The Detroit Pistons were blown out on their home floor by an awful Wizards team last night, reaching a new low point of the "rebuild."
The idea of "rebuilding" or "restoring" this team has become ironic, as they've actually managed to get worse over the last four years. I'm not sure there is a word for what this team is other than "Bad."
I guess we could add the adverb "historically" to bad because the Pistons are entering uncharted waters for ineptitude. Since last year's trade deadline, the Detroit Pistons have won four games. That is not a typo. FOUR. GAMES.
That's a record of 4-37 over the last half a season's worth of games, so it's not hard to do the math and see that's a pace of eight wins if extrapolated over a whole season. The expansion Charlotte Bobcats hold the record for fewest wins in a season with seven, but that was during the strike-shortened season of 2011-12, when the league only played 66 games.
In other words, your Detroit Pistons are in the midst of one of the worst stretches of basketball in NBA history. This isn't an expansion team, we're talking about what was once a marquee franchise. Over the last 15 seasons, the Pistons have gone 445-746, easily the worst in the NBA. They've had one winning season in that time and won exactly zero playoff games. In the 15 before that, the Pistons were 712-568, won a title, and made the Eastern Conference Finals six times.
So this isn't just one season, it's a culture of losing that just seems to be getting worse.
Are you sure this isn't Pistons basketball?
Earlier in the week, Monty Williams talked about how he wasn't concerned about the losing streak, but is judging this team by improvement and development, which is exactly what I would say if my team was the worst in the NBA and riding a 14-game losing streak.
He was a bit more animated after last night's humiliation:
Unfortunately, I have to disagree. This IS Pistons' basketball, or at least what it has become. I feel bad for the younger fans, as this is all they know, so hearing lip service to "honor" and the history of the organization does little for fans who have never seen a winning team in their lifetime.
The Pistons have not won a playoff game since Tom Gores took over, so whatever this organization once stood for is long gone, replaced by endless losing and a complete lack of concern about it.
This is what happens when you tank. This is what happens when you lose on purpose. This is what happens when you have players who have only known losing in the NBA, who expect to lose, who seem to will it into existence. This is why it's not surprising when we hear about players being "lighthearted" in practice, smiling and laughing as if this is supposed to make fans feel better about their attitude. I'm glad they have good chemistry off the court, too bad they have none on it.
While other rebuilds were trying to put together teams to help complement their young players, to help them get some NBA wins under their belts, the Pistons were taking on salary dumps for second-round picks, while Trader Troy, he of the "empty clip" sat on his hands and kicked his cap space down the road for the third straight offseason.
The Pistons have talked so much about culture and they certainly have one. It's a culture of losing and everyone from the owner down has bought in.
When is the next win coming for the Pistons?
In case you are wondering, the longest single-season losing streak in the NBA is 26 games, held by the Cavaliers and 76ers. This is definitely in play for the Pistons, who just got their butt kicked by a circus of a team at home. They would need to lose 12 more games to break the record.
Their next 12 games: Lakers, @Knicks, Cavaliers, Pacers, 76ers, @76ers, @Bucks, @Hawks, Jazz, Nets, @Nets, @Boston. There is not a clear win in that group, hell, there is not even a game where the Pistons will be favored. They may sneak one in there, or catch some team sleeping, but even that seems unlikely given the fact that many teams rest their best players against Detroit anyway.
Isaiah Livers said "It's a long season" after last night's game as a way of saying things can turn around. Things can get better. Well, I do at least agree with him that the season is long. Very, very long.