It’s been a long time since the Detroit Pistons have enjoyed any kind of sustained success.
You’d have to go back to the Goin’ to Work era when the Pistons were mainstays in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the years since have been painful, culminating in a playoff drought that is currently the longest in the NBA.
GM Troy Weaver knows that has to change soon, and optimism is currently high that it will with Cade Cunningham returning and the additions of Ausar Thompson, Monte Morris, Joe Harris and Marcus Sasser.
But you also get the feeling that optimism is hanging on by a thread, especially for a fanbase that has heard all of the rhetoric about restoration and is eager to see words replaced by results.
No one is expecting the Detroit Pistons to contend for a title next season, but we want progress and a recent quote from Troy Weaver during media day aptly summarized that tempered optimism.
Detroit Pistons: Troy Weaver quote sums up hope for 2023-24 season
Speaking during media day, Troy Weaver was asked about realistic goals for his team this season. I think his response reflected where most of the fans and media are with this team.
"“Realistic goal for our team? Is to play 82 meaningful games…We want to go down to the wire every game with us playing for something. We don’t want to just look at the last 25 games and not be in contention. We want to be in contention for 82 games, the entire season.”"
Being competitive for an entire season may be a low bar to set, but for a team that won 17 games last season and was a complete joke in the home stretch, it would be a marked improvement.
Again, no one is expecting the Detroit Pistons to win 50 games, but there has to be real progress toward that. A good example would be the Orlando Magic from last season. They came up short of the play-in tournament but were at least within shouting distance of it in the last month, giving their young players something to play for and creating a competitive atmosphere that the Detroit Pistons have lacked.
Young teams need to be tested in games that matter, not going through the motions while the team benches the veterans in an effort to increase lottery odds.
I am hopeful it will happen this season, and that we will finally see the Pistons looking at the playoff standings and not the odds for the #1 pick.