The summer of 2013 provided a glimmer of hope for Detroit Pistons fans. The signings of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings in the offseason generated buzz in a fanbase that has been desperate for a winning franchise since the team’s dominating period of the 2000s. That period included six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances and two NBA Finals appearances that resulted in one title in 2004. Smith and Jennings, alongside a young nucleus of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, were thought to be the answer for a playoff run. Sure, there were questions about whether or not Smith, who is a natural power forward, would be able to play the small forward, but no one thought that the adjustment would be too much of an issue.
They thought wrong.
Smith is shooting a horrendous 24 percent from three-point range and is on pace for the worst three-point shooting season in NBA history. Not to place all of the blame on Smith, though. The team is struggling mightily on defense. They are currently fifth worst in the league in PPG allowed to opponents (103.2).
Nearing the All-Star break, the Pistons currently sit at 18-27, which is tied for ninth in a miserable Eastern Conference that has only four teams above .500. At this rate, if they are lucky enough to make the playoffs as a seven or eight seed, they will likely get ran off the court by either the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat in the first-round. Speculation has it that the team may try and trade Monroe before the deadline since he will be a free agent after this year anyway. That will allow the team to possibly bring in a small forward who can stretch the floor and move Smith back to his natural position at power forward in hopes of making a playoff push.
The problem with that is, unless the team makes some sort of miracle run at an NBA title, the season will be a lost cause. That is because in 2012 the team traded Ben Gordon along with a top eight protected first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to the Charlotte Bobcats for Corey Maggette. This means that the Pistons will retain that draft pick only if they land a top eight spot in the upcoming draft.
With possibly the most loaded draft class in NBA history coming up — including the likes of Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart (just to name a few) — it would be wise for the Pistons to tank the rest of the season. Obviously it is hard for a professional athlete to fathom the idea of losing on purpose, however, I think I speak for the entire fanbase when I say it’s time for the team to cut its losses and just give up. Joe Dumars needs to go. Maurice Cheeks needs to go. This team needs to start over yet again.
Here’s to hoping the Pistons bomb the rest of the season.