Detroit Pistons lacking luck in the NBA Draft Lottery

2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The NBA’s Draft Lottery is to be held this Sunday, May 12th at 3:00 PM ET in Chicago. Unfortunately for fans of the Detroit Pistons, this has become a vital date over the last six years.

The Pistons will now have the league’s best odds to land the number one overall draft pick for the third year in a row. Even more unfortunate for Detroit fans is our luck in the lottery, or lack thereof. Even if this year’s draft is slated to be one of the weakest in NBA history, there is always a chance to come away from the draft with a game-changer. But how has Detroit fared with lottery luck? Let’s take a look. 

NBA Draft big board top 5 for the Pistons. NBA Draft big board top 5 for the Pistons. dark. Related Story

The Detroit Pistons' lottery luck over the past 15 years

Detroit has been in the lottery 14 times since 2010, which in itself is an unfortunate stat. But how many of those times has Detroit moved up or down? Over that time frame, the Pistons have fallen to a worse position than originally slotted six times. They have stayed at their expected draft spot five times, and have moved up just one single time. Granted, that single time was in 2021 when Detroit moved from second to first, and were able to select franchise star Cade Cunningham. In total, Detroit has moved a collective 10 draft spots worse in the draft lottery over the last 15 years, making it really seem at times to be Detroit vs. Everybody. 

Without dredging up too many painful memories, which players has Detroit missed out on due to their post-lottery position being worse than their pre-lottery position? In 2014, Detroit had a Top-8 protected pick as the final piece to the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette swap. Even with an 82 percent chance of keeping their selection at 8th overall, Detroit fell one spot to 9th, meaning the pick had to be sent to Charlotte. Zach LaVine went just four picks later. 

For the 2022 draft, the Pistons slid two spots, and came away with Jaden Ivey. At their original spot, however, went Jabari Smith Jr. who struggled at times during his rookie campaign for Houston, but still is a 6-foot-10 floor spacing big, averaging 14 points, 8 rebounds, and shot 36 percent from three this past season. Smith is almost exactly what is missing from this roster.

Finally, we all know what happened in the last draft lottery, when Detroit fell from first overall, all the way to fifth, in what was truly the worst case scenario. The Pistons were slotted to select the best prospect to come to the NBA since LeBron James in 2003, and Detroit’s bad lottery luck struck about as hard as it could.  

2024 Draft Lottery Odds

As mentioned, Detroit will once again have the best odds at landing the number one overall pick this year. They are tied with the Washington Wizards with 14 percent to land number one, and a 52.1 percent chance to land in the top four. Thanks to our league worst record, however, the furthest Detroit could slide is to number five. Even so, out of 10 Tank-a-thon spins, Detroit ended with the number one overall selection just one time. They wound up with second overall twice, third three times, fourth once, and fifth overall a whopping three times as well. If history is going to repeat itself, Tank-a-thon will be correct and Detroit will be selecting fifth. I say again, Detroit vs. Everybody.