Final: Pistons clinch worst record in franchise history with loss to Bulls

Detroit Bad Boys

If the Detroit Pistons really wanted to treat their fans to something special on Fan Appreciation Night, they should have let people in for free.

After all, it’s not like the product on the court was worth the price of admission.

With the Chicago Bulls, the most middling of middling teams in the NBA, in town, the leftovers of the Pistons closed out the home portion of their schedule like only they could.

They turned it over a million times (20 times leading to a season-worst 36 points) and they played zero defense (maybe accurate) as Demar DeRozan (39 points) and the Bulls cruised to a sweat-free win, 127-105, on Thursday.

The loss assured Troy Weaver’s Pistons the worst record in franchise history.

I’m not gonna sit here and rehash the game quarter by quarter and play by play. It was the same story as any other game in recent weeks without Cade Cunningham on the floor.

The Pistons’ core guys — Jaden Ivey, Marcus Sasser and Jalen Duren — looked like young dudes who needed help, badly, and the help — guys like Malachi Flynn, Troy Brown Jr. and Evan Fournier — looked like they’d be more helpful working at your local LA Fitness than playing minutes in the NBA.

That’s what sucks about sucking: what actually matters?

When we watch these games, what should we be watching for?

I’d like Duren to play some defense, but that wasn’t the case tonight. Nikola Vucevic had his way with 26 points and Javonte Green had, god, I lost count, but WAYYYYY too many unadulterated dunks and layups. It was a very empty 20 points and 11 rebounds.

As much as I love what Duren can bring to the table — especially on the nights where he really has it working on both ends — the lack of consistent impact on the defensive end of the court is what keeps my wandering eye on Alexandre Sarr in the NBA Draft.

I’d like Ivey to show us what he is. He’s not a pure scoring guard. He’s not a pure point guard. He’s regressed into a negative on defense and, luckily, his 3-point shooting has perked back up. I just don’t know what he does. I know the parts, but I don’t think the sum of them is any good, yet.

Tonight, with literally no one else to keep him from taking control for the Pistons, he had a quiet 16 points and 6 assists. I don’t understand how he doesn’t take this opportunity with Cade out to dominate the ball. I don’t get how Monty Williams doesn’t put him in that position, but I’m also not sure Monty knows what’s going on during these games.

Blame goes both ways, but it feels like a real missed opportunity after Dwane Casey forced big responsibilities down Ivey’s throat at the end of last year — and, by April, to pretty good success.

A lot of people (myself included) get frustrated with Ivey, but the reason you don’t give up easily on a guy like that is because of the jump dudes like Coby White make. Even after an up and down start to a career, a big jump can happen over one off-season.

White was solid tonight (18 points) and he’s gone from barely-a-rotation-player to Most Improved Player in the league, even though he won’t win the actual award due to how political that honor is.

The last guy who matters here is Sasser. I’d like him to play like this when the team is healthy. Sasser has proven to be a guy who, when given volume and opportunity, can put up numbers. When he’s in a complementary role, his impact is limited greatly.

With 20 points and 5 assists tonight, he showed what he’s capable of… I just wish it didn’t require starting and, in some ways, marginalizing Ivey’s role to do it.

I’d love to be optimistic about something with this team as we play out the final two games, but they make it really really really hard. The fact that they clinched the worst record in franchise history at home on “Fan Appreciation” night gives me some sick pleasure.

I don’t wish bad things on this team or franchise because I truly do love the Detroit Pistons, but this season has shown us all that love hurts. And that’s saying something as a Pistons fan.

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