The Pistons won four of their final six games and as result angered many fans by hurting their draft status. Detroit could have finished with the third worst record in the league with two more losses or in a three-way tie for the fourth worst record with one more loss.
If that would have helped the Pistons move in the top three of the draft is anybody’s guess, but they would be drafting higher than No. 7.
Pistons president Joe Dumars was asked if he gave any thought to what could have been with a few more losses.
“I thought about it for about two minutes,” Dumars said. “When you're talking about the lottery and what could have happened and if you would have gotten a ball, it's kind of a bogus conversation anyway to be like, 'Oh my God, the lottery, we could have …’ First of all, you're pissed off that you're in the lottery in the first place, so the fact that I'm going to sit there like, 'Oh, you know, we could have won this.’ ”
Even with the Pistons clearly out of the playoff race Dumars said he never hoped the team would lose.
“It is impossible to feel good about losing,” Dumars said. “I understand that maybe from a fan and media perspective, ‘Oh, just lose games.’ Your mind can’t even get around that. Even down the stretch when we were way out of it, you feel better leaving the arena after you won a game as opposed to losing a game because at that point you’re not looking at standings and trying to figure out where you are because you know what you have to go through a lottery anyway.
“I told the coaching staff after the last game in Minnesota, I said, ‘ You know guys, I don’t care what the situation is whether it be winning a world championship or the season we had, it feels good to win the last game that we played. I don’t care what the situation is.’ We never get into that because your mind can’t even get around that. Ok, we lost tonight we move up one spot. It’s impossible to even think like that. For some reason you just can’t.”
Joe Dumars was a member 1993-94 Pistons team that many people accuse of tanking games at the end of the season to improve their draft status. Dumars was asked if his experience on that team makes it even harder for him to condone losing and while he didn’t confirm it did, he also brought up the fact he missed time with an injury at the end of that season.
“Even when you’re playing and you’re on the court ... when you walk out there the last thing you’re thinking is, ‘God, I don’t want us to win tonight,’ ” Dumars said. “If you’re out there, you’re trying to win. Let’s say I missed some games down the stretch that year. I got hurt so I didn’t play in some of those games.”