Pistons enter crucial offseason with top chance at generational star
The Pistons (17-65) ended the 2022-23 season as one of three teams with the best odds in the 2023 NBA lottery (14%) — which could give them the No. 1 overall pick in the most consequential draft in years.
Why it matters: Victor Wembanyama, perhaps the most exciting prospect since LeBron James, is expected to make an immediate impact for whichever team gets the top pick.
- Other projected stars include Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller and twins Amen and Ausar Thompson.
- Regardless of their lottery luck, the Pistons need to show something — anything — next year to legitimize the last three rebuilding seasons under general manager Troy Weaver.
Catch up quick: Detroit's season was again stifled by injuries — Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Stewart, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks all played less than 60 games.
- In just 12 games, face of the franchise Cade Cunningham averaged almost 20 points per game while shooting 41.5% from the field before being shut down for the season to recover from shin surgery.
The latest: Weaver gets a chance to hire his first coach since taking over in 2020 after Dwane Casey announced Sunday that he'd be stepping down for a role in the front office.
- Casey tallied a regular-season record of 121-263 (.315) in five seasons, including a playoff appearance in 2019.
What they're saying: "I couldn't have asked for anything more, and I'm very proud of Dwane and our players," owner Tom Gores said in a statement. "The young men he has been teaching and guiding are very fortunate to have had his leadership and direction."
What we're watching: While the team will need luck to nab a coveted prospect, Detroit can't afford to hire the wrong head coach. Candidates include:
- Former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, a finalist during the last Pistons coaching search.
- Vanderbilt's Jerry Stackhouse, a former Piston.
- Plus Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, Heat assistant Chris Quinn and others, ESPN reports.
What's next: This offseason could make or break the direction of the franchise into the next decade.
- Even if the Pistons get the 5th overall pick, the worst position they can land in the lottery, they'll still have around $25 million in cap space to build the roster.
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