The Toronto Raptors (1-5) and Detroit Pistons (1-6) are members of the dreaded one-win club after a tumultuous start to their seasons where both teams find themselves in a hole.
The Pistons were expected to be one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA, so their start isn’t as startling as is the Raptors. The Raptors weren’t considered one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference heading into this season, but they were expected to finish in the middle of the pack.
The nomadic Raptors are playing their home games in Tampa Bay this season. The Canadian government denied the Raptors permission to play their home games at Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto, and denied the constant movement of NBA teams across the border while the coronavirus rages in the lower 48.
|NBA WORST TEAMS|
- Detroit Pistons 1-6
- Toronto Raptors 1-5
- Charlotte Hornets 2-5
- Washington Wizards 2-5
But is the switch to Tampa to blame? It hasn’t helped the Raptors’ cause, but it’s just one of numerous problems plaguing the team. Two seasons ago, the Raptors were on top of the world as NBA champions. Six games into this season, the Raptors are tied for the worst record in the NBA with a 1-5 clip.
Things got bad during a game against the Boston Celtics when fans began chanting for Boston’s bench player Tacko Fall. Fall played his college ball at UCF, and he’s developed a cult following around the league. Fans want to see the 7-foot-5 bench player in action, which is reasonable. It’s also a bit preposterous when Fall plays for an opposing team.
Tampa Raptors Struggling
Despite fair-weather home fans in Tampa, the Raptors have bigger fish to fry. The points-starved Raptors are ranked fifth-worst in scoring, averaging 106 points per game. They’re lumped in with teams in rebuilding mode, including the Oklahoma City Thunder (100.5 ppg), New York Knicks (103.3 ppg), and Cleveland Cavs (104.4 ppg).
“It’s a fine line between being good and bad,” said Kyle Lowry.
“This is probably unchartered territory for most of us,” Fred VanVleet told Blake Murphy from The Athletic. “Speaking for myself, I’ve never been a part of something like this.”
Pascal Siakim’s slump continues. He looked off in the NBA restart and during the playoffs last season, and he’s yet to turn the corner in the new season. Siakim averages only 17.6 ppg, which is down over 5.3 ppg from last year’s career-high 22.9 ppg.
Nick Nurse’s squad has been desperate for reliable scorers in the fourth quarter aside from Siakim, Lowry (18.7 ppg), and VanVleet (21.8 ppg).
The Raptors have been in every game this season, and even led in all six contests, but they’ve been unable to hold the lead in the second half. The Raptors aren’t closing out games in the fourth quarter, which is why they’ve sunk to 1-5.
“Nobody’s coming to save us,” added VanVleet. “We’ve gotta do this ourselves. Probably do a little soul searching.”
The Raptors head out West for four games in six days against Phoenix, Golden State, Sacramento, and Portland.
According to the Mirage Casino and Sportsbook in Las Vegas, the Raptors are 25/1 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship.
Problems in the Big D
The Detroit Pistons have a terrible defense and are ranked #6 in the NBA in points allowed. The Pistons allow opponents to average 117.6 ppg. They have a mid-level offense, but their veterans are struggling, which is why the Pistons are one of the bottom feeders in the NBA.
The Pistons made some head-shaking deals in the offseason, including trading Luke Kennard to the LA Clippers. They also let Christian Wood bounce in free agency. As bad as the Houston Rockets have been playing, Wood has been one of their bright spots.
But instead of talking about who’s not in the Big D, let’s look at the veterans who are off to a sluggish start, with Derrick Rose averaging only 16.2 ppg and Blake Griffin posting a paltry 15.5 ppg. The injury-riddled Griffin appeared in only four out of seven games thus far.
The Pistons imploded against the Boston Celtics over the weekend in a game they let slip away in the second half. Griffin and Rose combined for 8-for-26 from the floor, including 0-for-7 shooting late in the fourth quarter. That’s a pivotal moment in a game when your top stars are supposed to step up and make clutch baskets. Rose and Griffin have been the opposite of clutch this season.
Jerami Grant (23 ppg, 5.4 rebounds) and Josh Jackson (15.5 ppg, 4.5 rebounds) are new arrivals in Detroit. Both forwards are carrying the team right now.
Detroit’s first-round draft pick, Killian Hayes, started all seven games but he’s yet to find his groove, averaging only 4.6 points in 21 minutes per game.
Last night, the Pistons allowed the Greek Freak to score a season-high 43 points in a 10-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.