It was hard to imagine a world in which the Detroit Pistons’ start to the season got any worse.
Then Isaiah Stewart injured his toe against the Raptors on Monday.
With the team’s best defender and rebounder on the shelf for the next month, it’s not going to be easy for the Pistons to right their already-tilting ship. Making matters worse, though, is what’s on tap over the next two weeks — the dreaded west-coast swing.
Bad teams have bad records. Bad teams almost always have terrible road records. But the Pistons, a bad team, have been horrible on these kinds of west-coast trips. If you look back at the past five seasons, when the Pistons play 4 or more games out west, they’re 4-18.
Detroit — 0-7 on the road this season — will play its next six games away from Little Caesars Arena, starting Thursday in LA when they face the Clippers, aka the “I Survived The Detroit Pistons” alumni team. Then, it’s a game against the how-bad-can-things-possibly-get Lakers and one against their west-coast doppelgänger, the always-rebuilding Kings.
The optimist in me wants to say that a healthy Pistons team could win two of those.
The realist in me knows this is far from that.
Sans Stewart, and Cade Cunningham for the time being, that looks like it might be a good week to catch up on sleep rather than tune into a pair of 10:30 p.m. star times.
Don’t worry, though, it gets worse.
Detroit heads from Cali to Colorado for a game against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, then over to Utah to face a Jazz team that is shocking the NBA world with its 10-6 start to the season before wrapping the trip in Phoenix against the Suns who, even without the injured Chris Paul, should hammer whatever is left of the Pistons by then.
This feels like a 1-5 or 0-6 road trip, which would drop the Pistons to either 3-18 or 4-17. That puts them firmly on track to match (or exceed) what they did through 21 games last season, when they sat at 4-17.
So, as much as I’d like to say things are going to get better and that enjoyable basketball might be on the horizon, it’s probably not… unless, of course, you’re #WeepingForWemby.