The Detroit Pistons are picking No. 5 in next month’s NBA draft, which means only one thing.
No Victor Wembanyama.
Actually, it means more than that. A lot more. It means there’s little hope for the Pistons to be much better next season.
And it means what we all suspect: Detroit just can’t have nice things.
Even though the Pistons entered the Tuesday night’s draft lottery tied with two teams for the best odds of getting the No. 1 pick, they somehow incredibly fell to No. 5 — the farthest they could fall.
Who do I see about a recount?
So no Wembanyama, the 19-year-old generational talent from France whose height is so staggering that he’s often listed as being either 7 feet 2 or 7-4 but may be 7-5. Apparently, they haven’t gotten around to creating a tape measure long enough in France to measure him accurately.
But height is just one box — albeit a very important one — that Wembanyama checks. He has the wingspan, the shot-blocking, the dribbling, the mid-range shooting and 3-point shooting that make him an almost unbelievable marvel to behold. During ESPN’s draft lottery telecast, footage was shown of him tip-dunking on his own missed 3-pointer.
So, I’m out. I’m done. After the Pistons made us suffer through 65 losses by tanking — I mean, struggling all season long — the big reward at Tuesday night’s draft lottery was another huge loss. Maybe the NBA can redo the standings and have the decency to make the Pistons’ final record 17-66.
Some stat nerds out there have broken down the likelihood of a No. 1 pick leading the team that drafted him to a championship. Basically, it’s not likely. Really, that’s true in every sport.
But what’s also true is that the No. 1 pick, especially one that possesses what is widely considered to be generational talent, very often makes his team much better and also creates a ton excitement and hope.
And that’s nothing, especially around Detroit, a town where hope has gone to die for the better part of the last decade among our four pro teams. If you doubt that and you’ve already resigned yourself to what sleeper consolation awaits the Pistons at No. 5, pause your delusion for a moment and allow yourself to imagine — truly imagine — what you would be feeling right now if the Pistons had gotten the top pick and Wembanyama.
Stings, doesn’t it?
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As a sportswriter, I know it’s hard to garner much excitement in attending a Pistons game lately because, frankly, covering a Pistons game this season was about as tantalizing as writing an obituary 65 times.
But as a fan? It was even worse. I kicked around the idea of going to a game with friends and, well, it was just too depressing to even think about it, because buying tickets to a game was tantamount to PAYING to attend a funeral 65 times.
That wasn’t the team’s fault because it was missing its key player in Cade Cunningham, the 2021 No. 1 pick who was lost for most of the season with shin fracture.
Sure, Cunningham is expected to be fully cleared this offseason. But who’s going to be the big addition? Who’s going to help rescue the Pistons from another tortured season of trying to get a foothold out of the basement with a still-to-be-named new coach?
Yeah, we’re going to hear about some of the other top prospects like G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson or Alabama forward Brandon Miller, or maybe Overtime Elite twin guards Amen and Ausar Thompson, who might be available at No. 5.
Look, no disrespect to Henderson, Miller or the Thompson twins, but I’ve already forgotten about them since I wrote my last sentence.
They might each take their respective teams to NBA titles but, but they’re not taking my excitement level anywhere if they come to Detroit.
Contact Carlos Monarrez: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.