In the next couple of months the fall and winter Detroit sports teams will be commencing their seasons in an attempt to cleanse our palates from this repugnant Detroit Tigers summer.
And while I personally have disowned the Lions, I am sure most of you people are looking forward to the NFL season starting in order to see what kind of team the Lions will field. And as pessimistic as I am about the Lions based on past performance, there is no question there are some indicators that can get the pulse racing.
They still have one of the best quarterbacks in the game and the development of rookies Jarrad Davis and Kenny Golladay is probably worth the price of admission alone. This is a team (with all its warts) that has made the postseason two of the last three seasons. And hey, if nothing else, you could rely on the law of averages.
The fact the organization hasn’t won a title in 60 years, a playoff game in 26 seasons or a divisional title since 1993 is basically the equivalent of red coming up on the roulette wheel 50 times in a row. Hell, even I’d bet on black on the next spin knowing full well that each roll is independent of the previous one.
(By the way, I was at Red Ox Tavern over the weekend and that bar trivia game was on one of their TVs. One of the questions asked was this …. how many times have the Lions won a divisional title since they entered the league in 1930? The answer is FOUR. In 87 years. Jesus Fucking Christ. The Tigers have won four divisional titles THIS decade. The Wings did it SIX times during the 90s. There might be no greater indictment of the Lions organization than this.)
And even the Wings — as depressing as they currently happen to be — have SOMETHING for fans to look forward to in 2017-18. It will be nice to see Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha get full-time work from day one and, at the very least, if the team is terrible we can hope this will be the end of Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill.
Which brings us to the Pistons. I can’t remember a recent Detroit sports organization that has engendered more disinterest or apathy. Other than a few lunatics on Twitter, does anyone give a damn about this team? Seriously, if Tom Gores announced tomorrow that the franchise was moving to Las Vegas, I think the news would be met by many with a shrug.
They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008!!! They’ve only qualified for the postseason once in the last eight seasons in a pathetic conference where it’s about as difficult to make the postseason as it is to obtain a Walgreens rewards card. And they’ve been in a purgatory this decade where they’ve constantly won JUST ENOUGH meaningless games to enter the draft lottery with no realistic chance at a top three pick.
In fact, even with all of the losing and postseason misses, the Pistons haven’t selected higher than SEVENTH during this horrendous era. Hell, the damn highlight in this decade of DEEEEEEEEEEEEE-troit Basketball is Stan Van Gundy attacking Donald Trump voters the day after the election. And while you might be giggling to yourself right now, I am not making a joke.
The team’s TV ratings on Fox Sports Detroit are in the tank. I’ve been told by a source that Gores is PAYING 97.1 The Ticket to air their games after there was zero demand or interest for their radio rights. Finally, Platinum Equity had to abandon a perfectly functional building in Oakland County …. one that Gores put $40 million in capital improvements in just a few years ago …. to move downtown in the desperate hope that Little Caesars Arena will resurrect interest in his moribund franchise.
And this past offseason was another disaster in public relations for the Pistons. Drafting a white dude from DUKE and basically swapping Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Avery Bradley didn’t exactly excite folks who have given up on the team. After trade deadline discussion and offseason rumors that mental midget Andre Drummond would be traded or Reggie Jackson dealt, nothing earth-shattering occurred.
But even as Labor Day is around the corner, Gores and SVG could STILL do something to invigorate the fanbase. Everyone is aware that Kyrie Irving has demanded a trade from the Dan Gilbert-owned Cavaliers and there hasn’t been much movement on that front since it leaked on July 24th that the point guard wanted out of Cleveland.
There has been some speculation of a potential Drummond, Jackson and Stanley Johnson deal for Irving and Tristan Thompson. Now, I am not here to guarantee that this would be a great trade for Detroit and would lead to Eastern Conference Finals contention. I have no earthly clue. And I really don’t care.
I also don’t give a shit that Irving only has two years left on his deal and could very easily walk away from the Pistons in a couple of seasons. If anything, this would be addition by subtraction (Drummond) with the added bonus of obtaining one of the most dynamic players in the league. We aren’t talking about blowing up a title contender by completing this trade. The Pistons won 37 games last season when many predicted they could actually win a couple of playoff rounds.
I cannot invest in an organization that continues to employ a lazy moron who “earns” $23 million a year and who can’t be bothered to attempt underhanded free-throws, give max effort or even have timely surgery when physicians and team management tell him it is necessary.
And I am not going to get into another diatribe about Drummond’s free-throw shooting, but imagine being the WORST at a task in the HISTORY of your profession and refusing your boss’ request to attempt a different approach. Just look at how bad Drummond was in 2016-17 in comparison to even the next worst FT shooter, DeAndre Jordan.
And it’s not just the free-throw shooting itself. If Drummond attempted the Rick Barry approach and accepted that legend’s tutelage, I’d never write another word about his horrendous percentage. Even if he continued to stink.
It’s the fact that he won’t even ATTEMPT to fix this humungous issue that continues to hurt his team and keeps him anchored on the bench during crunch time.
That’s why I want Drummond gone at all costs. He doesn’t care about winning. If he did, he wouldn’t be worried that his pals would mock him for shooting “granny style” and he would have undergone the deviated septum surgery when his doctors first broached the issue YEARS ago instead of waiting until the problem became more pronounced.
There was a reason that Drummond fell to the ninth selection in his draft year. It was his immaturity issues, which have not improved ONE IOTA. Nobody doubted his talent, but teams were scared off by his personality.
So what’s the risk in packaging the 7-foot child with Jackson and the disappointing Johnson for Irving? At the very least, the team would become somewhat interesting with a backcourt of Bradley and Kyrie. For however long that pairing lasted.
And if they both left town over the next couple of seasons, maybe the team would finally hit rock bottom and obtain that elusive top three pick. This franchise needs an injection of excitement more than anything right now and Irving would do that trick.
Maybe the next time Gores and Gilbert discuss plans for either the 13-acre Wayne County jail site or bringing an MLS franchise to Downtown Detroit they can close THIS deal. And while acquiring Irving won’t — unfortunately — piss off a bunch of nut job fans of Detroit City FC and might not solve everyone’s problem ….
…. at least it would take care of mine. And as always, that’s the most important thing here.
(You can follow Moss on Twitter @JeffMossDSR. You can discuss this article on Facebook by clicking here. You can also go fuck yourself if you’d like. Totally up to you.)