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Detroit Pistons Betting Outlook
Western NBA Conference Odds: +125
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +250
The defending NBA champions are considered a good bet to repeat, especially with all the important pieces back and some new additions to the rotation. LeBron James and Anthony Davis look like a solid duo for years to come after both recently signed new deals, and the team chemistry from last season’s championship run should continue.
The biggest question mark could be fatigue, especially for James, who at 35, will be playing following the shortest offseason in league history. Coach Frank Vogel may try to accommodate that with more rest during the regular season to have James prepared for the postseason. Incorporating some of the new pieces will be a work in progress as well, with such a truncated preseason, but come the postseason, the Lakers should be ready to defend their title.
The problem with trying to figure out the over/under pick for the Lakers is that they do have some younger players that will be playing every game of the season. The thought last season was that James would be resting from time to time during the regular season to rest up for the postseason. But Los Angeles ended up with the best record in the West anyway.
Pistons 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 21-51
Conference Standing: 13th
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Detroit Pistons Team History
he Detroit Pistons were formed in 1941 as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, a team in the National Basketball League, then moved to the Basketball Association of America as the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1948. In 1949, owner Fred Zollner helped merge the two leagues into the National Basketball Association.
The Pistons made the playoffs 14 straight seasons, including making the NBA Finals in both the 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons, but didn’t win a title in that span. Following the 1956-57 season, the team moved to Detroit and became the Detroit Pistons.
The team had some eventual Hall of Fame players in the 1960s and 1970s in Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing and Bob Lanier, but it made the playoffs just eight times in the two decades, never seriously contending for a title. The team drafted point guard Isiah Thomas out of Indiana with the No. 2 pick in the 1981 draft, beginning a turnaround of the franchise.
The Pistons also added Kelly Tripucka in the 1981 draft and traded for center Bill Laimbeer. Then, prior to the 1983-84 season, the team hired Chuck Daly as head coach. The team made the playoffs in Daly’s first season, the first of nine straight postseason appearances.
Detroit started to build, adding players like Joe Dumars, John Salley and Dennis Rodman in the draft, and acquiring power forward Rick Mahorn via trade.The team’s physical defensive style earned them the nickname, “Bad Boys,” but it also made them a title contender, as they slowly moved farther in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In the 1987 playoffs, Detroit advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, where it faced the defending champion Boston Celtics.The Pistons pushed the Celtics to seven games before falling, hurt by a head-to-head collision between Adrian Dantley and Vinnie Johnson in Game 7 that robbed Detroit of two of its main scorers.
The next season, the teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals again, but this time, it was Detroit that came out on top, with the team advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in 32 years.The Pistons took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals and took a 3-2 lead as the series headed back to Los Angeles for the last two games.
In Game 6, Thomas severely sprained his ankle but continued to play, scoring 25 points in the third quarter to keep the Pistons in the game. But it wasn’t enough, as the Pistons lost Game 6 and then Game 7, falling short in their bid for their first title.
In 1988-89, Detroit advanced to the NBA Finals again, defeating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. It was another in a growing rivalry that saw the Pistons beating the Bulls and physically defending Jordan to shut down the scoring champion. Detroit’s defense was dubbed “The Jordan Rules” and caused bad blood between the clubs.
In the 1989 Finals, the Pistons met the Lakers again, but this time, Detroit had the upper hand after injuries to both of Los Angeles’ starting guards, sweeping the Lakers for the franchise’s first title. Dumars was named the Finals MVP.
In the offseason, the Pistons lost Mahorn to the expansion draft, but the team was able to get past the Bulls again and to the NBA Finals for a third straight season. Detroit faced the Portland Trail Blazers for the title, winning the series in five games behind the play of Thomas, who was named Finals MVP.
Age, injuries and the Bulls caught up to the Pistons the following season, as Chicago swept Detroit out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals, a loss that was marred by dirty play and walking off the court before the game was done by the Pistons. Key pieces to the championship team started to be traded away, and after a first-round exit from the playoffs in 1991-92, Daly resigned.
That started a three-year span of not making the postseason, capped with a 20-win campaign in 1993-94, though that low finish brought the Pistons the No. 3 pick in the draft, which they used on Duke forward Grant Hill. The rookie made an immediate impact, making the All-Star team, being named the co-Rookie of the Year, and leading the team back to the playoffs.
After leading the Pistons to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons and becoming one of the faces of the NBA, Hill decided to leave as a free agent following the 1999-2000 campaign. The team brought Dumars in as the team’s president of basketball operations, and he was able to at least make a sign-and-trade deal with Orlando for Hill, bringing Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins back in the trade.
Dumars hired Rick Carlisle as coach for the 2001-02 season, and he helped the Pistons to 50 wins in his first season. That offseason, Dumars built up the team’s rotation with the drafting of Tayshaun Prince and acquiring Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups. The team again won 50 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals but were swept by the New Jersey Nets, leading to Carlisle being fired.
Larry Brown was hired as the team’s head coach, and the successful run continued, adding Rasheed Wallace at the trade deadline and advancing to the 2004 NBA Finals. An underdog to a Los Angeles Lakers team that featured four future Hall of Famers, the Pistons won the series in five games, earning their third NBA championship, with Billups being named Finals MVP.
The beginning of the 2004-05 season brought one of the worst melees during a game as a fight during a home game against the Pacers ended up spilling over into the stands, with Indiana players taking on fans. Fines and suspensions followed, and the physical play of the Pistons was criticized by many for the part it played in leading to the brawl.
Detroit advanced to the NBA Finals again the next season but fell to the San Antonio Spurs in seven games. After the season, with Brown having had to leave the team due to health issues twice during the season, the team bought out his contract and replaced him with Flip Saunders.
The Pistons made it to the Eastern Conference finals in all three seasons under Saunders but could never get back to the Finals. Saunders wasn’t retained, and the team started to go downhill fast. Detroit made it to the playoffs with a sub-.500 record in 2008-09, only to be swept in the first round, and the team has made the playoffs just twice since, both first-round losses.
Despite adding stars like Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, the Pistons have gone through seven coaches since their last playoff series win.
Twenty players who have worn the Pistons jersey are enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, including Dumars, Bing, Thomas, Hill, DeBusschere, Lanier and Rodman. Five men who have been head coaches or assistant coaches for the team are Hall of Famers, including Daly and Brown.
The Pistons were hampered by injuries throughout the 2019-20 campaign, especially to Blake Griffin, who was limited to just 18 games due to a knee injury. The team was above .500 just one time during the season, after an opening win over Indiana, and ended up 26 games below .500 by the time the NBA had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the trade deadline, the Pistons dealt Andre Drummond, one of the league’s best rebounders, to Cleveland for two players and a second-round pick in the fear they would lose him for nothing as a free agent. Because the team was so far out of the playoff hunt, Detroit was not invited to the Orlando bubble and finished the 2019-20 campaign at 20-46.
Dwane Casey has been an NBA coach since 1994, including three head coaching positions. Casey was an assistant coach for Kentucky and Western Kentucky in the 1980s as well as coaching overseas for a few years before catching on as an assistant with the Seattle SuperSonics for the 1994-95 season.
Casey spent 11 seasons with Seattle before landing his first head coaching job with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team struggled, and Casey was fired after only a season and a half, compiling a 53-69 record. Casey caught on as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks and helped the team to the NBA championship in 2010-11.
The following season, he was named head coach of the Toronto Raptors, guiding the team to four division titles and five playoff appearances in his seven years in the position.Toronto advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2016, falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Casey was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2017-18, but the Raptors’ sweep from the playoffs in the second round cost him his job.
Casey was then hired as Detroit’s head coach and took the Pistons to the playoffs in his first season before missing the playoffs in 2019-20. Over 10-plus years as an NBA head coach, Casey has compiled a 434-394 regular-season record as well as a 21-34 mark in the playoffs.
Jerami Grant, forward, Denver Nuggets
Wayne Ellington, guard, New York Knicks
Josh Jackson, guard, Memphis Grizzlies
Jahlil Okafor, center, New Orleans Pelicans
Mason Plumlee, forward, Denver Nuggets
Delon Wright, guard, Dallas Mavericks
Rodney McGruder, guard, LA Clippers
Luke Kennard, guard, LA Clippers
Christian Wood, forward, Houston Rockets
Langston Galloway, guard, Phoenix Suns
Bruce Brown, guard, Brooklyn Nets
Tony Snell, guard, Atlanta Hawks
Saddiq Bay, guard, Villanova
Killian Hayes, guard
Saben Lee, guard, Vanderbilt
Isaiah Stewart, center, Washington
Deividas Sirvydis, forward
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