Detroit Needs the Pistons More than Ever Before
Detroit is a city with a very rich professional sports background that includes 11 Stanley Cups, four World Series titles, and three NBA championships. The city, however, is in the middle of a drought for championships, with the last titlle coming from the Red Wings in 2009 and the closet since then would be the Tigers getting swept in the 2012 World Series.
With the Pistons almost now looking like a lock for the playoffs and having a pretty good chance at securing the sixth seed in the east, they now provide the next glimpse of hope for Detroit sports fans. A potential favorable match up with the Indiana Pacers, whose star Victor Oladipo is out for the remainder of the season, has a lot of people in Detroit thinking about the possibility of winning a series. I think the focus should be just winning one game. Baby steps people, baby steps.
1,063 days and counting since one of the four major sports franchises have won a single playoff game. It would be the Red Wings in 2016 stealing one from the Tampa Bay Lightning but losing the series 4-1. If you wanted to go back to the last playoff series won by a Detroit sports franchise, that would be the Tigers in 2013, defeating the Oakland Athletics in five games in the ALDS. The Tigers would make it back to the postseason in 2014 only to get swept by the Baltimore Orioles and have been in rebuild mode since. The Wings streak of twenty-five straight playoff appearances was nixed in the 16-17 season and also entered rebuild mode. The Lions haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and they are so up and down it seems like they will never win a playoff game again.
This brings me back to the Pistons, who last played in the postseason in 2016, and were swept by the LeBron led Cavaliers in four very close games in the first round. This was the lone playoff appearance in the Stan Van Gundy era and the Pistons first playoff appearance since 08-09, where they were again swept by the Cavs in the first round. At the time in 2016, even though the Pistons were swept, the season was still looked at as a success and a step forward in what seemed to be the end of a rebuilding process. That next step was not taken the next season and the season after Detroit was trending downward. Then they acquired Blake Griffin, which altered the team’s trajection.
Now with new Head Coach Dwane Casey at the helm, the Pistons have had quite the Jekyll-and-Hyde season. At one point they looked like they deserved to be nowhere near the top 8 in December and then played as if they could cause the top seeds in the east some problems during the month of February.
All of the city of Detroit’s eggs are in the Pistons’ basket and when they started to string together wins, LCA started to grow quite louder, probably louder than it has been ever for the Pistons. Now, getting absolutely destroyed on their recent road trip in Brooklyn and Miami is the key reason why fans have been so hesitant to fully commit to the Pistons but I believe they have no other choice. And to stay the course, the Pistons just beat the Raptors on Sunday, sweeping the season series against one of the elites in the east.
Making the playoffs and winning a game or two would be a step forward without question but if they were able to pull off the unlikely and make it to the 2nd round, a desperate fan base would most certainly get fully behind this team. Either outcome could lead to something special getting built by the Pistons and now more than ever Detroit needs them.
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