Detroit Pistons Match Historic Losing Streak with 26-Game Skid

Estimated read time 5 min read

The Detroit Pistons have equaled the NBA’s longest single season losing streak with 26 consecutive losses.

Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44), point guard Cade Cunningham (2), and center Isaiah Stewart look dejected on the bench in a loss against the Brooklyn Nets which extended their losing streak. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The Pistons (2-27) have a chance to set a new NBA record for the longest in-season losing streak when they host the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

The Nets (14-15) held off the Pistons on Saturday in Brooklyn, 126-115, and denied them a chance to get off the schneid. The two teams meet again Tuesday, with the Pistons seeking to avenge that loss.

The Pistons hired Monty Williams in the off-season and made him one of the richest coaches in professional sports. Williams signed a six-year deal worth $78.5 million, and he’s earning approximately $13 million this season.

Williams, a former first-round pick from the New York Knicks, played 10 seasons in the NBA before becoming a coach. He earned a reputation as a “players’ coach,” and relates well to young players, which is why the Pistons made him the highest-paid coach in the NBA.

During his last three seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Williams had a .675 winning percentage and he won the NBA Coach of the Year in 2022. In 29 games with the Pistons, Williams has a winning percentage of .069.

Pistons Join 76ers and Cavs

The Pistons matched the Philadelphia 76ers (2013-14) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-11) for the longest in-season skid in NBA history. This horrendous streak needs to be put into perspective, so let’s take a quick glimpse at those other losing squads.

LeBron James left Cleveland after the 2009-10 season to join the Miami Heat in free agency. James was the top player in the NBA at the time and on his way to becoming the NBA’s greatest scorer. The Cavs embarked on a 26-game skid without James.

When the 76ers dropped 26 games in a row a decade ago, they were at the start of the controversial tactic called “The Process.” They assembled a terrible team on purpose for the sole intent of tanking, and wanted to lose as many games as possible to increase their chances of landing the #1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. They eventually drafted center Joel Embiid with the top pick, and he won the MVP last season.

The 76ers also hold the record for the longest losing streak in NBA history, with 28 consecutive losses spanning two seasons. Their historic skid began at the end of the 2014-15 season and continued through the start of the 2015-16 season. The Pistons have that 28-game losing record within sight.

The Pistons are currently in the fourth season of a rebuild, which is why this losing streak is troublesome for the players, the coaching staff, the front office, and the fan base.

Resilient Pistons Still Fighting

The Pistons began this season at 2-1, but haven’t won a game since late October. They were winless in November (0-15), and failed to win a game in December (0-10).

Everybody feels down when you lose,” said Williams. “When you’ve lost this many in a row, the way they come back the next day is something that I’m blown away by. Not many teams have that type of resilience. Our guys don’t want to be part of any kind of losing, or streak, or whatever. Every day they come back with focus, drive and grit to try and win a game.”

Die-hard fans continue to support the Pistons and attend games in-person. But the vibe got surly during their last home game. In a 119-111 loss against the Utah Jazz, frustrated fans chanted directly at team owner Tom Gores. “Sell the team! Sell the team!” echoed around the arena. The chant was loud enough to be heard on the TV broadcast.

“We have an incredible city still backing us, and I know some of them are mad at me,” said Gores in an interview with The Athletic. “I don’t blame them. It’s a great city with enthusiastic, caring fans. We’re connected to the community. But we’re just not winning.”

Cade Cunningham, the #1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, leads the Pitons with 22.4 points, 7.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. Cunningham has been trying to stay upbeat through the skid.

“We have to keep fighting,” said Cunningham. “Everyone hates losing.”

Keep Fading the Pistons?

The Pistons are 1-13 on their home court this season, and they host the Nets on Tuesday night. The Nets are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Pistons are a +6.5 home underdog, and the point spread suggests that their losing streak will continue. Six out of nine of their last losses were decided by 10 or more points.

Since the beginning of their losing streak, the Pistons were a favorite in three games and listed as an underdog in 23 games.

The Nets are 18-10-1 against the point spread this season. The Pistons are the second-worst betting team in the NBA this season at 9-19-1 ATS. Over their last 10 games, the Pistons are 1-9 ATS.

If you started with $100, bet on every Detroit opponent money line and rolled it over, you’d now be up over $343,000 during the streak,” tweeted Ben Fawkes.

Oddsmakers didn’t have much faith in the Pistons before the 2023-24 season began, giving them a projected win total of 27.5 over/under, which was the second-lowest on DraftKings’ NBA preseason prop bets.

The Pistons have been chasing an elusive third win of the season for over two months. They now have a projected win total of 9.5 over/under.

The 76ers hold the distinction as the worst team in NBA history. The 1972-73 team posted 73 losses and won only nine games that season.

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