Brock’s Random Thoughts: OK Pistons, you can tank now
With this week's back-to-back losses to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Detroit Pistons have fallen to 22-32 on the season and are now 2 1/2 games behind the aforementioned Bobcats for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (or as many media people call it, the Leastern Conference for its lack of quality teams). They do not have the tiebreaker with Charlotte--the 'Cats won all three meetings this season.
In other words, the Pistons aren't going to the playoffs.
This squad in shambles. Their big free-agent signing, Josh Smith, has been a disappointment. Brandon Jennings, who they got from Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade, has been wildly inconsistent. Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent after the season and is going to want close to a max deal that Detroit can't possibly match. Charlie Villanueva is an unrestricted free agent and won't return, and Rodney Stuckey is also a UFA and probably won't return. Chauncey Billups is finished as a player, Jonas Jerebko isn't any good, Will Bynum is a nice player but he's a backup point guard. None of the other players, save for Andre Drummond, are really worth very much.
So what do the Pistons need to do now? TANK! Why, you ask? Because this team needs its first-round draft pick in the worst way this year. This year's first-round pick is only protected if it's in the top 8, otherwise it goes to Charlotte as part of the Ben Gordon deal a couple of years ago. Most draft experts say this is the deepest draft since the LeBron-Carmelo-Wade draft of 2003. Right now, Detroit has the 10th worst record.
If the Pistons keep losing, their record should fall in the worst eight records in the league. If that happens, chances are great that they'll keep the pick. That's if the Draft Lottery is kind to them. The Lottery draws for the top 3 picks and then the rest of lottery is filled out by the teams with the worst records in the league in inverse order (worst record gets the 4th pick and so on). If Detroit has the eighth-worst record in the league, but somebody with a better record in the Lottery gets into the top three by way of the ping-pong balls, they would lose the pick to Charlotte because they would have the 9th pick.
This team is a major disappointment. I thought, and still think, they have enough talent to get into the playoffs this year despite the issues I mentioned above. But even though there was a new coach (Maurice Cheeks) and eight new players, it's still not happening for them. They need to keep losing so they can make sure they're in the Top 8 of the June Draft. That, a new President and GM (Joe Dumars must go), and a new Head Coach the players respect and will listen to (Interim coach John Loyer probably won't be back, either) are badly needed to rebuild this moribund franchise.