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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: September 23, 12:20 PM ET
No. 84: Detroit Pistons

By Ross Marrinson
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 80
Title track: 37
Ownership: 79
Coaching: 119
Players: 110
Fan relations: 92
Affordability: 37
Stadium experience: 76
Bang for the buck: 83

The 2012-13 season wasnt particularly kind to the 29-53 Pistons, and our standings, in kind, followed suit. The team fell in eight of our nine categories, driven by a dismal 119 in coaching, to which the team responded by firing Lawrence Frank and hiring Maurice Cheeks during the offseason.

As for the players? Same story: ranked 110. Response? The team signed fan fave Chauncey Billups, with whom the team won a title in 2004. (A decade ago, but still...) They also signed free agent Josh Smith to a long-term deal, to form -- with Andre Drummond (PER of 21.6) and Greg Monroe (19.5) -- a still-young and already formidable frontcourt, and traded for point guard Brandon Jennings to run the show.

Fans seem to sense the potential too: The teams highest rank is in the title track category, in which the Pistons rank seventh best in the NBA. Best part though? Its still ever-affordable. This is Detroit, of course, and at a reasonable $40.10 per ticket, its more than 20 percent cheaper than the league average. Overall, theres real hope in the Palace and tangible progress is being made. And for the Pistons, whove averaged a shade over 31 wins per season over the last five years, thats more than enough for now.