The Detroit Pistons replaced Stan Van Gundy with Dwane Casey for a pretty simple reason — the Pistons have under-performed and ownership wants the team in the playoffs.
Good news, Tom Gores, Casey and Pistons fans in general, ESPN’s NBA stats guru Kevin Pelton crunched the numbers and projects the Pistons to, indeed, make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
But before anybody gets too excited understand that the projection has the Pistons making it by the skin of their teeth in the No. 8 seed and a win projection of 39.4 That number stands more than four wins below No. 7-seed Washington Wizards and just over a win more than ninth-ranked Charlotte Hornets.
Last year, the team was projected to win 39 games.
Casey’s former team, the Toronto Raptors, are projected to finish first in the LeBron-less conference under newly promoted Nick Nurse with 55.1 wins. Other playoff teams, in order, are the Celtics, Sixers, Pacers, Bucks, and Heat.
Of interest in his Western Conference projections — he has LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers missing the playoffs with 41.2 and ninth seed.