The Detroit Pistons were once a proud and historic franchise that teams hated playing against. You had the Bad Boys Pistons led by Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn, and John Salley who struck over fear into opponents with their physical defense. And then there was the 2000’s iteration of the Pistons that rostered Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace, which was just as elite defensively and had the swagger and confidence to match it.
Over the last decade, however, the franchise has become a mainstay at the bottom of the standings due to lackluster drafting, free agency flops, and an overall inability to have a plan and stick to it. And it’s been no different this season.
In fact, the 23-24 campaign thus far might be a new low, even for a Pistons team that has had a lot of lows lately. After last night’s 133-107 drubbing at the hands of the Lakers, the Pistons consecutive-loss streak is at 15, which is a new franchise record. To put things in perspective, the Pistons (2-16) have won just nine games this calendar year, which are fewer than the 10 games the Detroit Lions of the NFL have won this calendar year.
Now, as a Knicks fan who endured some historically horrendous times, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t feel at least a tiny bit of sympathy. We all know just how bleak it can be going through an 82 game season where you have almost no hope of having even a .500 record. Every game feels like Groundhog’s day, a deja vu of embarrassment and frustration, flip flopping between 30-point blowouts and close losses.
Thankfully for all of us though, those days are behind us and the Knicks have become a really solid team. They're by no means an elite team or a true contender at the moment but gone are the days of loathing game nights and competing for the worst record in the league.
New York comes in boasting a 10-7 record after a 115-91 victory over the Hornets and it would be 9-3 in their last 12 games if they can come away with another victory tonight. That being said, I’d be lying if I said that the team is as good or as convincing as their record indicates. Julius Randle is coming off of a monstrous 25-point, 20-rebound performance, but has been incredibly unpredictable this season. RJ Barrett has yet to regain his early season form and has struggled from the field over his last few games. Quentin Grimes’ season as a whole has been disappointing. Josh Hart, outside of his most recent game, has looked out of sorts with his new role. And Donte DiVincenzo hasn’t had the offensive impact many were hoping and expecting. On top of all of that, they still struggle to defeat great teams.
Now, the team can’t do anything about that last part tonight. They can only play who is on the schedule and their opponent tonight is as far from great as you can be. What they can do though, is continuing to prove that they can beat worse opponents and do so without dropping to their level. Seeing another dominant performance from Randle or Jalen Bunson, along with the usual 15+ points from Immanuel Quickley, while Barrett, Hart, Grimes, and DiVincenzo continue to get some rhythm, would give fans some more assurance going forward.
- Cade Cunningham G
- Jaden Ivey G
- Ausar Thompson F
- Isaiah Stewart F
- Jalen Duren C
New York Knicks
- Jalen Brunson G
- Quentin Grimes G
- RJ Barrett F
- Julius Randle F
- Mitchell Robinson C
The Pistons, as bad as they may be, could be a fun watch tonight. They have Cade Cunningham, who looks like a star in the making, and the rest of the roster has some interesting ties with the Knicks. They roster former Knicks, Alec Burks and Kevin Knox, have Jalen Duren, who the Knicks traded, and Jaden Ivey, and Killian Hayes, both of whom the Knicks were reportedly interesting in drafting. And potentially making his season debut is Bojan Bogdanovic, who has been floated around as a potential trade target for New York. Watching the young talent and the former Knicks return to the Garden should be fun. But that is only if the Knicks take care of business like they are supposed to.
Detroit is in the midst of a historic losing streak, is on the second half of a back-to-back, and are on the road, which means New York should win easily. But that also means that this is the perfect trap game. We’ve seen this Knicks team struggle to come out focused and energized against teams they should dominate more often than we’d like, and it would admittedly be the most Knicks thing ever to lose to a Pistons team in the midst of the worst losing streak in the franchise’s history. That being said, the Knicks are still overwhelming favorites. They are way too talented and deep to lose to this Pistons team, and while it may not be prefect or pretty, the Knicks should win easily.
I expect Brunson to come out more as a facilitator like he did last game and to try getting Randle, who scored 42 points the last time he faced off against the Pistons, going. I’m predicting a big game from him, with Quickley and Hart having strong games off the bench again. Knicks win big, 125-105, and hand the Pistons, who owe their 2024 second round pick to the Knicks, their 16th straight loss.
Who: New York Knicks vs Detroit Pistons
When: 7:30 pm EST, Thursday, Nov. 30
Where: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC
Watch: MSG Network, Bally Sports Detroit, NBALP