Detroit vs. Everybody.
If you’re getting tired of hearing that mantra, well, sorry. You should get used to hearing it a lot again, and then more and more, this upcoming season.
As the Pistons prep to shed the doggy doldrums of summer and head into September for another training camp, the team’s largely being underestimated by just about everybody who doesn’t bleed the team’s colors.
For whatever reason, the Pistons can’t seem to shake the negative reviews and poor prospectives, all after they put up a plucky nationally televised effort in getting swept by the Ohio team that went on to take the Eastern Conference in much easier fashion and beat the almost-unbeatable Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship.
The Pistons’ core will return this next season more experienced and one year closer to their collective prime, and the team seems to have addressed at least some of its depth issues. And yet there are some outfits downgrading the organization — like Vegas, for instance.
According to NBA sportsbook TopBet, the Pistons have the 10th worst odds to win the NBA championship in 2016-2017 at 125 to 1. Those are worse odds than what they had in June 2015 (100 to 1). Yes, the league was a bit more balanced before Kevin Durant decided to take his talents to Golden State this summer. But still, that’s kind of nuts in a vacuum. Other books have the same 100 to 1 odds for the Pistons.
On Monday, SI posted its grades for each NBA team’s offseason and gave the Pistons a C, like C for calamity or costive. In the write up, they called the Boban Marjanovic signing “excessive” because the “overpaid former Spurs backup center” quota was already full with Baynes, who you know, will almost certainly opt out of his deal next summer and could cost a whole lot more to re-sign.
But screw prescience — and productivity.
You don’t have to love what the Pistons did this offseason, but you can fairly call it for what it really is: A handful of meh moves that could actually help improve the team by a lot. It would be difficult to make the team’s bench worse than it was last year — and almost foolish to call it a grade below the curve. It was a low risk summer with the potential of plenty of high rewards. It’s wait-and-see with little downside.
Even Andre Drummond is getting a lack of love heading into the new season. The NBA’s 10th most productive player in 2015-2016 by Box Score Geeks standards is 28th on the list of 2016-2017 NBA MVP odds, tied with Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins (click on page 4 in the link above if you want to find their names):
So, yeah, the Pistons are up against the odds in 2016-2017, but as the title of this post says, that’s OK. That’s how we should like it. That’s how I like it. That’s how I liked it in the 80s (before I knew what I liked) and early 2000s, and that’s how I will happily take it now. The Pistons probably won’t win the 2017 NBA championship, but they’ll be better and they’ll go farther in the playoffs and they’ll likely make every “pundit” who’s been pessimistic or down on the Pistons this offseason feel kind of silly and want to go back and Chad Ford their predictions.
I’ll re-visit this post in 10 months.