By: Bogart Lipe
This one is going to sting.
There comes an interesting time during the year for many students. The time where reality hits you. College students everywhere have hit the time of year when panic sets in. It seems, as if all of a sudden, you need to turn your grades all the way around, get in shape for summer, and find a job or internship. And, you guessed it, you’re not anywhere close to any of the above. Instead, you’ve been deciding when exactly you should throw away those freezer-burnt pizza rolls that expired last month instead of ritually inhaling them as a fourth meal while watching Netflix. And now you’ve realized the semester is coming to a close, and you’ll likely have to pick between surviving your classes, shedding those pizza rolls pounds, and being employed.
The Pistons are at this realization point. They’re failing. Straight F’s. They doze off in class. Haven’t applied to a single job. Had three Easy Mac and Cheese cups for dinner yesterday. Letting their figures go. It’s a mess. It’s gotten ugly. The absolute best case involves them somehow pulling a passing grade out of thin air, which in this metaphor would be a swift first round playoff exit.
This will not happen. They have no shot of salvaging the season. It’s, without a doubt, over. Many college students will turn it around. The Pistons will not. It’s too late for them. Yet another difficult, and dare I say cursed, season has fully enveloped the team. Reggie Jackson should not return this season. Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin need to start missing games because of “sore knees” and “back spasms”. There is no point anymore. Last night against the Utah Jazz, the Pistons fell behind 42-21 after the first. The Jazz shot 81% in the quarter, the second highest by a team this year (the Charlotte Hornets shot north of 82% in a quarter earlier this year, because the NBA is weird). The game was over after less than 12 minutes, and the final score was a whimsically lopsided 110-79.
This is excruciating to admit, sure. The team started red hot, sporting a top five league-wide record and looking the part of a good team. Then everything happened. Now the team looks gutted, the trio of Jackson-Blake-Dre doesn’t appear that it will play any meaningful minutes together this season, and it is likely that the Pistons will again punt to next season. Tom Gores has articulated that he will not quit on Stan Van Gundy, but it may not be his choice anymore. The players have quit on him. The Pistons play as if they are in full on tank mode, yet they won’t have a first round pick this year unless it falls in the top four. The Pistons are instead looking at having a pick in the ever-spectacular 10-14th range of picks, where it’s unlikely a difference maker will be available (although the Pistons passed on both Devin Booker and Donovan Mitchell in this range in recent years). Regardless, the NBA has no reason to rig the lottery for Detroit. The league literally hates the Pistons. The Bad Boys, the 2004 Pistons making basketball unwatchable for most NBA fans, the Malice at the Palace. They hate us. So forget that pipe dream.
There’s roughly 6 weeks left of the semester, and 4 weeks left of the NBA regular season. If you’re one of the aforementioned students trying to somehow regain control of your life, you can do it. If you’re a Piston, and you’re trying to somehow get into the playoffs, you can’t do it. Book that vacation in the Caribbean early and save yourself some money.