The Most Boring Playoff Teams, And If They'll Be More Fun Next Year
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
If you asked me to list my top 50 vacation destinations, I could guarantee you that neither Orlando nor Detroit would appear anywhere. Honestly, even if you asked me to list my top 150, I’d probably avoid connecting flights to Orlando just to avoid seeing grown men in fanny packs and Mickey Mouse ears. But maybe that’s because I hated the last Star Wars movie. But in the playoffs, you don’t get to pick where you play, and both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors (Bucks in Detroit, Raptors in Orlando) are kicking off their postseasons in two of the towns with the least interested fan bases, and are predictably steamrolling the NBA teams forced to live there. This year feels different, with the East boasting the two best records in the Association (Milwaukee first, Toronto second), and an open lane to the finals after the departure of King You-Know-Who. The talent pool in the conference is top heavy, however, and the bottom of the playoff bracket hosts teams as forgettable as season eight of “The Office”. Both the Pistons and the Magic are somewhere near the bottom in both attendance and viewership, and I dare you to name three starters on either team. But they made the playoffs! Can it be that bad? Maybe. Let’s peep the outlook for both teams, starting with the one below the Mason-Dixon:
Orlando (Do You Believe In?) Magic:
Both Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic are unrestricted free agents. No bueno for a team that has never been discussed among the top summer destinations for the game’s elite. We’ll see if Orlando throws the bag at their all-star Vucevic, but you can bet there’ll be competition in an open market. Ross’s numbers broke out like one of his high flying dunks, but the team needs his flash just as much as his productivity to help the Magic compete with Magic Kingdom as a tourist attraction. Are there any die-hard Magic fans? I’ve never met one.
There are a couple young guys on this team I really like. Jonathan Isaac (go ‘Noles) is one lanky SOB but has the potential to defend all five positions - if he bulks up. At this point, he seems like a less physically developed Paskal Siakam, who he’s been [trying to] defend all series. He’s flashed some of his offensive arsenal as the season progressed, which is good news for a guy who was so nervous before his first NBA game that he forgot to wear a jersey.
We’re not gonna talk about Markelle Fultz.
Outlook/Suggestions: Play Fultz to get some media attention, and resign free agents. Disney’s Wide World of Sports gets more traction in Orlando than the pros do, so that should say enough. More fun - if they get guys back.
Detroit (Fistin’) Pistons:
I actually like this team’s future. They have former Coach of The Year (still can’t believe he got canned) Dwayne Casey on the bench, and near superstar talent in Blake Griffin. Andre Drummond is still only 25, and looks like he’ll be somewhere near the top of the league leaders in rebounds for another decade. Beyond these two guys, there’s a couple players on the roster that I think could blossom into reliable starters:
Luke Kennard: Three-point shooting. Three-point shooting. Three-point shooting. 22 years old, 40% from deep.
I lied. There’s only one guy on this roster that I like outside the big boys down low. Everyone else is trade-able and should be considered as a salary dump/trade bait. I like their future, but it’s going to take a couple years. There’s not enough firepower on this team, especially at the guard/wing positions where you need it most to win in this league. Less fun.
Who will be better three years from now? That remains to be seen. It’s doubtful either team will attract a large free agent in the off-season, now or in the near future, so most of the success they’ll see will be from trades and developing the young guys. I like the Magic’s roster better in its entirety and potential, and could see them developing a culture much like the Pacer’s have now. Who wins in a hypothetical seven game series between the Pistons/Magic... ? Magic in 6.