NBA Playoffs: Ranking the teams most likely to return to the playoffs in 2024

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons -Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Potential 2024 Playoff Team #6: Detroit Pistons

For a team that finished with the worst record in the NBA, this might seem unreasonably high. When you look at the Pistons through a wider lens, however, their precipitous fall into the doldrums of the league make more sense than just looking at their record.

Cade Cunningham missed almost the entire season with a leg injury, Bojan Bogdanovic was the only reliable wing after Saddiq Bey got traded, and the big man log jam that Troy Weaver created for the team didn’t afford any of the players in the front court enough time to develop.

In between the various issues with the team, there have been a number of bright spots. Killian Hayes had a stretch better than any in his past years in the league, Jalen Duren has looked like a potential monster center when he’s not losing minutes to James Wiseman, and Jaden Ivey has shored up many of the weaknesses in his game to routinely make positive plays like these in Pistons games:

With the silver linings listed above, alongside a likely high pick in a star-heavy NBA draft class, there should be some building hype for Detroit to make some more noise in the playoff picture as early as next year. Although they’ll have to contend with some more established teams, the Pistons should be both much improved in 2024 and ready to start exiting their rebuild.