By: Bogart Lipe
Some people have seasonal depression. The weather turns cold, they stay indoors all day, and get bored and upset. I don’t personally suffer directly from seasonal depression. I, as many Pistons fans do, writhe from a similar condition, though. We just call it the NBA season. The Pistons turn cold from the field, injuries keep key players on the bench, and we get frustrated and upset. And it’s only half way through the season.
Right now at this moment, in this exact time in the universe, I can’t imagine the Pistons making the playoffs. Regardless of the mess that is the Eastern Conference, the Pistons currently sit at 22-20 and somehow are still the 8th seed in the conference. This is the result of back to back losses to…gulp…the putrid Bulls and the lackluster Hornets. The ending of the Bulls game was a mess, where allegedly the referees missed two straight foul calls according to the NBA’s last two minute report. The Hornets game was a mess, where allegedly Andre Drummond played 33 minutes, but only had 3 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists to show for it as Dwight Howard put up 21 and 17. The team is a mess, not allegedly, but with absolute certainty.
As the trade deadline continues to approach, it seems more likely that Stan Van Gundy will have to make a trade. Whether the Pistons will prove to be buyers as usual or start selling key pieces is yet to be seen. No matter what SVG chooses, something must be done. The offense is more stale and harder to swallow than a reheated Olive Garden breadstick. The defense at times looks like more of an imitator than Burger King’s chicken fries. The overall attitude is worse than a customer after eating Taco Bell.
The team has been dealt a terrible card, of course. Reggie Jackson’s importance to this team has been unequivocally proven. The team looks lost and as previously mentioned, uninspired. As a diehard, unconditionally loving fan, the recent stretch has been aching. There’s no consistency. There’s not a single play they can run to get a basket in a key spot. There’s no heart many nights. It’s truly stunning. But as mentioned above, the season is now just over half way through. There’s obviously an abundant amount of time left for the team to right their ways, but it feels as if fans have been saying that for weeks on end. The entire psyche of the team must change now, and if it doesn’t, Stan Van Gundy will change it himself. SVG can’t afford to have this team miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year, which would undoubtedly spark murmurs of his termination as one or both of his current positions in the Pistons’ brass. It’s unfair we haven’t been able to see the team at full strength for any extended period of time during Van Gundy’s stay, but this is how it goes.
Another failure to reach the postseason will result in serious questions about SVG and every player’s future with the team. Another failure to reach the postseason will implant ideas of blowing it up, and rebuilding once again (remember Josh Harrellson?). Not to mention as this season starts to appear to get off the tracks, the chances of Avery Bradley resigning diminish further and further. Regardless of how he has played of late (which is to say, underwhelming), he remains the number one priority for the Pistons this offseason.
An immense amount of the Pistons future rides on the next 40 games, with the Raptors tonight and the Wizards and Nets upcoming. And frankly, the only reason I may tune in is to see Anthony Tolliver play basketball at an impeccable level.
This is where we’ve ended up.