Zach Lowe not high on the Pistons’ watchability

Jalen Duren #0 of the Detroit Pistons and Jaden Ivey #23 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Jalen Duren #0 of the Detroit Pistons and Jaden Ivey #23 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons were a tough watch last season.

Offseason optimism turned into dread when Cade Cunningham went down and the Pistons limped to just 17 wins with a G-League roster on the floor by the end of it.

They were hardly must-see TV for anyone outside of Detroit and even some of the staunchest die-hards had tapped out by the end of the season.

Detroit deservedly got little national coverage outside of lottery projections and were not high atop non-Pistons fans’ lists of teams to watch on NBA League Pass.

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The return of Cade Cunningham should help generate some buzz outside of the Motor City, but the Pistons still won’t be a League Pass team, at least according to Zach Lowe.

Pistons near the bottom of Zach Lowe’s League Pass rankings

Zach Lowe is one of the few national writers who dives deep into the NBA, so deep that he often writes about the Detroit Pistons, which I appreciate.

I look forward to his “League Pass Rankings” in which he ranks teams by their watchability. These are not his power ranking per se, but how interesting or fun a team is to watch based on the following criteria:

"“Zeitgeist: Do normal people care about this team?Highlight potential: Should you linger in case some passing savant or outrageous leaper uncorks something you might never see again?Strategy/style: Are they fun to watch? This is where coaching factors in.League Pass minutia: Announcers, uniforms, courts.Unintentional comedy: Blame Simmons.”"

The Pistons came in 29th, just one spot ahead of the Washington Wizards, who he has deemed the least watchable team. To be fair, Detroit was well ahead of them, but still isn’t all that tantalizing to those outside of the Motor City.

The Pistons definitely don’t score high on the Zeitgeist scale, as regular people aren’t talking about them. Any associations people have with the Pistons are from the past and a casual fan might not be able to name more than 3-4 of their players.

With Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and Ausar Thompson flying around, I’d say the Pistons offer plenty of potential for highlights. The strategy and style are pending, as head coach Monty Williams should install a faster and more exciting offense than the one the Pistons’ featured last season.

But it’s going to take awhile for it to gel, as Lowe notes, and we could see some ugly half-court possessions early in the season.

You can argue all day about uniforms and courts (some fans like to) but I would probably agree that Detroit is fairly middle-of-the-road. As for unintentional comedy (whatever that is), the Pistons don’t have a wild locker room situation or unhappy superstar to fuel much unintentional comedy.

It’s hard to disagree with his assessment, though I would have ranked the Raptors (28), Bulls (26) and Utah Jazz (25) lower based on the fact that they are middling teams that aren’t very good and aren’t loaded with exciting young talent. I would also argue that the Jazz have the worst uniforms in the league and it’s not particularly close.

Of all of the teams at the bottom, the Detroit Pistons have a chance to change this narrative and transform into a team that casual fans tune in to watch, but it starts by winning some games while filling highlight reels.

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