With a record of 3-30 and a 28-game losing streak already under their belts, the Detroit Pistons' season is effectively over before the 2023-24 schedule is even halfway completed.
It would take a miracle for the Pistons to do anything other than fight for lottery position at this point, but with 49 games remaining, there is still time to salvage something positive from this miserable season.
If it is going to happen, it has to be in January, a month in which the Pistons play 15 games, many of them against the top teams in the league with some "winnable" games sprinkled in.
"Winnable" might be a stretch for a team that has already dropped games against some of the other bad teams in the NBA by wide margins, but if you break the schedule into games Detroit will almost certainly lose, and those they have some chance in, January does offer hope to win a few games.
The January losses on the Pistons' schedule
The Pistons play on the road against the Warriors and Nuggets, and though Detroit has played well against Golden State in the past, it's hard to see them winning either of those games.
Detroit does have nine home games in January, unfortunately, five are against the Kings, Timberwolves, Bucks (x2) and Thunder, all games in which they will likely be double-digit underdogs.
The Pistons also go on the road to face the Cavaliers, another likely loss, which would give them nine on the month if they lose to all the good teams.
We're not off to a great start.
The "winnable" games in January for the Detroit Pistons
Again, "winnable" may be a stretch, as any of these teams could blow the Pistons out, as two of them already have.
The Pistons already got eviscerated by Houston to start the month, a game I would have put in the "winnable" category, which shows exactly how "winnable" any game is for the Pistons.
Detroit plays Utah on the road tonight, a team that already beat the Pistons whilst shorthanded on a back-to-back. They will have their full roster tonight, so don't hold your breath on this one.
The Pistons play the Spurs at home, a game they can certainly win, though don't be shocked when Victor Wembanyama goes off for 40 points or something and breaks our hearts all over again.
Detroit will get another shot at Houston, this time at home and will hope for a different result than the miserable effort they just put up against the Rockets to start the new year.
The Pistons will play Washington twice, once at home and once on the road, and if they can't get at least one of these, I don't know what to tell you.
Detroit also has the Hornets at home, a team they match up well with and have beaten for one of their three wins.
So even if Detroit did the unthinkable and took care of business in all of the "winnable" games, they'd still be just 6-9 on the month, which would feel like a surge compared to the one win every two months pace they've been on since October.
The Pistons are very likely to sink further in January, but it's all about how much. Can they get a few wins and start to build some confidence in their young players? Can they string a few together at home and salvage something positive from this season? Or will we see a crack at another winless month and more despair as the front office sits idle?
The season is already over, but January will decide if there is anything on this team worth saving.