The Detroit Pistons are not a good basketball team, but they're finally interesting again. I will take interesting and awful over boring and mediocre any day of the week. I’ve developed a bit of a disdain for the this team over the last several years. Over the last 13 seasons, the Detroit Pistons had been the most poorly run franchise in Detroit, which is borderline impossible when you consider the fact that the Detroit Lions still exist in the same city.
From 2003-2008 the Detroit Pistons were appointment television for me. One of my earliest and most cherished memories was sitting in the basement with my brother and my dad watching the Pistons make their run to a world championship in 2004. That team taught me how to love sports. The Palace of Auburn Hills was the place to be…until it wasn’t. One day I turned on Fox Sports Detroit, and I no longer recognized the team I used to love. The air had been let out of the balloon. But hey, every team goes through a rough patch. It’s the NBA, all it takes is one or two great draft picks to get things back on the right track. So I waited. I waited through middle school, and high school, and college waiting for the Detroit Pistons to wake up again, but they never did.
To me, the low point was their playoff appearance in 2019. Tom Gores and company put everything they had into that playoff push. Blake Griffin, playing injured as he often has, come off the court to a smattering of applause. The Pistons had wasted a career year from a Hall Of Fame caliber play just to sneak into the playoffs and lose by an average of 26 points. That moment was the result of years and years of futility, years and years of apathy, years and years of mismanagement. For the first time in my life, I thought a Detroit team might end up starting fresh in another city. With the exception of Blake Griffin’s heroics, the product had become stale and meaningless. It was time for a change.
Enter Troy Weaver.
Troy Weaver has set a new standard in Detroit by simply being competent. I have argued with people until I was blue in the face for 13 years regarding the Pistons’ organizational malpractice. In the NBA especially, there is not a worse place to be than in the middle. Yet for some reason, in the middle is exactly where the Pistons had found themselves over the last 13 years until Troy Weaver became the smartest guy in the room when he realized that tanking for a good draft pick, getting younger and signing players who don’t suck was actually the way to go. In his short tenure as Pistons GM so far, Troy Weaver has
- Drafted Killian Hayes 7th overall
- Traded for rookie Saddiq Bey, who finished 4th in the Rookie Of The Year voting
- Traded for rookie Isiah Stewart
- Traded Derrick Rose for Dennis Smith and a 2nd round draft pick
- Signed Jerami Grant to a 3 year deal. Jerami Grant had a career best season last year.
- Signed Josh Jackson to a 2 year. Jackson also had his best year as a pro in 2021.
- Won the draft lottery
I watched more Pistons basketball last year than I had in recent memory. They weren’t good but they were fun. For the first time in over a decade, you could see a legitimate foundation. You could see there was movement. It’s amazing what happens when you have an actual plan. And now they’re going to have a new toy to play with in the form of a number 1 pick, something they haven't had since 1970.
Last night’s lottery was worth a lot more than just a draft pick. It was genuine relief for a fan base that has been bruised and beaten down for half a decade with very little hope. Losing sucks, but having every major professional team in a city losing at a historically awful rate for several years is extremely exhausting. After years of basement dwelling, Detroit sports are finally starting to trend upwards. It’s about damn time.
Now if you need me, I'll be watching Cade Cunningham highlights for minute.