Wild stat shows trend that bodes well for the Detroit Pistons

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

We are down to the final four of the NBA playoffs and the Detroit Pistons should be watching carefully. 

Although Detroit seems a million miles away from being a title contender, some of the results this year should give them hope. 

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There is parity, and teams that were recently bad or mediocre (Minnesota, Indiana) are now in their conference finals. With the right moves, Detroit can turn things around quickly and be one of them. 

There is another trend that caught my eye, which is that only one of the highest paid 15 players in the NBA is still active in the playoffs: 

When you look at this list of names, it’s the majority of the top talent over the last decade, the faces of the NBA, but it shows some changing trends that could benefit the Detroit Pistons. 

The changing of the guard in the NBA 

Just a few seasons ago, it would have been almost unthinkable to imagine an NBA final four without at least one of LeBron James, Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, but here we are. 

As these players slowly get phased out of the league, the new generation is taking over, led by guys like Anthony Edwards, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Tyrese Haliburton (sigh). 

There was a time not long ago when you almost had to have one of these 15 players to sniff a title. The new guys aren’t just on the come up, they are here, and they have taken over the league. 

It’s not all about the max guys for the Detroit Pistons 

All of the remaining teams have at least one max player, but it is now easier if that max player is still on his 1st or 2nd contract, which is the case with all of the young stars mentioned above. 

The new CBA has made it easier to retain superstars, but harder to build a competent team around them, just ask teams like the Lakers, Nuggets and Suns, who have the superstars at the top but little depth.

Real team building matters more than just collecting names, otherwise the Suns would have been undefeated this season and on their way to a title. 

The Pistons hopefully have their star in Cade Cunningham, a player who will likely get his extension this summer. Detroit has a window while he is on his second deal to still have plenty of cap space to build a competent team. That gets much more difficult on the 3rd contract and beyond when guys are eating up a higher percentage of the team’s overall cap space. 

The Pistons don’t need to build a super team and it may not be possible anymore anyway, not if you want to win. They have a window while Cade is relatively (very relatively) cheap to fill out the roster with second fiddles, role players and build a real team around him as Minnesota has done with Ant. 

Doing it successfully is a much harder proposition, one that Detroit has failed miserably at so far. We have to hope the new team president sees the writing on the wall, which is that team building is more important than just collecting high-paid stars.