The Detroit Pistons were the worst team in the NBA last season and it wasn’t particularly close.
We knew it was going to be bad as soon as Cade Cunningham hit the injury list, as the Pistons were too young and didn’t have enough talent to compensate for the loss of their best player.
With Cade coming back and looking healthy and strong, the Pistons hope to take the leap they were meant to make last season, and they have added depth in the form of Ausar Thompson, Monte Morris, Joe Harris and Marcus Sasser.
Whether that will be enough to make them competitive in the Eastern Conference is yet to be seen, but there is reason for optimism in Detroit.
I recently did my NBA power rankings by breaking each conference into tiers and the Detroit Pistons fell squarely into the “Has no chance of winning the East” tier.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be one of the worst teams in the league next season or that they won’t chase the play-in tournament. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at some recent power rankings.
Are the B/R power rankings right about the Detroit Pistons?
Preseason power rankings are always a guessing game, as you never know which players will get injured, which will defy expectations and which ones will disappoint. With the Pistons having such a young roster, it’s tough to imagine them realistically competing for the conference, but if things go right, they could certainly be in the mix for the play-in tournament.
But Bleacher Report’s recent power rankings had the Pistons at 29th, just above the Portland Trail Blazers for the worst team in the NBA.
Given their win total from last season and their lack of splashy moves this offseason, that’s probably fair, though I think some national outlets are sleeping on the impact Cade Cunningham is going to make.
There are plenty of teams ahead of them that the Pistons could realistically pass in the standings, including the Wizards, Spurs, Hornets and Rockets. There is also a world where you can add the Bulls and Raptors to this list, especially if they decide to rebuild. The Pistons aren’t far behind teams like the Pacers and Magic, so there is plenty of opportunity for Detroit to make a move out of the cellar.
It will take health (not going great so far), improvement from the young guys and for new head coach Monty Williams to find the right mix of players to create chemistry, but there is hope for the progress we’ve long waited for.