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The Detroit Pistons are stuck in a lengthy playoff drought, having only qualified for the NBA playoffs twice since 2009, with both occasions resulting in being swept. That followed what was an incredible run of six straight trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, along with winning the 2004 NBA championship.
The Pistons struggled through a miserable 2022-23 season
It was basically the season from hell for the Pistons last year, who not only posted historically poor defensive numbers but also only won 17 of 82 games. It didn't help whatsoever that former Number 1 NBA Draft pick Cade Cunningham missed the majority of the schedule with an injury, either.
Further insult to injury was doled out to the Pistons when, despite their NBA-worst record, they dropped to 5th in the NBA Draft Lottery.
One ESPN analyst believes a return to the postseason is possible
The Pistons have already made a major addition to their team, signing former Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams to the largest coaching contract in NBA history at a reported six years and $78.5 million.
Fans are hoping that Williams will be able to achieve a similar result in Detroit as he did in Phoenix, as he took over a Suns team that had won only 19 games the previous year. He would then lead them to seasons of 31, 51, and 64 wins, respectively, culminating in an NBA Finals appearance in 2022 and also being named the NBA Coach of the Year.
NBA Insider Bobby Marks believes that Williams can coach the Pistons to win meaningful games and perhaps even make a run at next year's postseason.
“I do think there's no reason why Detroit can't compete for a spot in the play-in tournament, but I do think it's going to be extremely, extremely important for Monty (Williams) to put this group in a position to win basketball games when they mean something,” Marks explained to Jeanna Trotman of WXYZ. “Not when you're 20 and 50 in March, but similar to what happened the year he was in Phoenix and they went into the bubble and they played extremely well. That basically catapulted it to the following year.”
Wrapping It Up: The Pistons have a tough road ahead
It's no secret that even with a healthy Cunningham in the lineup next season, the Pistons will be facing a tall order to make a return to the postseason.
But we've seen Williams in a similar situation in years past, and it would be great to see him enjoy a repeat of the success with the Suns here in Detroit.