Ok, two more weeks have passed, and we've actually had a flurry of Pistons Podcast activity, with at least one pod released by every major cast during this 2 week window.
Again, I started this power ranking system to determine for myself what pods are really worth listening to. I began by ranking the Pods based on popularity as an average of Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and have been updated the ranking based on listening and reviewing the casts on weekly (or biweekly) basis.
Here's the rundown of this Round's activity:
Pistons Podcast Power Rankings: Round 5 (10/9/21)
1. Motor City Hoops (Last ranking: 1; this week's grade: 5.5; Average grade: 6.77) - This period featured two pods - 9/27 with Ku Khalil of Locked On Pistons and 10/4 w/ Neal Ruhl of Woodward Sports Network. The episode with Ku was totally unnecessary and earned a 4; a full mailbag episode with Ku/Bryce. I like mailbags as a feature, but over an hour of banter on rando fan questions between these two was just way too much. I like Bryce, but I don't like Ku that much nor find him very insightful. They've been on eachother's pods quite a bit recently... I'm assuming to bolster the 'one-man-band' nature of each pod. It just was not worth listening to. The episode with Neal Ruhl was interesting. This guy has a unique perspective as someone who is in announcing locally, who hosts a Detroit sports pod focused on local issues, and he has a great radio voice. I thought he brought good insight to the pod, but unfortunately this was kind of a retread theme from Bryce; bring on another warm body to rehash the summer and ask them the same exact questions he's asked 10 other people this summer. Thus, it knocked this episode down from an 8 to a 7. Again, Bryce needs to start considering quality or quantity if he wants to stay atop the rankings.
2. Driving to the Basket (Last ranking: 5; this week's grade: 7.5; average grade: 6.5) - Back to back episodes this Round on 10/5 and 10/6. Featured a new segment on ad-libs/prop bets. Kind of a fun idea. Both episodes were a fun listen, with Dante taking more of a lead voice in the pod which I think is for the best. The pods were both the right length, featured good production and some funny banter (I also think 'irregardless' is a low-brow word, Mike). In reality these were not necessarily anything extra special, but this pod is moving in the right direction with quality, focus, length and production. I think their projection of the Pistons place in the EC is kind of a floor hedge play, which I think is a little ballsless, but not unreasonable position. Big leap this week, and these guys have a chance to keep moving up. Also, props to Tommy for standing out a bit more in these pods.
3. Locked On Pistons (Last ranking: 2; this week's grade: 5; average grade: 6.5) - Again, I listened to two episodes this period, back to back 10/6 and 10/7. Ku's initial popularity position is the only thing keeping him towards the top, but until he totally falls i feel responsible to at least give him a chance. Both episodes focused on the preseason game against San Antonio, one pre one post. Both were a typical Ku cast - one-man-band banter that is kind of rushed and disorganized, minimal to mild insight, annoying commercials. In particular, Ku reminding us fans to temper our enthusiasm for the team every episode is irritating; even if there's some merit to what he's saying, why would i trust him, versus someone like Jalen Rose who says he thinks the Pistons are going to make some noise? Ku, you just don't have much cred, bro. You can state your opinion, but stop lecturing me to think less of our team just because you're wanting to hedge. Also, fun to see him eat crow on his lack of faith in Saddiq's game; dude's going to show us a lot this season, and i can't wait for it.
4. The Bun & Cardigan Show (Last ranking: 4; this week's grade: 6; average grade: 6.4) - Two episodes this period. 10/1 and 10/4, focusing on Media Day and preseason preview, respectively. A bit better than what has been the case as of late, less about Nick's internet-famous "rise". That said, lot of similarities to what has been status quo - lots of unfocused banter, broad brush and rushed review of the team itself, and Nick is just a joke of a commentator - Blake Griffin is one of his top 5 pistons of all time. This is just a poor, kid's chicken nugget meal take on the team and it makes it very difficult to take anything this guy says seriously. Also, the pod had some production quality issues that made it difficult to listen to.These guys are trending downwards based on mediocre effort and content. Do they care enough to try harder?
5. Everything Pistons (Last ranking: 3; this week's grade: 5.5; average grade: 6.3) - Two pods - 9/27 quickie on redrafting Saddiq Bey and 10/4 a predictions episode w/ commentator Dee Dot. The quickie on 9/27 was forgettable even if inoffensive - a 5. I don't remember enjoying or hating it or anything really about it. 10/4 was propped up by Dee Dot addition, who brought a different voice and perspective that's valuable. Honestly, Lance and Andrew have switched positions in my mind - Lance's takes on a lot of stuff are just weird, dumb takes. He see's no value to Ben Wallace joining the Pistons administration? Really??? Arguably the most "Piston's Basketball" Piston of all time, recently minted HOFer, has no role in helping this team? That's just such a odd take, and I'm not even the biggest Big Ben stan out there. I just think its clearly obvious that having a Mount Rushmore team player that embodies hard work, high character, defensive prowess and winning is no-brainer. Also, a documentary on Rasheed would be boring? Really?? one of the most infamous players with the most techs, one of the most famous phrases in league history, who is seemingly a 5%er black muslim.... who drove a box truck full of water to Flint during the worst of the water crisis. i mean i am a huge Rasheed fan so maybe i'm biased, but just in general to suggest his life is boring is just a dumb take. Also, a silly thought exercise trade scenario for Ben Simmons was proposed where the Pistons basically traded their whole roster for him... Saddiq, Isaiah, and Jerami, among other players... seriously guys this wasn't worth bantering about for 20 mins. Nobody wants Ben Simmons here, except maybe you, Lance. Get your act together!
6. Palace of Pistons (Last ranking: 6; this week's grade: 7; average grade: 5.75) - Better overall work this Round from these guys. Two episodes 9/29 and 10/8. Camp preview and review of preseason win over SAS. Both episodes were good, 7s. I thought their takes on Piston's ceiling was refreshing in 9/29 as it seems like every other pod wants to focus on floor versus giving them a potential to actually be good. I wanted to downgrade their 10/8 episode after they had to eat crow for handwringing this summer about Joseph and Kelly signings, but they at least admitted that they had ran these signings down and yet they're playing well. These guys need to just focus on quality, focused takes and not hand-wringing and fussing about the little stuff. When they're focused, they're actually a pretty good listen; when they revert to "neckbeardism" then I start to get turned off.
7. Detroit Bad Boys (Last week: 8; this week's grade: 7; average grade: 5.5) - Wait, what...? TWO pods in this Round, after almost nothing for 2 months. Wow. Good for you Laz! Laz actually brought some nice insight, and his radio voice and presence was much missed. 7s overall for grades. Episodes on 9/27 and 10/4. Laz made a great point about Kelly's defensive numbers last season being better than Mason Plumlee's and in general what people have given him credit for. This is what i call INSIGHT. That said, Ben continues to be a smug listen; stuck by his B grade for the Pistons offseason despite saying he liked basically everything they did, except signing Kelly O. Just a smug, stubborn position. Ugh, kind of annoying. Anyhow, both these guys are alright... Laz moreso than Ben..., and I look forward to hearing from them more often.
8. Wired Pistons (Last week: 7; this week's grade: 6; average grade: 4.5) - one cast on 10/6 w/ guest Asst. General Manager George David. Honestly, this was fine... some insight from a figurehead within the Weaver administration. Not a ton gained, but nothing lost in listening.
9. MotorCade 313 (Last week: 10; This week: 6.5; average grade: 3.5) - This newer cast had two episodes in this period, with a roster review split amongst front court and back court players. I'm still not sold that these guys will be worth listening to, as neither of them has a great personality, voice or presence, but they have decent knowledge of the game. First episode was a 6 and the second a 7. I guess keep it coming and maybe i'll be surprised.
10. Pistons Thoughts (Last week: 12) this week's grade: 5; Average Grade: 3) - No cast this period, but i went back and listened to one that would have qualified since i began this ranking experience in August. It was fine, but nothing special. We'll see if they keep up with frequency or not.
11. Gen-Z (Last week: 9; this week's grade: N/A; average grade: 2.5) - No cast this week. Maybe this isn't a real pod afterall
12. Pistons v Everybody (Last week: 11; this week's grade: N/A; average grade: 2) - No cast this week, no grade.Again, is this still a pod? Maybe Laz should just focus on DBB and abandon this one.
Ok we're back in business with the preseason in swing, and thus I'm actually going to be moving back to weekly updates as there is enough activity now to justify it, and I tend to get loose on the details of each pod when I go 2 weeks with multiple pods per cast.
Big riser this week was Driving to the Basket. Falling rather quickly was Everything Pistons. Bryce with Motor City Hoops stays atop the leaderboard, but he's gotta start focusing his pod and not wearing things out with average content. Ku... come on buddy, try to slow down and focus. I'm going to give you another shot and then may have to put you down to a monthly listen if you keep being so average. B&C... do you guys actually care about the Pistons as a team? if you're over it maybe move on to something else.
Ok, back next week with a weekly update moving forward. C'mon guys, let's get some 8-10s