It’s impossible to ignore the obvious: the Detroit Pistons just aren’t very good.
This isn’t surprising news to anyone who pays attention to the NBA, everyone knew the Pistons were going to be weak this year – and for probably a few more years.
But people did expect at least a little bit of progress from last season and thought they would see some signs of hope for the struggling squad.
Yes, the signs are there but they are much, much smaller than people thought they’d be and suggest that maybe the rebuilding process in Detroit is going to take a lot longer than expected.
Because of their painfully bad season last year, the Pistons secured the number one pick in the NBA draft, which is always a cause for celebration.
Detroit selected Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State, a young, fast point guard who comes in at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds.
But something weird has happened since Cunningham joined the team: they’re not any better.
The Pistons ended last season with a record of 20-52, the worst in the East.
This year, they currently have a record of 4-22, the worst in the East.
— WOJ 2.0 (@PlsDontBanMe23) December 11, 2021
There are typically some signs of growth at this point in the season even though it is early but that hasn’t been the case with Detroit.
To be fair, Cunningham has taken some time to adjust and find his footing in the NBA and the transition from college to professional hasn’t been that easy.
Yet, that is changing now and Cunningham is becoming more confident and sure of himself and is playing at a higher level.
Still, the Pistons are 28th out of 30th in rebounds, 27th in assists, 29th in three-point percentage, and dead last with field goal percentage.
These numbers have not gone up since last year – in fact, they’ve gone down in some categories.
Part of the major problem with the Pistons is that, aside from Cunningham, the team doesn’t have a whole lot going for it right now when it comes to the bench.
The bench is not doing nearly enough work to keep the Pistons in contention.
The Pistons’ bench has a net rating of -2.3, 26th in the league.
They are 27th in turnovers, as well as 19th in rebounding.
The Pistons do have a few up-and-coming players (such as Jerami Grant, who they are most certainly trading) who are able to produce points but head coach Dwane Casey cannot rely on his bench guys and they are continually digging a big hole for the team.
They have a hard time shooting and an even harder time defending and they turn over the ball all the time to make matters even worse.
There are some veteran players on the squad but they aren’t leading by example and this is concerning because you want some seasoned pros when you have the number one pick in the draft looking to learn and improve his game.
There are some causes for optimism, though.
As mentioned, Cunningham is getting better and he has the potential to be a breakout star over the next few years.
28 PTS (career high)
6 3PM (career high@CadeCunningham_ becomes the first rookie since Steph Curry with at least 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 threes in a game! pic.twitter.com/aVxbnv4OiH
— NBA (@NBA) December 7, 2021
The hope is that with him and a few other draft picks and perhaps a sizable trade or two, the Pistons can get back on track.
However, right now they are playing about as bad as they were last year and that’s very concerning.