The current landscape of Detroit’s professional sports teams has rarely looked worse than it does now.
All four Detroit teams are currently listed as sports betting longshots to win a title this season. The Pistons (+50000), Tigers (+25000) and Lions (+12500) all have the greatest odds to win a championship in their league, while only the Ottawa Senators (+60000) are given a worse chance to hoist the Stanley Cup than the Red Wings (+50000).
To understand just how bad all the Detroit teams are compared to other cities, no other region has more than one of its professional sports teams sitting with the worst odds to claim a title this season. The closest thing would be New York with the Knicks at +50000 and the Jets, who have the third-worst odds to win the Super Bowl at +8000.
Here’s a rundown of how far each Detroit team currently stands from being a legitimate contender.
The Pistons are tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the worst record in the league at 6-19. But the Timberwolves at least get the luxury of Karl Anthony-Towns returning, who is one of the top forwards in the league, after a COVID-19 absence. It’s not unfathomable to imagine the Timberwolves making a run for one of the Western Conference’s 10 playoff spots.
The Pistons? Not so much, and the front office and fanbase understand that. Detroit recently traded Derrick Rose to the Knicks in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round draft pick. The Pistons flipped one of their tradable assets for another reclamation project. Smith was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 draft and has failed to live up to any expectations as he recently agreed to join the G-League bubble in Orlando so he could find playing time.
Now, Detroit will likely look to ship out Blake Griffin for more assets who could contribute to Detroit’s rebuild.
Besides the obvious losing, which was expected, Detroit has the misfortune of Killian Hayes missing significant time. Hayes was the No. 7 pick in the 2020 draft but has been sitting out since suffering a hip injury on Jan. 4. And while Hayes is expected to return, the question remains how healthy and explosive he will be once he comes back. His development has already been stunted with missing numerous games and if he physically can’t return to form, Detroit’s rebuild may take longer if the Hayes pick doesn’t end up working out.
With eight points on the season so far, only the Senators (five) have managed less than the Red Wings. At 3-10-2, the only silver lining for Detroit’s poor results is that this was expected for a team going through a rebuild.
The one reprieve Detroit’s fanbase has is its faith in franchise legend and current general manager and executive vice president, Steve Yzerman. Rebuilds are tedious projects and require patience and belief from a fanbase. In Yzerman, the Red Wings fans have that. He’s respected and accomplished as a player and front office executive, transforming the Tampa Bay Lightning into a championship contender during his time as the team’s general manager.
Out of the four organizations, the Red Wings’ fanbase may be the most patient and understanding since it has a belief in Yzerman. Only time will tell if he can fulfill the “savior” label so many are hoping for.
The Tigers are coming off four straight seasons with a winning percentage of less than 40%. The one positive for being so bad is it has allowed the franchise to continuously secure high draft picks.
Casey Mize was the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 and made his MLB debut last season, while top five Tigers prospect Tarik Skubal also made his MLB pitching debut in 2020. Outfielder Riley Greene was the No. 5 selection in 2019 before the Tigers drafted third baseman Spencer Torkelson No. 1 in the 2020 draft.
The prospects and excitement for the future are in place for the Tigers. It’s just that they’re nowhere near ready to compete for a title now. Detroit finished last season’s shortened campaign with the third-worst record in the league at 23-35.
The Lions are weeks removed from trading away one of the most accomplished offensive players in franchise history. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is now a Los Angeles Ram, while Jared Goff is set to replace him.
Out of the four major sports teams, Detroit fans typically have the least amount of optimism when it comes to the Lions. At least the other three have been championship contenders this century while the Lions haven’t won a postseason game since 1991.
New head coach Dan Campbell talked about changing the identity of the organization, discussing everything from taking punches and smiling to biting opponents’ kneecaps. Figuratively, we think, anyways. Campbell sounded more likely to become the next meme than to turn a losing organization into a winner, but we’ll see. His tough-minded and aggressive approach should at least inspire some sort of excitement after Matt Patricia failed to turn the Lions into the Patriots 2.0.
The Lions hold the No. 7 pick in this upcoming draft. What the organization decides to do should further highlight the team’s plans for the future, including whether Goff is a long-term solution or a sit-in quarterback while the team drafts and develops its future franchise signal-caller.