Expectations for the Pistons coming in to the 2013-2014 season were quite high. With the acquisitions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, it seemed as if it was finally time for the Pistons to end their playoff drought.
Currently, Detroit is 24-39 and three games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The team’s lack of success has led to first-year head coach Maurice Cheeks getting fired and, presumably, general manager Joe Dumars also getting fired at season’s end.
There are 18 games left in the regular season and Detroit is in a very poor spot.
They could improve their performance and make the playoffs, but their chances against either the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat would be slim to none. However, they could also attempt to tank in order to save their draft pick.
In a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2012, the Pistons traded Ben Gordon and a first-round pick in exchange for Corey Maggette. The pick came with many stipulations, which this year includes being top eight protected.
To clarify, if the Pistons manage to get a pick in the top eight of the upcoming NBA draft, they will keep the pick. If it is below eight, the rights to the pick go to the Bobcats.
If the season were to end today, Detroit would have the ninth worst record in the league. Fortunately for them, the season is still going on and there is a draft lottery.
The only way for this season to be considered a complete failure is for Detroit to miss out on the playoffs and lose their first round pick. Unfortunately, they are way too close to accomplishing that task. Losing on purpose is something you never want your coach to preach. But the entire organization is would be better off with a lottery pick than a playoff berth or even missing out on both.
The Pistons host the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night in what is actually a very important matchup. The Kings are one of the eight teams who have a worse record than Detroit, so a loss for the Pistons would go a long way.
This team might not have lived up to preseason expectations, but they still have a chance to redeem themselves. All they have to do is lose, which has not seemed to be a problem for them up to this point, and it is something they seem to be able to do more often than not.
Cameron Billes is the host of Horsepower for Impact Sports.