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Pistons are 7-20 again, but they aren’t better

For the second consecutive season, the Pistons are 7-20. That has led to multiple articles examining whether this year’s team is better than last year’s – a depressing enough topic in itself, but especially crushing when the answer is clearly no.

Lawrence Frank, of course, disagrees:

"I think we’ve definitely made progress, it’s one of those things where we haven’t seen the result," Frank said. "We’re disappointed in the result, we expect better, but we are a better team than last year."

"It’s disappointing to have the (current) record we have but I think sometimes you look and peel back the onion, that record we had last year, there were many games we weren’t even competitive," Frank said. "We were that team ‘go play the Pistons, knock them out early, they’re done. We’re no longer that team."

In that sense, Frank is absolutely right. Last season, the Pistons had five Pythagorean wins in their first 27 games (which measure what a team’s record should be based on points scored and allowed). This season, they have 10.

But who cares whether the Pistons are better through 27 games than they were last year? Progress should not reset during the offseason. We were told repeatedly the Pistons had turned a corner last season, starting 4-20 and finishing 21-21. Here’s what Joe Dumars said after the season (emphasis mine):

just because of new coach, new system, no training camp, really no preseason, rookie point guard.

“You put all those things together in a shortened season, I firmly believe that’s why we got off to such a tough start. That’s why it took us 20, 24 games before you start seeing guys saying, all right, we’re good enough. We understand what Lawrence is doing now.

Apparently, Frank wants to be judged as if last year’s progress never occurred.  I could accept a step back if the Pistons were playing raw players like Andre Drummond big minutes, but that’s not happening. Though the Pistons are younger, it’s not substantial enough to justify this type of play.

Last year, the Pistons won 38 percent of their games – including 50 percent for nearly the final two-thirds of the season. This year, they’re winning 26 percent of their games. That is not better.

It’s conceivable – likely, even – the Pistons will finish this season further along as a franchise than they ended last season. But they shouldn’t have taken this step back to get there.


  • Dec 19, 201212:59 pm


    When I read his comments earlier this more…I then realized that we have a JOKE as an COACH!

    We are a BETTER TEAM… But we are not PLAYING BETTER!

    Half the stuff he says CONTRADICTS HIMSELF!!!!

  • Dec 19, 20121:00 pm


    “this morning”

  • Dec 19, 20121:14 pm
    by MIKEYDE248


    Reminds me of the Lions.  They are competitve in most games, but just don’t win.  In both cases it goes back to the coach.  Either not making ther correct adjustments, not playing the correct players or just being a bad coach.

    • Dec 19, 20122:18 pm
      by Otis


      Not even close. Basketball is not football. If you know anything about the rhythm and flow of a basketball game, you’d know the nature and pace of the game lends itself to games looking more competitive than they are. Even Coach Frank knows (and said the other night) that the fourth quarter isn’t played like the other three. Teams that look like they’re in games for three quarters and invariably lose them in the fourth are just bad teams. It’s not that they need to “learn” how to close out games (unless, maybe, you have a spectacular amount of young talent, which we don’t), it’s that the better team puts down the clamps in the last quarter, last few minutes, whatever it takes to get the W without expending too much energy. The coach sucks, but he’s not the problem. The roster is the problem. Phil Jackson couldn’t coach this team to a .500 record.

      • Dec 19, 20122:59 pm
        by Jon


        Phil Jackson could absolutely coach this team to a .500 record. This team is one player maybe 2, a good coach, and two maybe three years from being a regular in the playoffs. the roster is not that bad

        • Dec 19, 20124:27 pm
          by Otis


          LOL Keep watching.

          This team was “one or two players away” three seasons ago. They’ve added five or six rotation quality players since there, and the results are the same. This roster is a disaster. 

      • Dec 19, 20123:02 pm
        by Tom Y.


        This is almost the same roster that played .500 ball after the 20-4 start last season, except they added two of the best of rookies of their class, two of their core players have worked real hard to take a step forward over the summer and Tayshaun is having a better year. And Phil Jackson couldn’t coach that to the same .500 ball they ended last season with?

        • Dec 19, 20124:35 pm
          by Otis


          Cool. They added two top rookies, ditched Ben Gordon (at a hefty cost), had a full offseason and training camp, and are in their second year under the same head coach… and they’re back to the same 7-20 start as last season. You superfans need to stop kidding yourself.

          And isolating the soft part of your schedule, after a truly abysmal start, is meaningless. So they played .500 ball for the equivalent of half a season during which a good portion of the league was either in tank mode or resting their veterans for the playoffs. They would have been better off making a deadline deal that would have reduced their hollow win total and brought back something to help the team’s future.

          And where’s all that momentum got us this year? If that .500 stretch meant a damn thing, we wouldn’t have regressed to the same sorry record we had through last year’s first 27 games. Stop kidding yourselves, people. This team is a mess and needs serious rearrangement.  

        • Dec 19, 20124:53 pm
          by tarsier


          Lost in the fact that the Pistons started 4-20 before going 21-21 is the fact that the schedule was much harder for those first 24 than the last 42. A normal schedule would put a team between those two extremes.

      • Dec 19, 20124:38 pm
        by MIKEYDE248


        Never been a Phil Jackson fan, so I don’t think he could coach them to .500 either.  When has he ever taken young talent and improved them?  He’s only succeeded in taking great talent and dealing with their egos.

        Most of the blame has to go back on Frank, just by the players he puts on the floor.  Daye, CV, Corey and Max would all me back-up players at best on any other team in the league.  Unless we are showcasing them for trades, they should all be cheerleaders for the better players.

  • Dec 19, 20122:05 pm
    by Otis


    A) The “but” in your headline is out of place. If they have the same record, the assumption should be that they’re not better. If you’re saying they’re worse, come out and say it.

    B) Duh. There is no such thing as momentum with this team. The fact that you’re dignifying the huckster crap they spew is sad. They can pull the wool over Gores’ eyes because he doesn’t know anything about basketball, but not us.

    C) Biggest difference between 7-20 last year and this year is that by this time last year the team had basically settled down to playing .500 ball (and boy did they hang their hat on that! LOL). I don’t think anyone is going to look at the Pistons right now and anticipate they’ll be playing .500 ball the rest of the way. Lot of work to be done on this roster, and Joe’s not going to be able to keep all the players he wants to keep if he’s going to turn things around.

    • Dec 19, 20122:56 pm
      by rick


      I have to respectfully disagree with you on that, simply because I have seen teams like Charlotte win four or five in a row this year. Players tend to follow the lead of the coach, and this coach doesnt even know if he’s coming or going on any given night. Im sorry but the coach doesnt inspire anything or anyone. Style is too rigid. I think Pil Jackson could coach these guys if he had a training camp and implemented hi style. People think Phil couldnt coach this team but he would probably make Stuckey a better all around player and with Mooose passing out of the traingle who kknows. Thats a story for another day though.

      The issue at hand is simply put and that is Frank is a good assistant coack on a veteran team. He is not equipped to coach an upcoming young team such as the Pistons. No need to denigrate the team because again I have seen teams with lesser talent win games we all know they should not have won. It all boils down to coaching,pride,talent, and a overall willingness to do whatever ittakes to win. At no point have I seen Detroit put it all together at once this year. If they had one thing they could attach themselves to and do it then maybe just maybe they would be the teamwe all want them to be. I personally would not mind seeing Detroit go back to winning games 72-74, even if the rest of the league doesnt like it. At least in my mind Pistons  fans alike would be happy and know we are well on our way.

      • Dec 19, 20124:38 pm
        by Otis


        Lawrence Frank is useless, but he’s third on this team’s list of problems: 1) Joe Dumars; 2) nowhere near enough talent on the roster (Joe’s fault, naturally); 3) Coach Frank.

        • Dec 19, 20124:49 pm
          by MIKEYDE248


          If you looked at the talent on this team and compared it with the rest of the league, you would probably say they are in the middle of the pack, so I think it comes down to coaching as the #1 problem.

  • Dec 19, 20123:41 pm
    by Crispus


    I had a good laugh imagining Frank waving his arms wildly and flailing his suit coat as he talked about “We haven’t seen the result” and “peeling the onion back”.

    It’s hard to tell if Frank is being stubborn, just doesn’t get it, or is receiving secret advice from Joe D. Maybe they are tanking (I hope not) and maybe they are trying desperately to keep the vets happy and productive for trade offers (I’d be fine with this if we trade only for picks or cash and can develop the youngsters in the back half of the season). But if there’s no trades and only mediocrity it’ll be a long shameful season. Frank doesn’t necessarily have all the talent he needs to win consistently, but he has a lot of hungry young guys who could at least lose with heart and hustle (weird cliche I know, but I think you know what I mean – think this year’s Bobcats).

    I’d like to see Drummond and Monroe become a tandem, like Randolph and Gasol. I’d like to see Jerebko and English and Knight running up and down the court. I want to see if Charlie V and Daye can put up points if they are given free reign to shoot. Right now we don’t get to see any of that, just some opaque and tedious process that seems to drain all the energy out of everything.

  • Dec 19, 20125:57 pm
    by Big Rick


    Wow! It really is bad. Reading this comment section today brought my spirits down, but the reality is most of what you guy are saying is true. As a fan you have to wonder what our agenda is, or if they even have one becuase it’s not apparent at all.

  • Dec 20, 20129:24 am
    by Scott Free


    Ben Gordon: Difference Maker lol

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