A moribund franchise for more than a decade, the Detroit Pistons received a huge makeover this offseason.
The stylist was new general manager Troy Weaver, who is trying to give the once-proud franchise a more retro look, turning back the clock to the glory days of Detroit basketball.
Even the most optimistic Pistons fan would admit it’s almost assuredly going to require more patience, which is wearing thin in a battered sports town tired of losing seasons.
Some entertainment relief will come in the way of legal sports betting though, as an online launch is expected in mid-January. You can also bet sports at 19 Michigan casinos, though the Detroit ones are closed through at least next week.
Online betting won’t be in time for Wednesday’s season opener at Minnesota. But there should be plenty of chances to wager on Detroit basketball as the long-awaited rebuild takes shape.
Detroit Pistons futures odds
Odds listed below last updated 2:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 17.
|Detroit Pistons Futures||DraftKings||FanDuel||BetMGM||William Hill||PointsBet|
|Eastern Conference title||+25000||+10000||+25000||+15000||+15000|
*Note: DraftKings set win percentage totals rather than a set total win number.
Pistons glory days seem like a distant memory
Younger fans might not know this, but the Pistons are one of the league’s most successful non-coastal franchises in history.
The team has two championship eras, starting with the Bad Boys which ruled the league with back-to-back championships until Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls broke through in 1991.
Then, famously without a superstar and still no Hall of Fame players, the Going to Work-era Pistons won the 2004 championship and advanced to six straight conference finals during their run.
Those days are well in the past.
Detroit has not won a playoff game since 2008 and has a current 14-game playoff losing streak, by far the longest in the NBA.
Weaver was brought to Detroit this offseason from Oklahoma City, one of the most well-regarded front offices in the league.
Troy Weaver drastically re-made roster in short order
The Pistons went 20-46 last season and were not close to qualifying for the league’s Orlando bubble under coach Dwane Casey.
Still, the expectations were fairly tempered for big changes this offseason.
The thinking was Detroit would add the No. 7 pick to its modest young core, which included Bruce Brown, Sekou Doumbouya, and Luke Kennard.
The team could deal Derrick Rose, wait out the end of the contract of star Blake Griffin, and make moves around the margins, with the free agency of Christian Wood the only huge decision this offseason.
Weaver had other ideas.
The first-time GM took a machete to the roster, dealing Brown and Kennard for more draft picks, getting players with an infusion of old-school Pistons DNA, and unloading Wood in a sign and trade.
Most surprisingly, Weaver used cap space to sign Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee away from Denver for a combined $85 million over three seasons.
It was shocking, and it was bold.
Was it smart? Time will tell.
Oddsmakers believe Pistons will still be in the NBA Draft lottery
The moves Weaver made can’t be fairly judged on this season alone. But unlike many modern front-office executives who put off big decisions for as long as possible, you have to admire the way Weaver put his reputation on the line so quickly.
Regardless, the Pistons are almost assuredly still a lottery team, with a better chance to pick first in next year’s NBA Draft than make the 2021 playoffs.
However, the expanded playoff format could give a glimmer of hope to those fans who want to see competitive basketball all season. Now, the seventh through 10th place teams in each conference qualify for a play-in tournament, expanding the field.
The Pistons have +360 odds to qualify for the play-in tournament, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Pistons with a +800 chance of making the playoff field (after the play-in tournament) and a much more likely -1430 odds to miss the field.
Any chance for a Cinderella Pistons’ run? It’s… a longshot
The Pistons are one of the longest shots on the board for the league’s bigger prizes, and for good reason.
For things to go well in the win-loss column, Rose and Griffin need to stay healthy, role players like Grant and Plumlee need to step up big, and rookies like Killian Hayes need to shine right away.
PointsBet Sportsbook has the Pistons as a +40000 shot to win the NBA title, tied with New York and Charlotte for the third-longest odds on the board. Cleveland and Oklahoma City are tied as the longest shots at +50000.
The +40000 title odds are the same at William Hill Sportsbook, with similarly long +15000 odds to win the Eastern Conference. That’s tied for the longest with Cleveland, New York, and Charlotte.
Win totals: What will the Detroit Pistons’ record look like?
DraftKings has set regular-season winning percentage over/unders for each NBA team, pegging the Pistons at 32.5%. The bet is graded only if at least 60 games are played and doesn’t include the play-in games.
If Detroit plays all 72 games that are planned for this season, that means a 23-49 season would be under, while 24-48 hits the over.
FanDuel has the more conventional over/under wins bet, stipulating that at least 70 games have to be played for the bet to grade. Detroit’s win total is set at 23.5.
Only Cleveland (22.5), New York (21.5), and Oklahoma City (20.5) have lower over/unders.
You can see why fans Pistons fans will keep an eye this season on some of next year’s top draft prospects, including Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State, Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga, and Evan Mobley of USC.
For now, tipoff is approaching. And we might as well settle in for another Detroit Pistons work-in-progress season.