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Detroit Pistons are the worst team in the NBA: Science

538 debuts 2021 NBA predictions and it is not a fan of this Pistons roster

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Scientists evaluating Detroit’s win probability, probably.
Photo by Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images

It’s amazing what happens when you completely gut your roster, trade off you few remaining quality young players and dedicate eight roster spots to players who combined for fewer minutes than Danuel House did last season. You’re going to be bad. Like, really bad.

Just how bad has been a topic of much debate for Detroit Pistons fans this offseason after the team radically transformed its roster under new GM Troy Weaver, including the addition of high-priced and competent players like Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and Delon Wright.

FiveThirtyEight has their cold, heartless scientifically developed NBA predictions out and their verdict is clear — The Pistons suck. As in, they are projected to be the worst team in the NBA.

Based on the site’s RAPTOR ratings and its ELO ratings, the Detroit Pistons are expected to finish with the worst record and worst point differential in the NBA.

Using the RAPTOR metric (you can learn the comprehensive history of the Robust Algorithm (using) Player Tracking (and) On/Off Ratings at the site), the Pistons are far and away the worst team in the league.

The Pistons are slated to win just 18 games and have a -7.9 points per 100 possession rating. This assessment gibes with the eye test of executives throughout the league. In a survey of executives and scouts, Detroit tied with the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks as the team’s that had the worst offseasons.

Those other franchises are more talented but had big question marks hanging over their heads at the time the survey was conducted. One was the ongoing James Harden saga while the other has been the now-resolved fate of Giannis Antetokounmpo who recently signed a super-max deal to stay in Milwaukee.

The Pistons, meanwhile, are just straight up bad.

“[The Pistons], to me, were the worst offseason by far,” an Eastern Conference executive told ESPN. “I don’t know what they are doing at all. I know they want to build long term, but I have no concept of what they are doing. If they hit on [seventh overall pick Killian] Hayes, and [other first-rounders Isaiah] Stewart and [Saddiq] Bey are good, none of this other s--- matters that much. But I don’t know what their plan is.”

What that plan might be is borne out by these projections — to be one of the worst teams in the NBA and to build around youth. Cade Cunningham or Jonathan Kuminga, here we come.

Yeah Science!