NBA: Pistons Face Uncertain Realities

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Detroit Pistons Sport News


  • For the second time in three years, the Pistons finished with the worst record in the NBA. Their 14-68 record was the worst in franchise history.
  • The NBA Draft Lottery is May 12 in Chicago. The Pistons will have a 14% chance of landing the top pick.
  • The Pistons season included an NBA record 28-game losing streak.

If you watched any Detroit Pistons basketball after Christmas, give yourself a pat on the back, you are a true fan.

The Pistons season ended Sunday with a lopsided loss in San Antonio - one we predicted. The Spurs looked fresher, happier, more joyful than the Pistons.

Michigan sportsbooks now turn their attention to the NBA Play-In Tournament that starts Tuesday with a Western Conference doubleheader. Caesars Sportsbook will have point spreads and totals on each game. BetMGM Sportsbook will have odds on how long each series will go, and eventual odds on the 2025 season.

What Went Wrong in Detroit? 

In a word, Everything. New coach Monty Williams was heralded for his style and experience when he took over, but perhaps he was used to more veterans providing leadership in the locker room. Williams seemed to want the Pistons to figure it out and grow, but they needed instruction and guidance.

But then really the Pistons biggest issue is a lack of talent. Aside from Cade Cunningham, the Pistons didn’t have a reliable scorer. They didn’t rotate well on defense. They didn’t shoot 3s particularly well (they ranked 26th in the NBA) in a pace and space league. Their big men are athletic, but not rim protectors. The Pistons never seemed to figure out what they were, but the truth is they never had an identity to begin with.

At least they were 38-40-2 against the spread.

Now What? 

The Pistons have $60 million in cap space to play with. There will always be some free agents out there looking for a fresh start. Do the Pistons want to make a run at DeMar DoRozan from the Bulls? He would command big money, but he’s a Big with the ability to get to the basket (the Pistons other Bigs are just Bigs). Gordon Hayward from the Hornets is another interesting piece, Detroit could use 3-point shooting desperately.

Cunningham is the lead guard, and looks like a quality NBA starter. Maybe a potential All-Star. You have to think he would be even better without having to run the point at times. A true point guard would free him up to get open looks and create mismatches. Cunningham did miss some time this season with an injury, but honestly, that was probably a ruse. No reason to play him with the season being over.

Next year is the last year of Cunningham’s rookie contract. He’ll be motivated to play well

The other question is whether Williams is the right man for this job. Once you go 14-68, can you really get the locker room back? Detroit is paying him a lot of money, but his voice just may be poisoned now.

Feeling a Draft 

Last year, everyone wanted the No. 1 pick to nab Victor Wembanyama, the Pistons had a good chance, but the ping pong balls went to the Spurs.

Of course, now that there is no true unicorn-star in this draft, the Pistons will likely earn the No. 1 pick. Alex Sarr is starting to be the big name everyone is looking at to go No. 1. He’s a developmental project. Reed Shepard and Rob Dillingham from Kentucky are two others sitting there. Dillingham averaged 15 points in his one college season, Sheppard 12.5.

Purdue big man star Zach Edey is considered too slow to get a real look. Bronny James, LeBron’s son, declared for the NBA Draft after one meh season at USC. Still, the rumor has always been LeBron wants to play with Bronny. The Pistons may be the team who can make that happen. Akron and Detroit aren’t that far away.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.