The Detroit Pistons and their fans will measure success a little bit differently this year.
No one is expecting to hang another championship banner in the rafters after this season, but there needs to be some progress toward that goal. Most fans would be satisfied if the team competes all season behind leaps from their young players, and it would be a sign that the franchise is finally heading in the right direction.
So while a 50-win season isn’t required for this team to be considered a success, another one as the worst team in the NBA could lead to some seats starting to get warm.
I try to be optimistic at this time of year, so my early predictions were probably the best-case scenario, one that most fans would be satisfied with.
The sportsbooks aren’t so sure.
Detroit Pistons win total
Most of the sportsbooks have the Detroit Pistons either last or next to last in total wins for next season.
Fanduel and DraftKings both have the over/under set at 27.5 games, which is pretty much the perfect number to get an equal amount of bets on both sides. You can probably make an argument for either one.
Why you take the over
You believe in Cade Cunningham as the franchise player of this team. You believe leaps from Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren are coming and that Ausar Thompson can make an immediate impact. You think that the additions of Monte Morris and Joe Harris will actually matter and that Monty Williams will add 5-6 wins to their total. You believe the Eastern Conference is entirely mediocre after Milwaukee and Boston and that the Pistons can compete with pretty much anyone outside of the top tier.
Why you take the under
You don’t trust Cade Cunningham to stay healthy for the full season or don’t believe the hype. You question his fit with Jaden Ivey and have big questions about how this wonky roster comes together. You don’t believe in Ausar’s shot yet and his defense won’t be enough to make that big an impact, especially since the Pistons have so many below-average defenders he has to cover for. You aren’t even sure if Morris and Harris will be in the rotation and think it will take Monty Williams more than one short offseason to implement his schemes. You think most of the teams in the East improved more than the Pistons and that they are still a year behind the other rebuilds.
If the Detroit Pistons don’t suffer any catastrophic injuries to their top guys, the over is well within reach, as I don’t think they’ll tank at the end of the season regardless of whether they are out of it. Monty Williams is trying to build a culture, and with no Wembanyama at stake, being competitive is more important than lottery odds.
But it’s not an easy call, so this is one bet I will stay far away from this season.