The All-Star break has arrived, and with 54 games under their belt, the Detroit Pistons find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff picture. With a record of 21-33, the Pistons are currently fourth in the Central Division and 11th in the East — seven games back of the 8th seed.
All the die-hard Piston fans out there — if you guys still exist — know how tough this first-stretch of the season has been to watch. Obviously, inconsistency is something that comes attached with a young team like the Pistons (10th youngest in the league), but this team hasn’t just been inconsistent, they’ve been plain weird.
Unless you follow the Pistons closely you wouldn’t know that this team has 20-point and 15-point victories over Boston, a 10-point win over the Miami Heat, a 10-point win over San Antonio, a win over Atlanta and three wins over the Milwaukee Bucks (current 8th seed). On the flip-side, the Pistons have lost to the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Hornets.
This team has shown glimpses of hope that basketball will once again be restored in Detroit, but they’ve continued to show why they need to hire halftime performances like Coolio and Salt-N-Pepa just to get people in the seats.
While the Pistons have a lot to look forward to in the distant future with what seems to be a strong interior foundation in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, and point guard/shooting guard Brandon Knight performing fairly well but still trying to find his position on this team, I’m not so sure that the Pistons are ready for the bright lights quite yet.
Unfortunately for Detroit hopefuls, the Pistons have a pretty tough final stretch of the regular season ahead, and with the play of Toronto since acquiring Rudy Gay (5-2) I don’t see the Pistons beating them out for the final spot in the playoffs.
I think with the squad the Pistons currently have that they will finish the final 28 games of the season with a record of 12-16, making their overall record 33-49. Now, with that being said, I’m a firm believer that the Pistons will make a trade before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, and if they’re able to bring in a player like Danny Granger or Eric Gordon while still keeping the young nucleus of Monroe, Knight and Drummond, there is a possibility that they could finish with a better record than what I’ve predicted.
The Pistons have attractive expiring contracts that teams could potentially be interested in moving forward, and newly-acquired Piston Jose Calderon is one of those. Calderon could help an Eastern Conference contender like the Pacers out right now — who have seemed to move forward with Paul George as the new face of the franchise — and a player of Danny Granger’s caliber could really give the Pistons that borderline superstar player that they’ve needed for so long.
Until that happens, if it even does, I just don’t think the Pistons have the bench or go-to scoring to make a serious run at the 8th seed. Sorry Detroit fans (which I am), but you’ll have to wait a little bit longer before Joe Dumars gets the right pieces in place for this team to be a serious playoff contender.