The Detroit Pistons are a team that has languished in the dark for far longer than any franchise should. It’s hard to build rivalries when you’re so desolate, but the Pistons have managed to make up for lost time in a variety of ways.
Whether it be hiring a former Coach of the Year freshly after he gets fired, or sending a diaspora of former players out into the league, some with more acrimony than others, the Pistons have built up some potential ill will around the NBA.
We’ll take a look at the three biggest rivals for the Pistons this season.
Detroit Pistons biggest rivals in 2021-22: 3. Toronto Raptors
The Detroit Pistons hired Dwane Casey to replace Stan Van Gundy after the Toronto Raptors fired him in 2018. The reason for his ultimate demise? He couldn’t beat LeBron James in the NBA playoffs. Of course, nobody but injuries, Tim Duncan, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant have beaten LeBron James in a very long time, but nonetheless, Casey was given the boot and replaced by his assistant, Nick Nurse.
The Raptors ended up immediately winning the NBA championship in Nurse’s first year, but a confluence of favorable events certainly didn’t hurt matters. First off, LeBron went West to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Raptors got Kawhi Leonard. And Kevin Durant was hurt for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Of course, Nurse still did a masterful job and deserves plenty of credit, but could the Raptors have won their title with Casey? Very possibly. As things played out, the Pistons have always played the Raptors exceptionally tough under Casey, even sweeping them last season. The Raptors aren’t their biggest rivals, but they make this top-3 list.