Season Review: Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons officially recorded their second straight 20-win season (albeit with six more losses), on route to another stint in the 2021 NBA draft lottery. The Pistons were ravaged with an aging and untradeable Blake Griffin, a significant injury to their top draft pick and an overall lack of talent that plagued the roster. 

What went wrong? 

The fact that Blake Griffin fell off a cliff athletically truly hampered the team from a competitive standpoint. By all accounts, he was fully healthy and ready to go for the season. Unfortunately, he simply doesn't have it anymore (his numbers in Brooklyn are similar to those in Detroit, with the only positive that he's been slightly more efficient shooting the ball), and his trade stock went down faster than a Kardashian on an NBA player (a list he happens to be a part of). Griffin is no longer an elite, or even mediocre player in the NBA and it's truly sad to see. Without him operating at even 60% capacity the Pistons were doomed from the start. 

Rookie Killian Hayes, drafted 7th overall by the Pistons to be the team's point guard of the future, hurt himself in early January and only played in 26 of the teams 72 games. That's not what you want out of your top pick. Fortunately for Hayes many in the Pistons organization believe in the young Frenchman and see a bright future for him. 
Ultimately, the Pistons never had enough talent to compete in the league this year, lacking firepower (they finished in the bottom third of nearly every team offensive category). However, there are some bright spots to look forward to in the Motor City. 

Will it get better in Detroit?

Despite the horrible season, there is hope in Detroit. Jerami Grant was a revelation, and one of the only reasons the Pistons were even competitive some nights, averaging 22.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.8 apg while making 84.5% FT. If he can continue to put up decent all-around numbers next year, and improve his efficiency (42.9% FG & 35.0% 3P) Pistons management and fans will be happy. The consistent play of Hayes once he came back from his injury was a glimmer of hope for the future, as he was able to put together a run of 14 games with more than 5 assists, averaging 6.9 assists during the run. 

The play of 19th overall pick Saddiq Bey throughout the season was extremely pleasing for Detroit management. Bey was Detroit's most consistent player, seeing action in a team-high 70 games while making a case to be included on the NBA All-Rookie 2nd team. He was one of the more NBA-ready prospects in the draft and rewarded Detroit for taking him well outside the lottery with solid 3&D type play. 

Detroit will have as good a chance as anyone at securing the #1 overall pick and thus, landing Cade Cunningham. If they are lucky enough to get the OSU star, it will accelerate their growth into a playoff contending team. There is still plenty of work to be done in Detroit, and nabbing the best player in the draft won't solve all of their problems, but better days are ahead in the Motor City. 

Photo Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports