvement from all of their young guys, but will need to stay healthy and get real contributions from the offseason additions to have a chance to compete for the play-in next season. Impossible? No, but a lot of things are going to have to go right.