The Detroit Pistons have a new head coach and a few new pieces this offseason. Will any of it make a difference?
In terms of the win column, ESPN says no, not much.
The Worldwide Leader offered up win projections Friday for all of the NBA teams (pay site). The good news for the Pistons is they're pegged for the playoffs with the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. The not-so-great news: At 39.4 projected wins, that pretty much matches last season's 39-43 record.
That's a little less than four victories behind the Washington Wizards, who ESPN slots at No. 7 in the East, and just 1.1 more than the projected No. 9 seed Charlotte Hornets. The Toronto Raptors top the conference with 55.1 projected victories.
"After the Wizards, there's a big step down to the next tier of teams hoping to replace the Cavaliers in the playoffs," Kevin Pelton of ESPN writes. "Detroit is at the front of that line despite a projection largely unchanged from last year's 39-43 finish."
ESPN's projections appear mostly based on its "real plus-minus" and something called the "SCHOENE projection system," devised by Pelton.
Detroit didn't expect to be a major player in free agency, with little wlggle room under the salary cap, and it wasn't. But, the Pistons did sign several complementary players led by former Michigan star Glenn Robinson III, and added two potential rookies in the second round of the NBA draft in Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown.
A year ago, ESPN projected the Pistons to finish the 2017-18 season with 36.1 victories and a playoff spot. The Pistons fell short in both categories.