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ESPN analytics still project Pistons as a solid playoff team

An expert outside source pointing to playoff hopes for the Pistons? I’ll have a glass of that Kool-Aid, thanks.

Houston Rockets v Detroit Pistons
“More Kool-Aid!”
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Given the current state of affairs I was extremely pessimistic when I looked on ESPN Friday and saw an article entitled “Do the Pistons still have postseason hopes?” (Note: It’s ESPN Insider so it’s subscriber content, which is partially why I’m recapping here.)

Well let me cut to the chase and say that according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) we have a way better chance than the Princess Leia holographic message level of hope I had held out for. Although the article didn’t exactly start out on a high note:

According to BPI -- which accounts for each team's scoring margin in every game, along with factors like quality of opponent, location, pace, distance traveled, altitude and rest -- the Pistons have had the worst drop in overall rating over the last two weeks, nearly double the next team. The Pistons were favored in eight of their last 10 games, according to BPI, and were upset in half of them.

Ugh, sounds bad...postseason not happening with a performance like that right? I mean one of BPI’s main predictors is chances of making the playoffs so that must have taken a massive hit.

Since Jackson returned on Dec. 4, the Pistons' chances of making the playoffs have dropped from 99.6 percent to 78.3 percent.

78.3 percent? Really? I’ll take that in a heartbeat. This of course was written prior to the loss at home to Golden State but that game shouldn’t hurt much in statistical terms.

The article goes on to say that BPI sees Detroit as the likely No. 4 seed (with a projected 42-40 record) to Charlotte’s No. 5.

Even better it projects this extra helping of unexpectedly delicious Kool-Aid:

In a playoff series between a No. 4 Charlotte and a No. 5 Detroit, the Pistons would have a 48 percent chance to advance, per BPI. That would be the franchise's first time making it to the second round since 2008.

At this point, and especially after a very heartening performance, 48 percent sounds downright invincible.

Thanks ESPN for that delicious holiday refreshment, I know I needed it.

(By the way, anyone who isn’t aware of where the use of Kool Aid/drinking the Kool Aid originates, read this, although here at DBB at least it has taken on the far less sinister connotation of being comforted in dark times by happy thoughts and in this case, analytics.)