Ever try this? Every year since 2010 I have been doing this, imagining to myself, “what if we somehow got the first pick?” The number of times that I’ve clicked on the “Replay Lottery” button is almost uncountable.
This year, the lottery simulator is a bit different. Detroit isn’t in the lottery.
It is no surprise to anyone that Detroit clinched a playoff spot, competing for an extended season for the first time since 2008-09.
All the years of looking at this lottery simulator wondering what top-ten talent that Dumars/Bower would draft year by year (except 2014….thanks Maggette) is finally paying off.
For now, the stage is set. Detroit will face Cleveland in the first round.
For the Pistons, this is a perfect way to gain experience, which will be needed to improve in the future. This will be Reggie Jackson’s first taste of playoffs as the go to guy. The matchups will also be very interesting to watch. In addition to this, it will be interesting to see how our bench will hold up.
For Detroit, however, this game should be more than just obtaining experience.
April 26, 2009 was when the Cavaliers concluded the sweep of the Pistons at the Palace. Little did everyone know, Detroit wouldn’t return to the playoffs for seven seasons.
On that very day, a 24-year old LeBron James tallied 36 points in addition to 13 rebounds and eight assists. His Cavs won by 21 points.
That was the last time Detroit was in the playoffs. Since then, everyone has left the team, including the coach and GM. After Billups was traded, the team went downhill. Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon didn’t pan out. John Kuester, Lawrence Frank, and Mo Cheeks didn’t fit our coaching needs. The club went under for a few years.
Here we are in 2016. Draft picks like Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Stanley Johnson, and Brandon Knight have built a foundation in Detroit. Additions like Aron Baynes, Anthony Tolliver, Marcus Morris, and Reggie Bullock have been wins for Detroit under Van Gundy so far. By the looks of it, Detroit can be a contender for years to come.
Unless a very unfortunate event occurs, the Pistons first game back in the playoffs will be against a very familiar foe; LeBron James. Although he has reached his thirties, James has proven oven the years to be even more of a roadblock for teams of the eastern conference.
For Detroit, it is revenge.
But the Pistons are fighting for more than just revenge. They are fighting for the people that kept clicking on the “replay lottery” button. The people that watched their playoff chances be torn right in front of their faces along with an Achilles and starting point guard. And most importantly, the people that watched LeBron win two titles, saying “next year.” This is for the fans.