NBA Draft: Detroit Pistons fading from top-five contention

Could Pistons be bold enough to draft another point guard? Probably not but he'd be a great value pick where the Pistons are expected to draft. (Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE)

It is week 4 of Battle of the Basement and Detroit Bad Boys' look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA's worst teams. The Pistons are winning and that means they are sliding down the draft board. But what will happen in the weeks ahead? There is only 14 games to go to solidify their draft position.

As a reminder, here are the parameters of Battle of the Basement: I don't include the Charlotte Bobcats, who are clearly the league's worst team. That leaves the Pistons along with the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.

As always, the future strength of schedule number is courtesy of teamrankings.com, as well as the power ratings and the predictive end-of-season rankings. The Hollinger rating comes from John Hollinger's power rankings on ESPN. Both systems use numbers beyond strictly wins and losses, instead looking at things through a more complex methodology to examine the best and worst teams.

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Detroit Pistons (19-33)

Wins: @Wizards, @Cavs, Bobcats
Losses: Bulls
Last 10: 4-6
L10 scoring margin: -3.29
Season margin: -5.52
To date SOS: 26
Future SOS: 25
Power Rating: 24
Hollinger Rating: 26
Predictive Rank: 26
Upcoming Week: Magic, Wizards, @Hawks, @Heat

Comments: Detroit picked a bad time to learn how to win on the road. The Pistons beat the teams they were supposed to beat and next week I think it is likely that the roles are reversed. The Wizards game should be competitive as Washington is playing better ball since trading JeVale McGee and Nick Young for Nene. Looking at the remaining schedule, the Pistons have three games against cream puffs, including the Wizards game. They have playoff-quality competition for the rest of the way and we can only hope that teams on the bubble are still fighting for a playoff slot and teams that have wrapped up their playoff berth won't rest their starters.

This week's spin of the ESPN draft lottery machine has the Pistons selecting James Michael McAdoo at No. 8. Color me skeptical. But if the Pistons do finish in the 8-12 range, then the discussion starts to become players such as Perry Jones, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger, Kendall Marshall and John Henson. Considering a lot of those players have most intrigued commenters here at DBB, I guess it's not such a bad place to be.

Check out the teams battling the Pistons for a lottery spot after the jump.

Washington Wizards (12-40)
Wizards_medium

Wins: 76ers
Losses: Pistons, Pacers, Raptors
Last 10: 2-8
L10 scoring margin: -2.71
Season margin: -6.71
To date SOS: 21
Future SOS: 27
Power Rating: 29
Hollinger Rating: 27
Predictive Rank: 29
Upcoming Week: Bucks, Pacers, @Pistons, @Nets

Comments: The Wizards are playing better but don't have much to show for it. In their past 10 games they've only won twice but their point differential is only -2.71. And just in the past week the team went 1-3 despite being at +8. Best-case scenario: they beat the Pistons and lose to the Nets. Even though it looks like the Wiz are definitely going to finish second-worse in the league, they have six winnable games remaining against the likes of the Bobcats, Cavs, Nets and Pistons.

New Orleans Hornets (13-40)
Hornets_medium

Wins: @Warriors
Losses: @Clippers, @Blazers, @Lakers, @Suns
Last 10: 3-7
L10 scoring margin: -4.47
Season margin: -4.77
To date SOS: 3
Future SOS: 23
Power Rating: 28
Hollinger Rating: 24
Predictive Rank: 25
Upcoming Week: Nuggets, @Spurs, Timberwolves

Comments: The Hornets got chewed up and spit out during their week from hell, which featured five road games in seven days. While the advanced stats say they are more talented than a team with 13 wins, they are running out of chances to put Ws on the board. They have two games against the dregs of the league - one against the Kings and one against the Bobcats. They certainly seem destined to finish in the bottom three.

Toronto Raptors (18-35)
Raptors_medium

Wins: Nuggets, Wizards
Losses: Magic, Heat
Last 10: 4-6
L10 scoring margin: -2.12
Season margin: -3.74
To date SOS: 28
Future SOS: 19
Power Rating: 26
Hollinger Rating: 23
Predictive Rank: 23
Upcoming Week: Bobcats, @76ers, Cavs, @Thunder

Comments: The Raptors are competing night in and night out and are just two games up in the loss column to the Pistons. It seems likely that the Raps, Cavs and Pistons will be jockeying for spots in the 6-8 range. The coming week could feature a 3-1 record, which would certainly help the Pistons.

New Jersey Nets (19-35)
Nets_medium

Wins: Pacers, Warriors, Kings
Losses: Jazz
Last 10: 4-6
L10 scoring margin: -3.50
Season margin: -5.52
To date SOS: 29
Future SOS: 16
Power Rating: 27
Hollinger Rating: 28
Predictive Rank: 26
Upcoming Week: @Lakers, @Blazers, Wizards, Cavs

Comments: The Nets only own a top-three protected pick thanks to the ludicrous Gerald Wallace trade and that means they should be in full tank mode. But they are winning (thanks to the ludicrous Gerald Wallace trade). They are two losses up on the Pistons thanks to a 3-1 week and have three winnable games this week. Finish strong, Nets. Finish strong. If you keep winning it will convince Deron Williams to stay. I promise.

Cleveland Cavaliers (17-33)
Cavs_medium

Wins: None
Losses: @76ers, Pistons, Bucks, Knicks
Last 10: 4-6
L10 scoring margin: -9.06
Season margin: -5.94
To date SOS: 23
Future SOS: 22
Power Rating: 27
Hollinger Rating: 29
Predictive Rank: 28
Upcoming Week: Spurs, @Bucks, @Raptors, @Nets

Comments: Whether by accident or by design no team appears to be in tank mode more fully than the Cavs. Losers of 10 of their last 11 games, including a seven-game losing streak where three losses were by at least 10 and three were by at least 20.

Sacramento Kings (18-34)
Kings_medium

Wins: @Jazz
Losses: @Rockets, Spurs, Nets
Last 10: 4-6
L10 scoring margin: -1.59
Season margin: -5.56
To date SOS: 17
Future SOS: 13
Power Rating: 23
Hollinger Rating: 25
Predictive Rank: 24
Upcoming Week: Wolves, Suns, Clippers, @Clippers, Rockets

Comments: The Kings stumbled last week, even losing to the lowly Nets. But the upcoming week does feature five winnable home games and a short trip to Los Angeles as part of a home-and-home with the Clippers.

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