The Detroit Pistons lost their 9th game in a row last night. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
The Pistons have enjoyed lengthy losing streaks in each of the last three seasons, but this one might be the worst simply because Detroit entered the season claiming they were going to be competitive. Injuries have derailed that notion, but count me as one who is tired of hearing youth and injuries as cover-all excuses.
Of course injuries matter, but if your entire season relies on 34-year-old Bojan Bogdanovic staying healthy, maybe you need a new approach. By the way, should we be concerned about Bojan yet? This is the longest calf injury in history, as he has now missed 32 straight games dating back to last season.
While teams like the Rockets and Pacers augmented their young cores with impact role players, the Pistons went out and got $20 million worth of Joe Harris. Next summer is really the end of the line for Troy Weaver, he has to try to build an actual team instead of continually blowing cap space on nothing or he needs to find a new job. Someone inform Tom Gores.
We can talk all day about injuries, schedule, the bright future and the “exciting young core” but the truth is that Troy Weaver has had three summer’s worth of cap space and this is what he did with it:
I am not in the FIRE WEAVER camp, but can we stop acting like injuries are the only reason this team is bad? Thanks. You don’t have to sign max deals or take on long-term money to improve a team with cap space, just ask the Pacers who are paying Bruce Brown the same money that Joe Harris is making on a deal with only one guaranteed year.
The Saddiq Bey effect on the Detroit Pistons
Since trading Saddiq Bey for James Wiseman last February, the Detroit Pistons are a brutal 4-30 overall. I’m not saying that record is because of the loss of Bey, but it’s more indicative of just how bad the Pistons have been. That being said, Detroit could certainly use a forward who is healthy and knocking down 38 percent of his 3-point shots.
Trapping Cade Cunningham
It didn’t take long for the NBA to figure out how to stop the Pistons: Throw everything at Cade Cunningham. Cade has struggled mightily over his last five games, shooting just 37 percent from the floor and a miserable 18 percent from long range while averaging 4.2 turnovers per game. He added another six last night, three in rapid succession when the Hawks just collapsed their defense every time he tried to penetrate.
This has been a theme of late, as we saw it against the Bulls,76ers and Bucks as well. The reason teams can get away with this is that they absolutely do not fear anyone else on the court. Opponents are happy to just collapse into the mid-range where Cade likes to operate, let him kick it out and dare anyone else to shoot the ball. Hopefully, this will change somewhat when/if Bogdanovic, Livers and Morris come back but right now the Pistons are probably the easiest team in the NBA to defend.
It’s taking its toll on Cade, who hasn’t looked right in a couple of games, and already has weary legs that are affecting his shooting.
If only the Pistons had a dynamic offensive weapon sitting on their bench who was shooting 50 percent from the floor and 38 percent from long range who can break down a defense and take some of the pressure off Cade. Too bad.
When will the Pistons win again?
Good question and I’m not sure anyone is going to like the answer. The Pistons have upcoming road games against the Cavaliers and Raptors, which are both winnable, but given Detroit has won just nine road games in the last year plus, I wouldn’t count on it. They then come home against the Nuggets (good luck!) and hit the road against the surging Pacers before coming back home to play the Wizards on November 27th.
If Detroit doesn’t beat the tanking Wizards, there is a very good chance they will not win a single game in the month of November, officially killing my dream of having a season when the Pistons are not out of it by Christmas.