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Detroit Fans Have Suffered for Too Long for Pistons to Get Cute with the No. 1 Pick

Kyle Koster
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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It's been a tremendously lean period for Detroit sports fans. Since 2015, the Tigers have zero postseason appearances and have failed to win 40 percent of their games in four seasons. The Lions have continued to be unbelievably irrelevant. Two brief playoff cameos by the Red Wings belie a momentum-free rebuilding process. And the Pistons have fought tooth and nail twice to get embarrassed by a No. 1 seed in the East.

This is not a plea for sympathy but rather necessary backdrop to understand that Detroit getting the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft is literally the most exciting and hopeful sound to emanate from the Motor City in a long, long time. Opportunities to snag a generational player to led the franchise have been few in far between. The Pistons have had three cracks at it over the past four decades. In 1981, they took Isiah Thomas, which yielded two titles and a Bad Boy ethos. In 1994, they wisely took Grant Hill, who was productive and beloved. In 2003, it was Darko Milicic and, you know what, we don't have to talk about that.

There's a clear No. 1 in Cade Cunningham. Any sane or prudent move involves disconnecting all phones at team headquarters and only listen to other teams who want to go the extra mile and send word by carrier pigeon that they intend to pay. Meaning, there's absolutely no way in hell the Pistons should look this gift horse in the mouth and ruin it.

Like clockwork, the rumor mill is already spinning as it's revealed many other teams would love to be in Detroit's position. Deep down, none of the rumblings sound very serious and I fully expect the Pistons to do the sensible thing and select Cunningham as we all expected.

But if, for some reason, they do make a giant mistake and steal the one ray of sunshine Michiganders have felt in years, that will represent both a low point and a breaking point for many fans. This cannot be a mirage in the desert. Fans deserve to drink deeply and without care from a new reservoir of hope.

Now, do I sound like someone overheating in a car during a lunch break with a bad connection on local radio? Sure. I'll apologize for nothing because everyone else agrees with me. Let us have this one thing. Preferably without the drama, if possible. And perhaps it's not possible.

Every single piece tying another team with interest in making a deal with Detroit dulls the excitement a bit. That old familiar foe of worry creeps in. The entire Pistons front office should take a long summer break to find themselves on an island with no WiFi until draft night.

I'll help them pack and hopefully not think too hard about anything between now and then.

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