The Detroit Pistons are putting together a season of losing the likes of which we haven’t seen for some time in the NBA. After a 2-1 start, Detroit has lost 16 straight games, successfully pulling off No-Win November by losing every single game all month and now head into December with fans wondering when they’ll see another win. Vibes are not great in Detroit, where Monty Williams has questioned his team’s desire to get better. They have been particularly terrible in the fourth quarter, blowing a few chances at wins.
Part of the problem the Pistons now face is they are playing so poorly they are now on the radar of every team on their schedule. Typically, bad teams don’t have the focus of the top of the league, and that is why we often see some very weird regular season results where the worst teams beat the best. The Pistons nearly pulled one of those wins off at the beginning of November, when they blew a fourth quarter lead in Milwaukee against the Bucks.
However, every team the Pistons play is now determined not to be the team that snaps their losing streak. That makes it far more difficult on Detroit, because they won’t have as much of a chance to sneak up on a team and get a random win. On top of that, as we saw in the tank matchup of the year earlier this week between the Pistons and Wizards, the worst teams in the league see Detroit as their opportunity to get a W, and will send out their best lineups to ensure that happens — Washington rode with a veteran-heavy rotation against Detroit, simply to snap their own losing streak.
Bojan Bogdanovic’s return (which was supposed to be Thursday but then got scrapped) should help some, but this team is still a mess and they might need some help in the form of a rest advantage night to get it done. With that in mind, I wanted to look at the Pistons schedule to figure out where a possible win could be, and below I’ve highlighted the three best chances for the Pistons to end their winless streak in December.
Vs. Cavaliers (Dec. 2): It’s possible Detroit can snap their losing streak in their first game of December, as they face a Cavs team that doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders, just lost to Portland, and has rumblings of some locker room discord. The problem is, that Blazers loss should wake up the Cavs and have them ready to get right against a bad Detroit team. I’d give Detroit a 25 percent chance here, maybe 30 percent if Bojan actually plays.
Vs. Grizzlies (Dec. 6): This might be the best chance for the Pistons to get a win this month. Both teams will have three days off between games thanks to the In-Season Tournament, so we will be getting them as fresh as can be. I don’t know how much that helps Detroit, but maybe some rare in-season practice time can help them figure some stuff out. Memphis is very bad right now and will still be missing a lot of key guys when this game happens. We’ll call this a coin flip game, which is about as good as it gets for Detroit. The problem is, if they don’t win this one, the stretch following that is very tough with: Pacers, Sixers, Sixers, Bucks, Hawks.
Vs. Jazz (Dec. 21): Utah will be on a road back-to-back, having played in Cleveland the night before, meaning this is the first real rest advantage spot for Detroit and it’s against a bottom-half team. If they haven’t gotten a win by this point, they’ll on a 23-game losing streak at this point and this figures to be another coin flip spot. If they don’t get this one, it’s likely not until the calendar flips to 2024 that they get on the board again, and the 2011-12 Bobcats’ record might be threatened.