The Detroit Pistons may have a golden opportunity to stop their dreaded 17-game losing streak against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Why It Matters For the Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are currently facing a 17-game losing streak, the worst in franchise history. The streak started October 30 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and has extended up until now. Detroit has dealt with immense adversity which included injuries, lineup changes, and going through the entire month of November without a victory.
Detroit is currently sitting with a 2-18 record in the regular season. Wednesday night features a home matchup at Little Caesars Arena between the Pistons and the Memphis Grizzlies. Both teams have struggled throughout the season and looking to build momentum in a winning direction.
While Detroit's schedule hasn't been the easiest path for a young team, they could be on track to put an end to this losing streak against Memphis. The Pistons came into the regular season ready to be more competitive than they have been in the past few seasons. This upcoming matchup could help put them on the track they originally anticipated.
Here are three reasons why the Pistons' losing streak could end Wednesday against the Grizzlies:
- Pistons Are Finally Getting Healthy
The Detroit Pistons came into the regular season with a very unhealthy roster. They were without as many as seven players due to injuries and illness. After a little over a month of games played, Detroit is finally finding better structure with their roster getting healthy.
The return of Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Livers, and Alec Burks has helped the Pistons' dire need for depth, spacing, and shooting. Lots of Detroit's offense previously relied on isolation-heavy scoring and crowded half-court spacing. Having nearly half of the team's roster unavailable limited a lot of their ability to be as competitive as originally stated.
While the returning depth hasn't equated to victories yet, Detroit's play style and competitive level certainly look different. Head Coach Monty Williams has been able to spread out minutes easier and try different lineups for different situations. The Pistons previously relied on tiring out players in extended minutes which led to sloppy play in closing minutes.
2. Grizzlies Are Injured All-Around
It looks like Memphis is coming into this matchup very shorthanded. They have been without their star point guard Ja Morant all season so far due to a league suspension. However, their depth has been limited lately due to a number of injuries.
The Grizzlies are currently dealing with injuries with Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke, GG Jackson II, Luke Kennard, Marcus Smart, and Jake LaRavia. The majority of these names are starters or key contributors off the bench. Memphis' lack of depth has led to their 5-14 record and 14th seeding in the Western Conference.
The Detroit Pistons have struggled against teams who are missing their best players like the New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, and Milwaukee Bucks. This is a scenario where Memphis could be missing their best players and a chunk of depth as well. This opens a big opportunity for the Pistons to take advantage of that circumstance.
3. Off-Ball Cade Cunningham Is Working
The Pistons have been trying to solve their issues of offensive spacing. Head Coach Monty Williams has been emphasizing he wants the team to “start dribbling and playing in a crowd”. Williams has finally started making adjustments to provide better spacing on the offensive end.
Detroit has started playing point guard Cade Cunningham more reps off the ball. The Pistons have rolled out three guards in their starting rotation with Cunningham, Killian Hayes, and Jaden Ivey. Taking Cunningham off the ball has stripped defenses' ability to double-team the star guard. It also has opened up midrange shooting for Hayes and cutting lanes for Ivey and Ausar Thompson.
Off-ball time has not limited Cunningham's ability to create secondary playmaking. Detroit can also take advantage of his size better by playing him in the post. This should be a big part of the Pistons' game-planning when taking on the Grizzlies tonight.