Detroit Pistons: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
Founded in 1941, the Detroit Pistons were originally known as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons for eight seasons, then as the Fort Wayne Pistons for nine years as the team joined the newly formed NBA. During that span the Pistons blew a large lead to the Syracuse Nationals as they lost Game 7 of the 1955 NBA Finals, then returned the next season only to fall in five games to the Philadelphia Warriors.
In 1957, the team moved to the larger market of Detroit and they made the playoffs in six consecutive seasons. However, if you had bet on the Detroit Pistons to beat the Hawks or the Lakers in the playoffs in any of those seasons you would have lost, they were knocked out by that duo all six seasons. The Detroit Pistons odds as contenders would decrease as they missed the next four postseasons, though things perked up in the 1966-67 season when Dave Bing joined the team and was named Rookie of the Year after averaging 20 points per game.
After returning to the 1968 playoffs, the Pistons managed to miss the postseason five consecutive times, from 1969 through 1973. By that point Bing was joined by fellow future Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, and the duo restored the Detroit Pistons odds of ever winning a title, winning 52 games in 1973-74 and bringing them to the playoffs each year from 1974 through 1977, but a bet on the Detroit Pistons to make the conference finals would have failed all four times.
With their stars old and retiring, the Pistons hit a low point in 1979-80, their first season in the Eastern conference, as they went 16-66. Had you bet on the Detroit Pistons in any of their final seven games that season, or their first fourteen games of the next season, you would have lost all of them, as Detroit lost 21 straight games.
However, the Detroit Pistons odds changed forever during the 1981 NBA draft when they selected point guard Isiah Thomas out of Indiana. While change was not immediate, by the mid-1980’s Thomas and head coach Chuck Daly had transformed the Pistons into a perennial playoff contender. In 1987, the Bad Boys Pistons who had just drafted Dennis Rodman and John Salley to add to a roster already featuring Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, and Vinnie Johnson, made the conference finals for the first time since moving to Detroit three decades earlier. While few people bet on the Detroit Pistons top defeat the Boston Celtics, the upstart Pistons took Boston to seven games.
The following season the Pistons went 54-28 and after knocking off the Bullets and Bulls finally bested their hated rivals the Celtics, but a bet on the Detroit Pistons to finally win it all would not pay off as the Pistons blew a three games to two lead and lost in seven heartbreaking games to the Lakers.
After their brutal Finals loss the Pistons moved to their new arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills, and if you bet on the Detroit Pistons to win virtually every game that season, you would have been successful. Detroit went a franchise-record 63-19 and then swept the Celtics and Bucks, before knocking out Michael Jordan and the Bulls and then finally claiming their first ever franchise title by sweeping Magic Johnson and the Lakers. Joe Dumars was named Finals MVP.
The Detroit Pistons odds for the 1989-90 season were those of a favorite, and after going 59-23 in the regular season the team ran through the Pacers and Knicks before defeating Michael Jordan and the Bulls in seven games to make their third straight Finals. This time Pistons fans did not have to sweat as Detroit won their second straight championship, behind Isiah Thomas’s MVP performance.
That would be the peak of the Bad Boys era, as 1991 saw a sweep of Detroit by Jordan’s Bulls and coach Chuck Dalyu would resign following a first round loss to the Knicks in the 1992 playoffs. That playoff loss would start a trend, if you bet on the Detroit Pistons to win a playoff series between 1991 and 2002, you would have lost, as the team was knocked out in the first round five straight times.
As Salley and Rodman were traded and Thomas and Laimbeer retired, the mid-1990’s Pistons were led by Grant Hill, who was named 1994-95 co-NBA Rookie of the Year. Many thought Hill would bring the Detroit Pistons odds back to that of a title contender, but he struggled with injuries and his Pistons tenure ended in 2000.
Now retired, former Pistons legend Joe Dumars was tapped to run the front office,a dn Dumars got to work, acquiring Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Chauncey Billups. The Pistons won playoff series in 2002 and 2003, but became a true contender when they traded for Rasheed Wallace during the 2003-04 season.The Pistons beat the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs before outlasting the Nets in seven games, and defeating the Pacers to advance to the Finals. Some fans thought the Detroit Pistons odds to get swept by Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers looked like a good bet, but the Pistons stunned the basketball world, defeating the Lakers in five games as Chanucey Billups was named Finals MVP, as Detroit claimed their third championship.
The defensive-minded Pistons made it back to the 2005 NBA Finals, but fell in seven games to the San Antonio Spurs, losing Game 7 by the low score of 81-74, capping off a series where both teams struggled offensively.
This would begin a stretch where the Pistons made it back to the conference finals, only to lose in six games, first to the Heat, then the Cavaliers, and finally the Celtics. All told, the Pistons played in five straight Eastern conference finals.
However, the 2008 playoffs were not only their last trip to the conference finals, that year is still the last time the Pistons won a playoff series, or even a playoff game. The Pistons only made the postseason three times from 2009 through 2020 and were swept in the first round all three times. Detroit’s final loss in the 2019 playoffs broke an NBA playoff record as their 14th straight playoff game loss. A 20-46 record followed in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 NBA season as the Pistons and another last-place finish in 2021, as the Pistons still look to find their way back to relevancy.
One bright spot in the 2021 offseason was Detroit getting the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, where they selected Cade Cunningham, a guard out of Oklahoma State.
Championships: 3 (1989, 1990, 2004)
1: Chauncey Billups
2: Chuck Daly
3: Ben Wallace
4: Joe Dumars
10: Dennis Rodman
11: Isaiah Thomas
15: Vinny Johnson
16: Bob Lanier
21: Dave Bing
32: Richard Hamilton
40: Bill Laimbeer