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Pistons rank predictably low in ESPN’s NBA tiers

ESPN’s Zach Lowe had some nice things to say about the Pistons despite ranking them in his bottom tier.

2021-22 Detroit Pistons Media Day Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s going to be a long season for the Detroit Pistons.

But it may not be all bad. The Pistons have an enviable young core for the first time in decades. There are going to be a lot of losses, but it’s going to be fun. I think.


Zach Lowe of ESPN recently put together his annual NBA Tiers, a ranking of all 30 teams based on their status as contenders, cellar dwellers, and everything in between.

He has the usual suspects up top — the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are in a tier of their own followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz — while the Pistons sit at the bottom with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic.

“Detroit can run solid three-man frontcourts with Saddiq Bey and combinations of Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk, Isaiah “Beef Stew” Stewart, and Trey Lyles; and five-man lineups of Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Bey, Grant, and either Stewart or Olynyk seem frisky — until you remember rookie ball handlers on bad teams generally struggle,” Lowe writes. “Detroit is going to be tough as hell, and grind out more wins than you’d expect.”

The Pistons have a lot of pieces that should make for an entertaining team. Lowe’s right to point out the multitude of possibilities in the frontcourt as Dwane Casey really has the freedom to try a number of combinations this season to see what works not only on the floor but for individual players and their strengths.

The last line mirrors my thoughts on this team. They won 28% of their games last season, and Vegas predicts them to be similarly bad this year with around 23 wins. If everyone stays healthy and we see some internal development, I think they’re going to pull a lot of WTF wins out of nowhere because of that toughness and the obvious talent.