ESPN’s Weekly Power Rankings just came out Monday with the Pistons at #9. It got me thinking: when was the last time we were actually firmly* in the top 10?
I took a deep breath and I went back, back into the dark murky depressing past, drudging through long (?) forgotten names like Kuester, Frank, Cheeks, Loyer...Villanueva, Gordon, and McGrady.
And I found it, somewhat predictably right after the Chauncey Billups/Allen Iverson trade.
It was week 10 of the season, early January of 2009, when they dropped to the 10th spot after starting out in 5th position at the beginning of the season after years of comfortably occupying the top 10.
Enjoy Marc Stein’s fittingly prescient commentary found alongside the ranking:
Sounds as if the new coach had no issues with us for starting the new season with Detroit outside the top five. Says Michael Curry: ''We've earned the right for people to ask, 'Has this team made its last run?'''
(With “WTF does that mean?” comments like that we should’ve had no doubt Curry would fail.)
Three weeks later they were in the 18th spot with this recap of the situation:
Blame it all on Iverson's arrival if you wish. Our theory is that the Pistons know management has its eye on the future and have caved as a result. Either way, they're just not firing. Too often, Detroit no longer brings it.
It was rough slogging through that to find my answer, but like waking up from a nightmare, I remembered it’s 2017, and we’re good again.
The Pistons are also #5 in the CBS Sports rankings (up from #14) and #6 in Sports Illustrated’s list.
And an interesting read is from fivethirtyeight.com, entitled The Pistons Might Actually Be Good.
*Sticklers will find that Detroit was actually #6 in week two of 2105-16 but fell out just as fast as they came in.