Myriad problems and mistakes have led the Detroit Pistons to their spot at the bottom of the NBA.
This year injuries have derailed any chance the Pistons had to compete, though you can also point to mismanaged cap space and an unbalanced roster as contributors to their league-worst record.
This season aside, the Pistons have been bad for a long time, so it’s not like this is new. They currently have the longest playoff win drought in the NBA, and the longest active losing streak in the playoffs in all of professional sports. Their 415-703 record over the last 15 years (the last time they won a playoff game) is the worst in the NBA by 11 games.
So this isn’t all on the current regime, as it takes a village of failure to be this bad.
But if there is one thing you can point to as the problem over this time, it’s been the Pistons inexplicable ability to miss in the draft, something that appears to have changed in recent years. Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and Ausar Thompson all appear to be some of the top young players in the game, but there are three draft misses in particular that are still killing the Detroit Pistons years later.
All teams miss in the draft, but Detroit is really in a league of their own.
2015 NBA Draft: The Pistons take Stanley Johnson over Devin Booker
There is rarely a situation where there is a perfect draft pick for a team, but that was the case with Devin Booker back in 2015. Booker is from Grand Rapids and grew up as a huge fan of all things Detroit, including the Pistons, something you can still see as he sits on the bench in a Tigers hat even though he plays for the Suns. Like another guy in this trinity, Booker worked out for the Pistons, wanted to go to Detroit and thought they were going to take him.
But “need” reared its ugly head and the Pistons went with Stanley Johnson, as they already had a two-guard named Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP is a great role player who has now won multiple rings (with other teams of course) but he’s not a reason to pass on a generational scorer who is from your backyard and actually wanted to be a Piston. It’s hard to imagine what things might look like right now if the Pistons had been building around Booker since 2015, but we know Stanley Johnson isn’t even in the league while Booker is making All-NBA teams and hunting titles with Phoenix.
Booker isn’t hiding his love for Detroit, so can we just bring him home already?