The Detroit Pistons break unlikely record in season of setbacks

Mar 24, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Pistons guard Malachi Flynn (14) dribbles
Mar 24, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Malachi Flynn (14) dribbles / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a record-breaking season for the Detroit Pistons. Unfortunately, these weren’t the records we were hoping for. 

Detroit has already set the NBA record with a 28-game losing streak that ended the season before Thanksgiving, which has to be the fastest a season has ever gone south for Detroit. 

The Pistons won 16 games in the worst season in franchise history, a mark they will be lucky to get to this year as they sit on 12 wins, so yet another record waiting to be broken by Detroit.

It’s doubtful they’ll win another game with the rag-tag rotation they are running out right now, which looks more like a busted G-League squad than an NBA team. 

Related Story. Will the Pistons have the courage to do what is necessary?. Will the Pistons have the courage to do what is necessary?. dark

For the 4th straight season, the Pistons will finish with some wild lineups that no one could have predicted when the season started. 

It’s been a banner year for number of rotation players used, which is yet another indication of how wrong this season went for the Detroit Pistons. 

Detroit Pistons roster: Almost as many players as a football team 

The Pistons have now used a team-record 30 players this season, almost enough to field an NFL team and certainly more than you’d expect in a sport with a 15-player maximum roster. 

Here is a good breakdown of all of the players we’ve seen so far, which is mostly a who's who of who is that guy again? 

The Pistons were never going to be good this season, but if they had escaped it with some consistency, continuity and growth, you could live with the horrible record, or it would at least be less painful. 

But how much consistency can you have when 30 different players see minutes? When you have guys in the starting lineup who weren’t even on the team two weeks ago? When most of your key players are finishing the season on the injured list? When you overhauled half your roster midseason and will have to do it again when it ends? 

This is one of the many reasons why talking about a Pistons’ “Core” is a complete joke, as you can't have a core of an ever-shifting team where three of the top five players in total minutes have played fewer than 60 games. Cade Cunningham will probably play a few more but he’s sitting at 59 games and was held out of the last one. 

Ausar Thompson played 63 games before being ruled out for the season. Isaiah Stewart played just 46 after playing only 50 last season. Jalen Duren has played 54 and is currently out. And these are the players (along with Jaden Ivey) who lead the team in minutes, who are supposed to be your “core.” Of the five, only Ivey has a chance to play at least 70 games this year. 

There has been some individual development, but this season was nothing but a setback for the team, as their best players have missed a ton of games and the guys they have around them are a constantly-shifting rotation of mostly non-NBA players. 

The Pistons have done their part to employ the fringes of the NBA with an ever-changing rotation of players who wouldn't find jobs anywhere else.