Graph shows Detroit Pistons need to start fast for NBA playoffs
The Detroit Pistons can’t be buried early by a tough schedule as things get better as the NBA season progresses. A recent chart from an NBA analyst shows just how tough the road will be.
Pistons fans remember the start of last season well, when it seemed like all Detroit was playing was NBA Finals contenders. It seemed like other record-breaking teams didn’t exist, as they faced a steady diet of Chicago (before injuries), Atlanta (before things got bad), Brooklyn (with Durant and Harden ), Milwaukee and the 76ers to start the season. .
With Cade Cunningham still scraping the rust off after spending the entire preseason with a sprained ankle, the Pistons just weren’t ready for this level of competition.
Detroit started with a 1-8 record and then the injuries started piling up, which made matters worse as the schedule continued to be relentless.
After a depressing 94-85 extra loss to the New York Knicks on Dec. 29 (Alec Burks with 34 points led a Knicks rally), the Pistons’ record was just 5-28. Detroit’s hopes of making a run at the Play-in tournament had initially been dim, but being buried so deep, so early in the season, was a major inconvenience for fans.
By then, with four months left in the season, Pistons fans had to start hunting losses again for more NBA lottery ping pong balls (even though that strategy, except once, didn’t work). never either).
With the publication of the 2022-23 NBA schedule, Detroit is, on the contrary, even younger and less experienced than last year. Of their 16 currently registered players, 12 are 24 or younger. As of now, everyone is healthy, which is different from where the team ended up last year (remember those games with Trey Lyles at center?).
An easy schedule at the start, while the team is working out, would have been helpful, but it’s not happening.
It’s not last season’s meat grinder, not going up against an MVP contender every night, but it’s sure to be the hardest part of the schedule.
Ed Kupfer, who served as an analyst with the Houston Rockets, charted the toughest schedule strength for all NBA teams by time of year.
The first reaction is that the season is getting easier for Detroit as it goes (and they have nothing like the hellish landscape the 76ers have to finish the season. Yikes!)
Kupfer divided the season into four parts: Beginning to Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving to New Years, New Years to All-Star Break, and All-Star Break to Season End.
As each segment of the season runs its course, the Pistons schedule gets easier. After the All-Star break, Detroit will actually be favored for having a winning record in this segment.
How tough is the Detroit Pistons’ first road?
While there are still games with the Warriors, Lakers, Hawks, Celtics, Clippers and Nuggets that will be extremely, there are also some win possibilities.
We can’t call them gimmees or easy wins. When you’re talking about a team that went 23-59, those aren’t easy wins, but some matchups should be a “W” if Detroit plays well.
Indiana, Oklahoma City, Utah, Sacramento, Washington and the opener with Orlando are definitely games the Pistons could win. If the Pistons do indeed win the winnable games and pull off a few upsets, they could survive the tough pre-Thanksgiving stretch.
As bad as last season was, the Pistons still had wins over Milwaukee, Miami, Boston and Toronto, so hopefully Detroit can pull off some early upsets.
If Detroit can have a record of, say, 8-12 by Thanksgiving, that would be a very positive sign. As highlighted in previous stories, most back-to-back Pistons are complete by January 1.
Part of the reason the end of the schedule might be easier is that the NBA doesn’t want teams that might be more interested in ping pong balls than wins in March and April involved in crucial games involving playoff standings. So we know where the NBA still considers Detroit (see also by their lack of national television coverage).
But everyone plays 82 games, and the Pistons don’t have to settle for anyone else’s expectations.
With a young team and a volatile game situation (who knows what roster the Pistons will settle on?), it would be nice if Detroit had a lineup of cupcakes to start the year, but that’s not the reality.
When is it a fact, and Kupfer’s chart shows it, is that things get easier as the season progresses. Detroit fans should therefore keep this in mind if the team is off to a slow start. It will get better.
Kupfer has lots of other interesting graphs on his Twitter account that you can check out if you’re really into calendar statistics. here it has Detroit with the eighth toughest schedule.