It is rare when a team has to have the existential discussion tanking discussion before the All-Star break. This years pistons are lucky(?) enough to have a real chance at a top 3 pick, or were lucky, until they started this recent run of lottery ball crushing victories. Is it worth continuing to cheer for the Pistons' opponents after our recent string of luck, or is it time to fire up the bandwagon and set a course for the playoffs? Here are some thoughts I've had about this:
We are being out-tanked
The Hornets and the Nets are terrible in ways that we really can't achieve (especially now that we put a couple of their guys on the IR). Both guys have big injuries to their key players on top of having a shit roster to start with. Let's be real, their owners are to busy wondering about their future (new owner, new arena) to care about this season. Let's go ahead and throw Washington into this pot as well. We're not getting in the top three conversation unless we sneak in with a lucky lottery night, we trade away half the roster before the deadline, or Greg Monroe starts scoring baskets for the other teams because he's tired of not getting enough shots.
We already hit bottom
As bad as we are this season, we probably aren't going to end as bad as we were last year, or the year before. Last year when we were in the middle of (still) being sold, with Kuester falling apart, and Jonas got injured, that shit was terrible. Now we have a real coach who is probably too good to keep losing, we have a legit All-star caliber player, and we have talent that would make good trade fodder. We are on the rebound as a franchise and the kids might as well get some run in may or just get close enough to see what the playoffs smell like.
If the players keep improving, we'll have to start winning eventually
The growth we've seen in Moose this season is phenomenal, and it seems Jonas is coming along right with him. If everybody keeps getting better, we're going to have to win some games. Along with the bonus of player development, we are also boosting trade value. If we are winning games, we are likely to get more value for the players we have in a trade because they are a) better, and b) they seem better. That's the halo effect (Piston Powered talked more about that in the tastiest batch of Kool-aid to not come out of the Palace.
Ultimately, the Draft is too far away
So at the end of the day, we aren't getting a top 3 pick unless we get really lucky in the lottery. In the mean time, it is better for the development of our current players if we are winning games. Who knows, things might still work out in our favor. Maybe after the trade deadline someone will scoop up Stuckey and Gordon and we have to watch Knight and Walker D tank ourselves to glory. Maybe David Stern owes Gores a favor (from that dead hooker incident from the last time he was in L.A) and we'll win 2nd in the lottery. Maybe Drummond, Sullnger and the entire Kentucky team decides to return to college. We can't guarantee we will win the Unibrow we need, or that we won't. We can guarantee that the player development we see with wins now will lead to more wins later.
Don't forget about Dumars
Don't let all this draft stuff let you think that the key to rebuilding the team is in the lottery balls. It is in Joe Dumars' magic 8-ball. If he can't do something about the salary situation soon we will be talking about Greg Monroe sign-and-trade deals very soon. If he doesn't create a balanced roster it doesn't matter who we draft. Whether we get a top draft pick or not, the problem with this team is because Dumars made it that way, and he will have a variety of ways to fix it whether we pick 4 or 15. The onus for fixing the team should remain on him until we actually show some promise, or he gets fired.