The Detroit Pistons have gone on and on about being competitive this season, but outside of the Motor City you won’t find too many people who believe they will be.
The Pistons have mostly been picked to finish last or next to last in the Eastern Conference again and even the most optimistic predictions don’t have them making it to the play-in tournament.
Their emergence (or lack of it) will likely come down to two things: Whether the Pistons can stay healthy and whether Cade Cunningham evolves into a star.
Even if he does, the Pistons still have wonky roster with pieces that have no clear fit together. New head coach Monty Williams will have his work cut out for him trying to find combinations that work before the inevitable trade deadline moves that will likely send Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks to other teams.
So it’s not surprising to see the Pistons getting no love from national press, some of which has named them as the NBA’s worst team.
Detroit Pistons roster: Is it the worst?
The Pistons won 17 games last season and did little in the offseason, so if you are expecting a contender this season, you’ll probably be disappointed.
John Hollinger of The Athletic (SUBSCRIPTION) picked Detroit to finish second to last in the Eastern Conference, and the only reason he didn’t have them last is that he thinks they are going to try, while the Washington Wizards will be tanking away. He has Detroit winning 27 games this season, which is about the number most national publications have predicted.
He went a step further and said his numbers indicate that the Pistons may have the worst roster in the league:
"“The Pistons spent big on a coaching change this offseason to grab Monty Williams and have a healthy Cade Cunningham back and an athletic lottery pick in Ausar Thompson. Alas, that’s about where the good news ends: My raw numbers rate this as the league’s worst roster. While those figures almost certainly shortchange Cunningham based on his struggles last fall, it doesn’t get much better even if you put your finger on the scale.”"
Although he had some positives to say about the Pistons, namely that they will be “watchable,” he’s not a full believer in Cunningham’s star power and thinks Detroit lacks a secondary player to take off some of that pressure.
He has love for Duren, but wonders how this stupid Wiseman experiment is going to affect him and thinks Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks will decline, giving this team potential to actually be worse this season unless Cade Cunningham plays at an All-Star level.
It’s hard to argue his points, as most of the positivity is based on hope and potential that have not yet been realized on the court. So the Detroit Pistons have even more fodder for their locker room bulletin board, as few outside of the Detroit faithful believe this season will be much different than the last four.