Pistons Struggle as Other Teams Improve

Throughout the last few years, the Charlotte Bobcats have easily been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA. With Michael Jordan working in the front office, one would think that the team would do better.

While Charlotte has had flurries of hope over the last five years, including a playoff appearance in the 2009-10 season, the following seasons at or near the bottom of the East is not the turnaround the franchise hoped for.

After winning two straight games against the Detroit Pistons, the Bobcats barely hold on to a three-and-a-half game lead that is keeping them in the eighth seed for the playoffs. In today’s Eastern Conference, in which six of eight teams in playoff contention have worse records than the eighth place team in the Western Conference, there is little excuse for missing the playoffs.

As it stands, Charlotte is four games away from a .500 record and will make the playoffs if Detroit does not pick up their slack quickly. Also in the hunt are the New York Knicks. The Knicks have a notably larger market, and thus a larger budget, than the Pistons. Despite this, the talent on the Knicks roster has not proved enough.

New York has Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith to lead the team. So far, they have led the team to an 11th place finish in a notoriously bad conference. Clearly, money and a large venue cannot always buy a ring. That leaves the question, what can?

Whereas general manager Joe Dumars of the Pistons was once known for signing unlikely players and winning titles, Pistons management has given way to impatience lately. Perhaps the biggest cue of this is the midseason firing of first year head coach, Maurice Cheeks without having a replacement lined up.

In the meantime, assistant coach John Loyer has been given control over the team. Is this really better than allowing Cheeks to finish the season? Since the Feb. 9th announcement, the Pistons are 1-4. Though the team is just now returning from the All-Star break, if this record is any indication, impatience is not the path to a ring either.

The win now strategy also caused the team to trade away their 2011 first round draft pick Brandon Knight for Brandon Jennings before this season began. Jennings has been putting in his share of the work for the team, but many have speculated the potential long term harm of this trade as many believe that Knight will have the better career in the NBA.

This is how the team stands in the second half of the season: no head coach, a losing record, potential on the roster, and an aggravated front office and fan base. With the All-Star break over, let us see if the organization can mold anything out of this mess in order to bring success back to the city come June.

Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.