Why the playoff results should give Detroit Pistons hope

Dallas Mavericks v Detroit Pistons
Dallas Mavericks v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons have a storied playoff history, but none of it has come recently. 

Barack Obama was president the last time the Pistons won a playoff game, and they haven’t even appeared in one since the Blake Griffin one-leg season in which they were swept in the first round. 

This drought holds the mark for futility not just in the NBA, but in all professional sports in North America. Go Pistons! 

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So, it may be tough to even care about the postseason if you are a Pistons fan, but if you have been watching this year’s playoffs, there is reason for optimism. 

The NBA finally has parity 

With the Denver Nuggets getting eliminated last night, we are now guaranteed to have a sixth different NBA champion in the last six years. 

There is no super team that looks unbeatable in the final four and two of the teams (Minnesota, Indiana) were recently bad. 

Detroit is still a long way from being one of them, but there is evidence that things can turn around quickly, ask the Timberwolves, who won 23 games in 2020-21 and are now on the cusp of the NBA Finals. 

Teams found their stars in the draft 

Whether it is Anthony Edwards in Minnesota, Luka Doncic in Dallas, Jayson Tatum in Boston or Tyrese Haliburton (sigh) in Indiana, all four of the remaining teams found their best player in the draft. 

Hopefully, the Pistons have their own star in Cade Cunningham and can start building around him as these four teams have with their stars. Detroit has done nothing to help Cade so far, adding no meaningful veterans or role players to the roster. After watching these playoffs, the Pistons should see the power of role players. 

Detroit Pistons: The power of role players 

Minnesota has been boosted by Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaden McDaniels’ smothering defense on the perimeter. 

Dallas took off with the additions of PJ Washington and Derrick Jones Jr. 

The Pacers just got a huge game from TJ McConnell to knock off the Knicks and Boston wouldn’t be where they are without Al Horford or Derrick White. 

Yes, it takes stars to win in the NBA, but some of the biggest star power is now watching from home while TEAMS who complement each other and have strong role players around their stars are still playing. 

Detroit has failed miserably in this regard, but these playoffs have shown that the right role players can make all of the difference, so I hope the Pistons are paying attention. I have fans arguing with me about any suggested role player “not being good enough” or Detroit needing to “overpay” to get them. 

So what? With the right additions and subtractions, this team can chase the playoffs soon around Cade Cunningham, but if Detroit waits forever for the “perfect player” who is somehow an All-Star, cheap and doesn’t require trading any talent to acquire, they are going to be waiting a long time. 

These playoffs have shown that you can build a team in a number of ways, but the most important thing is finding the right players to complement your stars, something Detroit hasn’t even tried to do.