For those that follow Detroit Bad Boys on Twitter (@DetroitBadBoys), you might have noticed I got fired up recently when Las Vegas odds makers released win season projections for all NBA teams. They had Detroit at 33.5 wins. That might seem like a shock to fans who expect playoffs, but bear in mind that Detroit hasn't won more than 33 games since 2008-09.
Still. Only 33.5? Seriously. We have one person to blame for this perception issue (and gambling opportunity!) and that is, of course, Josh Smith. Smith also happens to be the subject of my latest column at the Detroit Free Press.
Detroit was 5-23 with Smith on the team, but managed to go 27-27 the rest of the way. Detroit was outscored by 192 points in just 1,748 possessions with Smith on the floor. With Smith off the floor and eventually off the team, the Pistons outscored opponents by 110 points in 5,883 possessions.
To put that in perspective, carried through an entire season, a Pistons team with Smith on the floor was the worst in the NBA, even worse than the 17-win Knicks team that had the league's worst point differential. Without Smith, however, Detroit performed close to the 45-37 Oklahoma City Thunder.
Yes, it really was that bad.
So is this just the ravings of a hopeful fan or are people, and NBA odds makers, sleeping on the Pistons?
Also, read the whole thing!