NBA standings ordered by bench net rating: Is the Pistons’ bench good?

Detroit Pistons guard Marcus Sasser (25) Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Marcus Sasser (25) Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons have lost five in a row to drop to an all-too-familiar spot in the standings.

It’s easy to point to the injuries and brutal early schedule, but the Pistons have also turned the ball over a ton, played inconsistently on defense and fouled like they are trying to bring back the 1980’s.

I am not ready to panic yet, as I had the Pistons getting crushed in November in my preseason predictions and still had them winning 34 games overall, a result most fans would accept as reasonable progress, especially given this early context.

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The team also has some things to build on, as the two rookies have been fantastic so far, Jalen Duren is ahead of schedule, Cade Cunningham has flashed star power and the team is playing better defensively overall even though they still need a ton of work, especially on the defensive glass.

What looked to be a fairly deep roster coming into the season has been decimated with injuries to the point that it’s almost laughable. In that context, the Pistons’ bench has actually been pretty good and has a chance to be a strength when and if they ever get healthy.

NBA standings ordered by bench net rating: Could the Pistons’ bench be good?

If the NBA standings were based on bench net rating, the Detroit Pistons would make the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference. Obviously, the standings are not based on bench net rating, but it does show that the Pistons’ bench has held its own even though they have not had their full complement of players.

Eastern Conference

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (+6.3)
  2. Boston Celtics (+4.4)
  3. Milwaukee Bucks (+3.6)
  4. Brooklyn Nets (+3.6)
  5. Indiana Pacers (+2.9)
  6. Atlanta Hawks (+1.8)
  7. New York Knicks (+1.5)
  8. Orlando Magic (+1.5)
  9. Detroit Pistons (0.0)
  10. Washington Wizards (-0.7)
  11. Chicago Bulls (-1.4)
  12. Charlotte Hornets (-2.9)
  13. Miami Heat (-4.2)
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers (-4.3)
  15. Toronto Raptors (-5.6)

The Pistons’ 0.0 bench net rating is obviously not good, but the good news is that it’s not bad either and when you put it in context of injuries to Alec Burks, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Livers and Monte Morris, there is reason to believe that this bench will be very good when at full strength.

The Pistons’ starters are 11th in the East with a -3.5 net rating, which is obviously not ideal, but the starting lineup has also been missing Bojan Bogdanovic and Jalen Duren, so it’s easy to see that swing back to the positive with better health.

The question is whether that health will ever come, but with a starter or two getting pushed to the bench, and scorers coming back, the Pistons have a chance to have a nice balance between units, with the bench winning them a few games.

Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors (+6.5)
  2. Dallas Mavericks (+4.3)
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves (+4.1)
  4. Denver Nuggets (+3.0)
  5. Portland Trail Blazers (+0.7)
  6. Phoenix Suns (+0.1)
  7. Sacramento Kings (-0.2)
  8. LA Lakers (-1.0)
  9. New Orleans Pelicans (-1.3)
  10. Memphis Grizzlies (-1.9)
  11. OKC Thunder (-1.9)
  12. Utah Jazz (-3.0)
  13. LA Clippers (-3.6)
  14. San Antonio Spurs (-6.5)
  15. Houston Rockets (-7.3)

So as you can see, the Detroit Pistons are one of just 15 teams whose bench does not have a negative net rating. Am I reaching a bit for positives here? Sure, but given the context, it’s impressive that the bench has broken even though this point in the season.

It’s been a common refrain, but the Pistons need to get healthy if their depth is ever going to be a weapon. But there is hope that this bench can eventually be a strength.

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