No NBA playoff team from the 2018/19 season came closer to missing the postseason than the 41-41 Pistons, who finished just two games ahead of the Hornets and Heat (39-41).
Now, with the 2019/20 NBA season fast approaching, no team has closer to even odds to make the playoffs next spring than the Pistons, according to BetOnline.ag. The betting site gives Detroit -155 odds to miss the postseason and +135 odds to make it. That means that if you bet $100 on the Pistons to be a playoff team and they come through, you’d win $135 — if you think they’re a lottery team, you’d have to risk $155 to win $100.
Based on the rest of the Eastern teams’ playoff odds at BetOnline.ag, it’s easy to understand the bookmakers’ logic. The Bucks, Raptors, Sixers, Celtics, Pacers, Nets, and Magic – all of whom made the postseason a year ago – are viewed as favorites to finish ahead of the Pistons again in 2019/20. Meanwhile, the Heat are considered the most likely club to join that group of seven, leapfrogging the Pistons in the projected standings after adding star swingman Jimmy Butler.
Unlike Miami, the Pistons didn’t make any splashy free agent or trade acquisitions this summer. Sure, they signed a former MVP, but at this point Derrick Rose is a solid role player, not a difference-making star. Detroit’s list of modest additions also included forwards Markieff Morris, Tony Snell, and rookie Sekou Doumbouya, along with veteran point guard Tim Frazier.
Now that Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Reggie Jackson have a full year together under their belts, perhaps they’ll reach new heights in 2019/20, but it might be too optimistic to count on all three players to suit up for 75+ games again, especially given Griffin’s and Jackson’s injury histories.
Still, there are reasons to be bullish on the Pistons. Head coach Dwane Casey is a proven winner – at least in the regular season – and rotation players like Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, and Thon Maker are still young enough to take major steps forward. Drummond will be motivated to have a huge contract year, and Jackson finally looks fully healthy. With some good injury luck, the Pistons should have no problem staying in the playoff hunt.
What do you think? Are the Pistons a playoff team in 2019/20? Will last year’s seven postseason representatives and the Heat make the playoffs in the East, or is there another dark horse contender you like ahead of Detroit?
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