How Bad Have Things Become for the Detroit Pistons?

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIDecember 21, 2012

Dec 11, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (left) before the game against the Denver Nuggets at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Nuggets beat the Pistons 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most storied organizations in NBA history has hit a disturbing new low.

So, how bad have things become for the Detroit Pistons? Worse than one could ever imagine.

For starters, the Pistons have ranked dead last in terms of percentage of seats filled in each of the past two seasons. They haven't filled an average of more than 80 percent of their seats since 2009-10.

To say that the fans have given up on the Pistons would be an understatement.

As for how bad it is, the numbers speak volumes. Not only is Detroit failing to fill seats, but they're doing so at a rate that no other team is even coming close to matching.

In 2011-12, Detroit filled an average of 65.3 percent of their seats per game. Second-worst was the New Jersey Nets at 75.5 percent.

2012-13 has been no better.

The 3-20 Washington Wizards have sold more tickets in 11 games than the Detroit Pistons have in 13.

For the season, Detroit is filling an average of 56.9 percent of their seats. The second-worst is the Milwaukee Bucks at 72.4 percent.

That's a 12.5 percent difference.

As for how bad the percentage truly is, no team has finished below 60.0 percent attendance since the 2002-03 Cleveland Cavaliers.

ESPN's sport business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted the following picture, which was taken as the National Anthem was being sung.

Mere minutes before the opening tip.

If that's not a sign that attendance is an issue, what else do you need?

How about team morale?

According to Vince Ellis of USA Today Sports, it is not just the ticket sales that are stalling. It is the team itself, as they sit at 7-21 with a current stretch of six consecutive losses.

Franchise player Greg Monroe has voiced his displeasure.

"I think 'stagnated' would be the more accurate word," Monroe said after his 35-point, 10-rebound night. "I don't think we're getting any worse, for sure.

"You can say we're getting better, but getting better shows in the win column as far as I'm concerned. We just have to continue finding ways to finish the game, but at some point we have to do it. We can look at all the tape, but when it comes to down the stretch, we have to make those plays."

The games may be getting more competitive, but the losses continue to mount.

The Pistons are your quintessential franchise on the verge of panic. By "on the verge," of course, we mean to say that they should have been in panic mode one season ago.

How bad has it gotten for Detroit? It's hard to imagine it being any worse.