Detroit Pistons secure second-best odds in NBA draft lottery with loss
Despite their 20-52 record, the 2020-21 season was unforgettable for the Detroit Pistons. All four drafts for 2020 – Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Saben Lee – showed promising results. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, Detroit’s two offseason splashes in the free agency, delivered the best seasons of their careers. Some of the newcomers, particularly Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson, also had a strong season and positioned themselves well in the restricted free agency this summer.
The season ended in an undramatic fashion on Sunday, and now all eyes are on the NBA draft lottery. The Pistons fell to the Miami Heat (120-107), securing the NBA’s second worst record and second best draft lottery odds. This means they have a strong shot at their highest draft pick since picking Darko Milicic No. 2 in 2003, in a draft that is talented at the top.
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Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 22 points, hitting four 3-point points, earning him an NBA rookie high of 175 that season. Josh Jackson added 17 points from the bench and Hamidou Diallo scored 15 points and took five rebounds. The precious Achiuwa led the heat, which was without Jimmy Butler, with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Pistons secure second best lottery chances
The biggest interest for most fans on Sunday was certainly the lottery placement. It took the Pistons a loss to secure second-best chance, and that is exactly what they did. It gives them an 80% chance of getting into the top 5 and a 52.1% chance of a top 4 pick.
A # 1 overall rating would of course be the best result, and the pistons have a 14% chance of achieving that. The Houston Rockets, worst at 17-55, and the Orlando Magic, 21-51 and No. 3, also have a 14% shot at the No. 1. Oklahoma state star Cade Cunningham is widely considered to be the best perspective in design and would be the most talented selection of pistons since Grant Hill in 1994.
But any choice among the top four would be a huge asset to the organization. Great USC man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, and G League Ignite wing Jalen Green all have star potential and would give Detroit’s youth movement a huge talent boost.
The NBA Draft Lottery takes place on June 22nd. The pistons can’t fall further than sixth in the draft, and that’s only a 20% chance, with a 27.8% chance of falling to fifth.
Cold first quarter doomed flask
Remove the opening phase and Sunday’s game would have ended. The Pistons had one of their worst opening quarters of the season, scooping just 13 points in 4v18 shooting. (Only her 13 points in the 4v20 shootout in the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 13th were worse this season.)
The heat, on the other hand, started the night strong. They led with 19 points after the first and hit 13 of 19 attempts. The deficit rose to 22 at the beginning of the second quarter when Max Strus hit a 3-pointer at 11:30 a.m.
Detroit looked much sharper in the second quarter, taking seven of its first eight shots to bring the deficit down to 14. However, they were unable to maintain momentum and dropped 25 points at halftime.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ omarisankofa. Read more about the Detroit Pistons and subscribe to our Pistons newsletter.