I have a bizarre relationship with the Detroit Pistons. I’m not going to say I loathe them necessarily, but goddamn, they keep disappointing me. The Pistons teams of the mid to late 2000s were must-watch television for me. They’re one of the reasons why I love sports the way that I do today. I feel so betrayed. I waited and waited and waited and waited for them to turn things around. Several years ago, it seemed like they were heading in the right direction. Troy Weaver came in. They finally tanked, and they got the number one pick. It seemed like things were looking up, and then they just stalled out. I’m going to give them a shot this year. They open the season tonight, and I will watch, but I don’t expect much.
Except for that little run of excitement when they got the number one pick, sometimes it doesn't even feel like the Pistons play in Detroit anymore. We talk about them so little. And I'm not upset by that. They haven't really earned the right to be discussed, but even the Detroit Tigers, when they were at their worst, were a part of the cultural lexicon in Detroit. The Pistons have just been stuck in neutral forever. I do really like the coaching hire. Monty Williams probably shouldn't have been fired by Phoenix, and he fell into Detroit's lap. I think that's a good step in the right direction.
You'll finally have a healthy Cade Cunningham, but he needs to prove it this year. It's been a minute since he's been in the league, and I know he's had some injury issues, but this is the guy that they projected to be a transcendent star. This is a big moment for him.
I'm not going to sit here and act like I've watched every Detroit Pistons game (or even most) over the last several years, but the one thing that I noticed last year is that they couldn't shoot, and they sure as shit couldn't play defense. I think defensive breakdowns are an issue throughout the NBA, but my eyes often tend to deceive me. The energy they played with made the Pistons of the 2000s so much fun. There was an intensity to the way they played defense. Team chemistry and communication have been severely lacking over the last several years here. Hopefully, the new coaching tenure can turn this around.
I still have little hope that I'll get invested in this team like I have the Lions this season. I was skeptical about the Lions, but I never deny that the culture was in a really good place. I just don't know if I feel that way about the Pistons. I'm not high on Tom Gores as an owner, and while I like Monty Williams as a coach, sometimes coaches are only as good as their players, and this roster is unproven at best. I hope they turn things around. It'll be good for the fan base. Each day, I forget what it feels like to have a good Pistons team.