The Cleveland Cavaliers Rebuild Racing Past the Detroit Pistons’
As the Cavs roll into town, there’s one question on my mind: Can the Detroit Pistons have similar rebuild success as the Cleveland Cavaliers?
The Cavs enter the game as one of the best in the East led by Donovan Mitchell’s 31 points and 7 assist per game. His addition in the off-season has seemed to solidify the teams rise from a season ago.
Cade Cunningham comes into the game averaging nearly 22 ppg to go with 6 assist and 6 rebounds in his sophomore campaign. Despite the Pistons starting out rough start, Cunningham has been a bright spot.
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (6-1) @ Detroit Pistons (2-7) (Regular Season)
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
When/Watch: Friday, 7 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Detroit
Before the season we speculated on Woodward Pistons how close the Pistons are to having a jump like the Cavs.
The 6-1 Cavs now seen as a top eastern conference team, finished the 2019-20 season with a worse record than the Pistons.
After another abysmal year in 2020-21 (22-50 record) the Cavs made a series of trades and draft picks to take an unprecedented leap. They won 20 more games than the year prior to finish 44-38, good enough for 6th in the East.
The Pistons are technically a year behind when the Cavs rebuild started, which should give fans reasons to be optimistic.
Looking at the Cavs closer you realize their rebuild began a few years before the Jarret Allen trade in 2021, or the Evan Mobley draft pick the following off season.
It started with the drafts 2-3 years before which saw the Cavaliers select Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. So for most of the Cavs rebuild, a lot of losses piled up, a lot of fans complained,but Koby Altman continued building his vision.
It shows that progress in a rebuild may not always show up in the win column, right away.
Even after acquiring Allen, the Cavs didn’t see the jump in wins expected. The style of play given the roster makeup looked nothing like the team of today. Since, they added Evan Mobley through the draft and traded for Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was acquired via trade in exchange for Collin Sexton. It was viewed as a shrewd move given Sexton was considered a part of the core.
Now Cavs president of basketball operations, Altman helped engineer a rebuild in a similar way Troy Weaver is attempting.
Not too fast, and not too slow, but at the right pace.
Seeking to build through the draft, while sprinkling in trades or signings that compliment the influx of young talent. Previous Pistons teams sought to win now. This forced them to make rash signings, that a draft pick or two were added too. It’s no secret those picks didn’t live up to where they were taken.
Weaver drafted the Pistons promising core of Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Cade Cunningham, and has traded for a few complimentary pieces in Bojan Bogdanovic and Marvin Bagley III.
While the book is still out on Killian Hayes, the Pistons are still in a good place.
With 6 first round draft picks in 3 seasons, several lopsided trades in his favor and over $40 million in cap space this free agency, the Pistons are primed to take a Cavs type leap over the next few years. No matter what the record is by the end of the season.
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