Situation for the Detroit Pistons to monitor in Utah

Detroit Pistons v Utah Jazz
Detroit Pistons v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons have the worst record in the NBA with six games remaining in the regular season. They’ve lost nine of their last 10 and may not win another with five of their remaining six games on the road and the team nursing a ton of injuries. 

But they aren’t the only team falling apart in the homestretch. 

The Toronto Raptors have lost 15 straight as they try to tank their way into keeping their first-round draft pick (top six protected) and the Utah Jazz are following the same plan, losers of 10 in a row as they try to remain in the top 10 to keep their protected pick. 

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Right now, both teams would keep their pick, but Utah is a far safer bet. A less safe bet is what the Utah Jazz are going to this offseason, but it’s a situation the Detroit Pistons should be monitoring closely. 

Reload or rebuild for the Utah Jazz? 

The Jazz have some interesting players, but they are currently 29-47 and 13 games away from the final play-in spot. They have to wonder what the ceiling of this group is and whether they should add to it or tear it down. 

The Jazz do have some future draft capital to throw around, as well as plenty of cap space this summer to add impact free agents. They have moveable contracts, so Utah is in a good position to add talent this offseason. 

But they could also decide to sell high on some of their players and rebuild if they don’t believe in this group, and if they do, the Pistons should be interested. 

The Detroit Pistons and Lauri Markkanen 

I’ve written about 100 times that Lauri Markkanen would be an ideal power forward for the Detroit Pistons and if the Utah Jazz do decide to rebuild, he’d reap them a ton of assets in a trade. He’s good, he’s young and he’s just what the Pistons need. 

He’s also injured right now, has only played 55 games this season and only has one year left on his contract after this one. The Jazz will likely try to work an extension with him this summer, but if they sense that might not happen, trading him is an option that would certainly jumpstart a rebuild. 

The Pistons could put Jaden Ivey and their first-round pick (along with a future pick) on the table for a starter, but would that be enough for Utah to care? Markkanen remains a long shot for many reasons, but as Utah continues to tank with him on the injured list, they could decide to go in a different direction and Detroit should be ready to pounce.