Pistons Notes: Blame, Losing Streak, Williams, Improvement

The Pistons are in the midst of the worst losing streak in NBA history and there’s plenty of blame to go around. However, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, writing with James L. Edwards III, says the brunt of the responsibility is on the front office. No one move is single-handedly causing this slide, but Detroit’s front office has made several moves that didn’t make sense, according to Vecenie.

One of the Pistons’ main issues on the court is spacing and, last trade deadline, they traded away Saddiq Bey, a career 35.9% three-point shooter, in a deal for James Wiseman. Vecenie also points out the Pistons hurt their future flexibility by trading a highly protected first-round pick (which features protections through 2027) for Isaiah Stewart.

Because of these moves, the Pistons simply don’t have the depth other teams do, Vecenie writes, which has been a factor in the losing streak. Vecenie doesn’t absolve coach Monty Williams, stating the rotations that put franchise centerpiece Cade Cunningham around non-shooters are confusing.

As for the team’s short-term future, the trade deadline is approaching, and Vecenie suggests the Pistons need to target a two-way, hybrid three/four wing like Torrey Craig to help their woes on the perimeter and should only sell Bojan Bogdanovic for a huge haul.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • The Pistons have bigger issues than their record-tying 28-game losing streak, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. According to Bontemps’ sources, the Pistons are viewed as a team with “several stakeholders articulating different visions for the team.” Everyone from Williams to owner Tom Gores to general manager Troy Weaver to vice chairman Arn Tellem is said to have a different outlook for the organization, which hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008/09.
  • While all the Pistons’ power brokers hold some responsibility for the losing streak, The Athletic’s Sam Amick is less critical of Williams, to whom Detroit awarded a six-year, $72MM contract. Williams shouldn’t be in Detroit at all, according to Amick, who says the veteran coach instead deserved to remain in Phoenix, where he became a “fall guy.”
  • The Pistons almost defeated the Celtics on Thursday in a matchup between the teams with the NBA’s best and worst records. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes Detroit showed fight in the overtime loss. “I think it shows we’re on the same level of all the teams we’re playing against,” Cunningham said. “There’s no team I’ve ever come across where I felt like I was going into a slaughterhouse. I’ve never felt like that in my life going into a basketball game…there’s a lot of growth in tonight, some things we can learn from and definitely take into the next game.
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