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DBB on 3: Detroit Pistons at risk of missing the playoffs — HOW?

Two games left and Detroit still is at risk of losing out on the playoffs. How do we feel about that?

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago this team was humming...

All systems go. “Oh yeah baby, let’s go for the fifth seed!!!”

Then it was looking grim, but, “hey, Brooklyn has an impossible schedule!”

Now Brooklyn of the impossible schedule has secured a spot in the playoffs. Orlando has lived up to it’s rabbit pulling name and is, yes, Magic-ally in the playoffs. And the “sixth seed, oh yeah, gimme the fifth seed!” Pistons are now fighting for their lives for the final spot. It’s still confusing to see how things could go with two games left so here’s how put it:

The Pistons have lost four straight games (and seven of their last nine), but still control their own destiny. If they win both of their remaining games -- Tuesday against Memphis and Wednesday in New York -- they’re in the playoffs. If they lose one, the Hornets have a chance. And if they lose both (and Charlotte loses at least one of its games), the Heat have a chance.

Even if they do make it there’s this eventuality per ESPN:

Should they make it, they’ll be one of the two worst offenses in the tournament, putting pressure on secondary players to hit from outside often enough to open up the lane in screen-and-roll action


But enough doom and gloom from other sources, let’s get it from our own writers shall we?! (Spoiler alert: Not everyone has lost faith)

1. Where are you now in panic mode?

  • Code Green (Pshh, we got this)
  • Code Yellow (Houston, we have a problem)
  • Code Red (Pure, butt clenching panic)
  • Code Brown (Too late, we already shit the bed)

David Fernandez: Firmly in Code Red. While Detroit is in STILL in control of their own destiny, I don’t have confidence they’ll sweep these last two games. They’re due for a bounce-back game, but the shots aren’t falling, and I’m not sure they will in time to get to the playoffs.

Ben Gulker: Yellowish-green. I think the Pistons still get in, but it will require way more effort than needed. They should be coasting and resting key guys right now.

Justin Lambregtse: I’m at code green, not because I trust this team to do it, but because I don’t really care at this point. All they have to do is beat Memphis and New York and they are in. If they can’t do that they likely aren’t going to make it and they don’t deserve to make it. It’s pretty simple, and I honestly don’t care at this point (neither do the Pistons with the way they have been playing).

Ryan Pravato: The butt clenching one

Steve Hinson: Code Green - sure, we got this. But as a .500 or lower team sneaking into the eighth seed in a poor Eastern Conference, there shouldn’t be much high-fiving.

Lazarus Jackson: Code Green. If and when they lose to teams the likes of which they have consistently beaten this season, we can talk about Code Red.

2. If we DO make the playoffs, then what?

David Fernandez: Best case scenario - Detroit wins out, and Orlando loses their final game. That gets Detroit to 7 to face the Raptors, where they’d have a shot a taking a game. If they face off against the Bucks, well, that’ll be a sad four games.

Ben Gulker: See #3.

Justin Lambregtse: Unless this team wakes up, it will be a four-game sweep with maybe one competitive game.

Ryan Pravato: A sweep by Toronto?

Steve Hinson: Assuming they’re playing the Bucks, well, about the most they can hope for is avoiding a sweep. That’s just such a tough matchup.

Lazarus Jackson: Work our butts off to force Game 6, revel in that, rebuild per usual.

3. If we DON’T make the playoffs...???

David Fernandez: I riot. Really though, this team isn’t a real contender to win their first round anyway. Time to look to the draft and free agency and try to fill in some of the obvious holes on the roster - Wangz, Point Guard, back-up Center - the list goes on and on...

Ben Gulker: The Pistons will likely get swept by Milwaukee, but the same roster shortcomings exist with or without the playoffs. We still need upgrades at PG, SF, and backup bigs whether we are the 5th seed or the 10th seed. Ownership and management need to take the long view either way.

Justin Lambregtse: Nothing, the team has no money to make any big changes and things might have been a bit more interesting in the playoffs if Blake stayed healthy. They likely run it back next year and hope to keep Blake healthy the whole season.

Ryan Pravato: Culver?

Steve Hinson: Then lol this team sucks.

That would just be an epic choke job. That would mean losing nine of the final 11 games, going from comfortably in the playoffs to being from the outside looking in. Whether this team makes it or not shouldn’t serve as a referendum for the offseason plans. The bigger issues are that even with a monster season from Blake Griffin, a few months of really good play from Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, no major health issues from key players, and the entire core in their prime, this offense still sucks. 21st in the league in offensive rating. They’re still in the bottom five in the league in true shooting percentage, sixth straight year. There has to be a plan to fix that, a roadmap to being at least in the top half of the league in TS. Without that, this team will continue to be everything you don’t want to be in this league: mediocre, capped out, rudderless.

That said, if they don’t make the playoffs...ok yeah, I take it back, that’s a referendum for the offseason. Dramatic changes would need to happen.

Lazarus Jackson: I have a VERY somber podcast, and then it’s draft time.


That’s what we think. Please feel free to yell at the world through your keyboard or whisper sweet words of encouragement to express your true feelings. The choice is yours.

1. Where are you now in panic mode?

Code Green (Pshh, we got this)

Code Yellow (Houston, we have a problem)

Code Red (Pure, butt clenching panic)

Code Brown (Too late, we already shit the bed)

2. If we DO make the playoffs, then what?

3. If we DON’T make the playoffs...???