Teams the Detroit Pistons have to pass
Hornets and Wizards
I don’t think most fans of the Detroit Pistons expect them to suddenly compete for a high seed in the playoffs next season, but they do expect some progress and that would include not finishing last in the Eastern Conference again.
To do that, they will have to pass the Hornets and Wizards, who figure to be near that spot in the standings again next season.
The Hornets will be relying heavily on the health of LaMelo Ball, just as the Pistons will be with Cade Cunningham. The Hornets did win 10 more games than the Pistons last season, but haven’t done much to improve their roster other than drafting rookie Brandon Miller.
He could be a difference-maker right away, who knows and it’s possible that they will find some chemistry with their mix of veterans to go along with young talents like Ball, Miller and Mark Williams.
But they lack depth and will eventually be working Miles Bridges back in, which could go either way. I could see this team being a tabloid disaster, trading Hayward and Rozier and doing a soft rebuild.
I don’t think it’s a given that Detroit is better than Charlotte, but they will need to be if the want to make a leap in the standings.
The Wizards probably waited a year too long to trade Bradley Beal, but they finally did and are now rebuilding with the assets they acquired. Is Jordan Poole for real? We shall see. It’s hard to see the Wizards improving on their 35 wins from last season, as their roster is full of middling guys and they might be content with tanking.
There are no guarantees for next season, as every team in the East should at least be competitive at the beginning and there will be fewer teams tanking with no Victor Wembanyama at stake.