3 Stunning roster decisions have kept Blazers from becoming historically bad Pistons

Some controversial preseason choices have kept Portland from approaching Detroit Pistons territory this season.

Jerami Grant (L), Malcolm Brogdon; Portland Trail Blazers
Jerami Grant (L), Malcolm Brogdon; Portland Trail Blazers / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
1 of 4
Next

When NBA fans think of a rebuilding franchise, two things typically come to mind: tanking and playing young players as many minutes as possible. Those ideas often go hand-in-hand. The Detroit Pistons have seemingly taken that plan to the extreme; the Portland Trail Blazers have not. Not completely, at least.

The Pistons' now 28-game losing streak (as of Dec. 29) is tied for the longest in league history. The only other streak to reach this level of futility came over two seasons when The Process Philadelphia 76ers lost 28 in a row across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns.

There are a handful of reasons why Detroit has reached this point, all of which are well laid out by James L. Edwards of The Athletic (subscription required). Perhaps the most significant issue facing the Pistons right now is something the Blazers' front office and coaching staff have gone out of their way to avoid.

Three then-questionable roster choices have kept the Trail Blazers from approaching Pistons losing streak territory

A pair of well-debated offseason decisions and another made in late November have become crucial to keeping Portland out of historical ignominiousness.

The Pistons are the fifth-youngest team in the NBA and the third-youngest in terms of minutes played and usage. Six of their top seven players are 22 or younger and those same six players are six of the team's seven leading scorers. The 34-year-old Bojan Bogdanovic is the only thing keeping Detroit from skewing even younger, and he arguably should have been traded for more assets last season.

The Blazers don't have the same issues. Yes, Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe are key building blocks, but they're not responsible for carrying the team night after night. Toumani Camara is a rookie second-round pick who's earned his spot in the starting lineup; it wasn't handed to him because of his rookie status.

Portland's roster has veterans on it that the Pistons simply don't, and that's made the difference between a "regular bad" NBA team and a historically bad NBA team. These are the three choices the Blazers made during the offseason that have kept them from approaching Pistons-level awfulness.