ESPN ‘forecast’ calls for no playoffs for Pistons

The Detroit News

All of the Pistons’ offseason moves might not be enough to get back into the playoffs, at least according to ESPN’s “Summer Forecast.”

In ESPN’s Eastern Conference forecast posted Wednesday, the Pistons are projected to finish 37-45 and tied for eighth in the conference with the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Sixers earning the final playoff spot.

What’s that, you say? ESPN put the Pistons in the playoffs just two weeks ago?

Yes, that’s true. The Worldwide Leader projected the Pistons to win 35 games, but still make the playoffs, in a story posted Aug. 3. That was based solely on ESPN’s “real plus-minus,” (we’re not sure what it is, either, but you can find out here) while Wednesday’s projections are based on the “ESPN Forecast panel,” a collection of 200-plus members “who collectively possess vast NBA experience, knowledge and perspective.”

That panel sees the Pistons as postseason outsiders for the second straight year.

“While 37 wins gets the Sixers into the playoffs in our projections, it’s not enough for the Pistons, who came in just percentage points behind Philadelphia when the numbers were crunched,” ESPN writes. “Missing the postseason would be devastating for a Detroit franchise that had high hopes when it gave total control to Stan Van Gundy in 2014 but has played in only one playoff series (with zero playoff game wins) since then.”

Van Gundy and the Pistons retooled their roster in the offseason, focusing mainly on their backcourt with the trade for Avery Bradley, letting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope walk in free agency, the signing of backup Langston Galloway, and the drafting of Luke Kennard out of Duke.

The Pistons open their season Oct. 18 against the Charlotte Hornets at brand-new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.