Much has changed since I fell in love with the NBA almost 25 years ago.
But one thing I’ll always remember is the Sacramento Kings.
With Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac, the Kings were one of the most fun teams in the league. For Pre-Teen Brady, it was basketball heroine. They were a bit of a villain to me, but one that played a beautiful brand of basketball.
If the Goin’ to Work teams in Detroit were my main course every night, seeing the Kings on ESPN or TNT was like a sweet treat for desert.
But after that memorable run in the early-2000s, the Kings faded. They slowly became the Kangz, trying, and failing, to be good for decades. They retooled. They rebuilt. They regressed. They never could seem to figure it out — until now.
After 16 seasons of deserved ridicule and criticism, the Kings officially snapped the longest playoff drought in the NBA this week.
That leaves your Detroit Pistons as the NBA’s new kings of futility.
Yes, the Pistons have made the playoffs twice in the past eight seasons, but they were swept both times. Our subject of embarrassment in Detroit is simply playoff wins.
The Pistons haven’t won a playoff game since Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. It’s been 15 years, with no clear end in sight.
There’s an argument for the Charlotte Hornets, who haven’t made the playoffs in seven seasons. However, they pushed the Miami Heat — sans LeBron James, but still led by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — to Game 7 in 2016.
Hey, at least it was a memorable first round loss.
Neither Charlotte nor the Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t won a playoff series in 18 years, which is admittedly bad. But there have been some enjoyable playoff experiences sprinkled in, where Detroit is the goat from Jurassic Park that gets left on platter in the T-Rex pen.
All Pistons fans have to hang their hat on is how they were really competitive and played super hard in the sweep against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
So, yeah, not much.
Hopefully, the Pistons are finally doing things right and building something that can be a winner. After all, if the Kings figured it out. Anything is possible!
But until we see Troy Weaver’s vision in totality, the Pistons will be forced to deal with the consequences of their own actions, wearing this scarlet letter as the NBA’s current playoff laughing stock.