February 22, 2014 at 1:00 am

Terry Foster

Possible shot at playoffs means something to Pistons' Will Bynum

Auburn Hills – Pistons guard Will Bynum has played in four playoff games in his six seasons in the NBA.

They were all loses to the high-powered Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James in 2009. The Pistons made it as an eighth seed with a losing record. They were no match for the Cavaliers. They lost the four games by an average of 15.5 points. During one of those games the Cavs choked the Pistons out with 68 points.

There was really no benefit in playing those games.

The same can happen this season. The Pistons could sneak into the playoffs as an eight seed and get the honor of playing high flying Indiana or Miami. Once again the Pistons would likely get swept in four more meaningless games and go home in embarrassment.

One guy that disagrees is Bynum. That is why you see him diving for loose balls and driving the lane for game-clinching hard charging layups. It is why you often see him finishing up in place of starter Brandon Jennings the last two games.

Bynum is at least one Piston player not willing to settle. He is angry after losses because he does not like the feel of it. Bynum might not be the most talented basketball player on the planet but he gets by with Chicago street smarts and toughness.

He does not mind being an underdog because underdogs win sometimes and he is hell bent on being one of those David and Goliath stories.

Won't give up

“It would mean a lot to get into the playoffs,” Bynum said. “We have enough talent in this dressing room to make some noise and do some damage. Once you are in you never know what can happen.”

Since that playoff sweep nothing has gone right with the Pistons. It was their last playoff appearance. Since then the Pistons are 134-235 (36.3 percent) and The Palace signs have turned from Six Championship Drive to Four Lottery Drive.

It appears as if Bynum won’t get his wish of making the playoffs. The Pistons fell 3½ games behind Atlanta and Charlotte for the final playoff spots following Saturday’s 113-102 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at The Palace.

“All we can do is put forth our best effort,” said Bynum, who finished with 17 points and eight assists.

The Pistons showed some hustle but not enough muscle as they were out-rebounded 50-39. On most nights the product is so bad that there is a dirty little secret going around. Some sports bars have not shown Pistons games. And few people complain. I’ve witnessed it four times myself at different establishments and wanted to see if there were complaints.

I asked at one place to turn the game on and the bartender hit himself across the forehead and said “I forgot they were on. No one asks for them anymore.”

Making the playoffs might give the Pistons a spark in the community. It would be exciting to see LeBron James or Dwyane Wade come to town. The Pacers’ suffocating defense might be a joy to watch also.

For Bynum, it is a chance to compete against the best. He loves the competition even though it gets the better of him and the Pistons.

The Pistons began a rough stretch Saturday with four straight Western Conference teams with winning records. They are a combined 144-79. The West is sort of the varsity of the NBA and the East is the junior varsity.

The Pistons are 4-14 against the West, which means Bynum’s dream could fall further into the rear-view mirror.


Pistons' Will Bynum, here grabbing a rebound in front of the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki in the fourth quarter, holds out hope Detroit can squeeze into the playoffs as an eighth seed in the East. / Clarence Tabb Jr / Detroit News
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