OT - DEEEE-troit Basketball

Submitted by ijohnb on December 19th, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Boy I like the looks of this Pistons team.  If you have not been paying attention, and really as of right now there has not been any real decisive reason to do so, the Pistons have clipped the Heat on the road, handed Indiana its first home loss, and came back from 23 last night in the Gaaaden to take down the Celtics in a (if they started today) playoff preview of sorts.  Brandon Jennings is showing early signs of being Mr. Bigshot 2.0, going nuts for 28 point and 14 assists last night and has hit cold blooded dagger 3s in the last two games.  Jennings is also high pick-and-rolling people to death with Drummond and Monroe, with the former dunking on everybody who is even giving him a sideways glance.  OK, 13-14, I get it, they are not the 97 Bulls, but their schedule has been pretty brutal including a heartbreaker against Portland on Sunday.

There are also moves to be made with this roster.  The Pistons could be the next big thing in the East here if they manage their assets well.  Stuckey has an expiring contract but has also been playing pretty well this season, Mornoe is effective, but with Smith on a longish term deal and Drummond as the real must-keep peice of the front court, could Monroe be the odd man out here by the end of the year?  Our foreign cartel has been pretty much relegated to spectators and it does not look like Cheeks plans on sending them on many trips to the scorers table any time soon, what to make of them? 

I intend this as legit Pistons discussion and I know that most of you have likely forgot there is still a basketball team in Detroit.  So perhaps engage only if interested.  I like this team.  I really think it could take shape.  Anybody else picked up the Pistons out of the mothballs and dusted them off?  What do you think?

Comments

MattisonMan

December 19th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

The problem with the pistons is that right now they live and die by Jennings and Josh Smith - who will shoot relentlessly regardless of how many are going in. In one of those big wins you mentioned, I think it was noteworthy that Josh Smith took most of his shots from the paint. They're a team whose strength is in the paint and not perimeter shooting. The more this is accepted, the more likely they are to stay above .500

ijohnb

December 19th, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

does just jack from behind the arc, you are right there.  But that also involves personnel.  With both Monroe and Drummond, there is only so much room down low in any given offense.  Smith is a 3-4 combo and they have invested in him not for a few years.  There is only so much paint to go around and that is another reason why I think that Moose may not last here.  The one ingredient missing here is a true wing, they have a few wingish players, but not a prototypical 3 man with a consistent face up game involving more than just step back 3s.  That is a hole that needs to be filled.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

December 19th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

Jennings is tied for fifth in the league with eight assists per game, so it's not like he's ballhogging.  Jennings is the starting point guard and he and Smith are the top two scorers on the team going by career numbers, so "living and dying" by them is no surprise.  It's the nature of basketball.  Frankly, if they'd continued to feed Smith and not put the ball in Rodney Stuckey's hands they'd have beaten Portland, too.

I know what people want is to feed Monroe and Drummond all the time, but Drummond's role is already hugely expanded from last season, his shots have almost doubled, and Monroe's usage is slightly down from last year but perfectly on par with what it was two years ago, his best season.

MattisonMan

December 19th, 2013 at 9:26 AM ^

Of course the nature of basketball that shooters will have off nights, but as I mentioned, when Smith stays home, the team does better. And when you have three guys who can perform in the paint (as mentioned below, the pistons are #1 in points in the paint), a cold shooter should lay off shooting - that's all I'm saying. The team has enough threats that we don't need to always take 20 3-pointers per night if they aren't falling. If they focus on that identity, they will win more games.

kzooblue2016

December 19th, 2013 at 8:59 AM ^

I don't understand wanting Monroe out. Talented offensive big guys are hard to come by, and since we have a defensive stopper in Drummond, I'd lose Smith. He's going to be the one that loses you big games with dumb shots.

ijohnb

December 19th, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

and not everybody has been thrilled with Smith, but he did go into Conseco and go for 30, also coming up with two huge defensive plays late.  The Pistons have a surplus of strength down low, and Smith has a little bit more versitility than Monroe.  I am just thinking of ways they can optimally use what they have and get what they need.

Mr Miggle

December 19th, 2013 at 9:54 AM ^

Monroe is the only realistic option if the Pistons do make a big move. As Drummond's offensive game develops, Monroes's importance could diminish. I'm happy with the frontcourt as it is, but if the Pistons had a chance to get a really dynamic wing, Monroe is the logical player to leave and Smith could slide back down to the 4.

GoWings2008

December 19th, 2013 at 9:02 AM ^

attention to the scores every morning, and I've managed to notice that they are improving.  Although not a huge NBA fan, I always want to see the hometown team do well.  I miss the gritty days of Isaiah Thomas, John Salley, Joey D, Rodman and Bill Lambier.  Those were tough teams and I hope these guys can continue to improve and do justice for their legacy. 

Go Pistons!

LSAClassOf2000

December 19th, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

Here is how the Pistons stack up compared to the rest of the NBA on some select metrics, courtesy of TeamRankings. There are some great showings on a few dynamics here, which adds to my own thought that the future seems encouraging for the Pistons:

DET Offense Value (rank) DET Defense Value (rank)
Points/Game 100.2 (#16) Opp Points/Game 101.1 (#20)
Avg Score Margin -0.9 (#17) Opp Avg Score Margin +0.9 (#17)
Fastbreak Pts/Gm 16.1 (#8) Opp Fastbreak Pts/Gm 14.0 (#22)
Pts in Paint/Gm 51.6 (#1) Opp Pts in Paint/Gm 41.4 (#17)
Assists/Game 20.0 (#24) Opp Assists/Game 23.0 (#24)
Total Rebounds/Gm 53.6 (#9) Opp Total Rebounds/Gm 49.5 (#4)
Assists/FGM 0.519 (#27) Opp Assists/FGM 0.616 (#24)
Assists/Turnover 1.293 (#21) Opp Assists/Turnover 1.389 (#12)
Shooting Statistics
DET Offense
Value (rank) DET Defense Value (rank)
Effective FG % 48.8% (#18) Opp Effective FG % 51.3% (#23)
FTA/FGA 0.296 (#10) Opp FTA/FGA 0.284 (#17)
Free Throw % 67.3% (#30) Opp Free Throw % 79.6% (#30)
Three Point % 31.5% (#29) Opp Three Point % 37.1% (#23)
Two Point % 49.3% (#8) Opp Two Point % 49.7% (#23)
Shooting % 45.2% (#13) Opp Shooting % 46.3% (#22)
Shooting Efficiency 1.033 (#22) Opp Shooting Efficiency 1.101 (#27)
Rebounding Statistics
DET Offense
Value (rank) DET Defense Value (rank)
Off Rebounds/Gm 14.2 (#1) Opp Off Rebounds/Gm 10.1 (#5)
Def Rebounds/Gm 30.3 (#24) Opp Def Rebounds/Gm 31.2 (#10)
Off Rebound % 31.3% (#1) Opp Off Rebound % 25.0% (#14)
Def Rebound % 75.0% (#14) Opp Def Rebound % 68.7% (#1)
Blocks Statistics
DET Offense
Value (rank) DET Defense Value (rank)
Blocks/Game 5.0 (#11) Opp Blocks/Game 4.6 (#14)
Block % 6.2% (#11) Opp Block % 5.3% (#11)
Steals Statistics
DET Offense
Value (rank) DET Defense Value (rank)
Steals/Game 9.0 (#4) Opp Steals/Game 8.8 (#26)
Steals/Play 8.3% (#4) Opp Steals/Play 7.8% (#22)
Turnovers Statistics
DET Offense
Value (rank) DET Defense Value (rank)
Turnovers/Game 15.4 (#18) Opp Turnovers/Game 16.6 (#7)
Turnovers/Play 13.7% (#13) Opp Turnovers/Play 15.3% (#5)

 

AeonBlue

December 19th, 2013 at 9:10 AM ^

Since the Billups trade I just automatically assume the Pistons are awful and forget they exist. Also, I no longer live in Michigan so it's difficult to catch anything other than bits and pieces of a Lions game on NFL Redzone or a college game because BTN is everywhere. Yay for the Pistons being better than awful if that's indeed the case though. I miss having something other than the Stanley Cup to care about in May/June.

Lionsfan

December 19th, 2013 at 9:23 AM ^

B-b-b-but Trey Burke! I thought that Joe Dumars passing on Trey was the absolute worst thing to ever happen ever?

On a non-sarcastic note, I've caught a few games so far this year, and I dunno it definitely just feels different than the last few years.. Definitely gonna try to make it out to the Palace this season

French West Indian

December 19th, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

...but it was annoying.  Burke is such a tough gritty player that it seemed like he'd be a great fit given the Pistons needed a point guard.  And with Drummond as the big man, him & Burke could have been the cornerstones for the next decade.

Even so, I still thought the Pistons improved in the offseason and it's nice to see some results coming from that.  Hopefully it will continue to be a fun winter & spring.

jmblue

December 19th, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

It's possible to believe the Pistons are improved (though still only 13-14) and still have made a mistake passing on Burke.  They aren't mutually exclusive propositions.  Personally, I think it'd have been awesome to watch Burke toss alley-oops to Drummond.

 

Moleskyn

December 19th, 2013 at 9:28 AM ^

The Eastern conference blows, so even if the Pistons play OK basketball they'll likely make it to the playoffs. At which point they will get destroyed by the Pacers or Heat, assuming they even make it far enough to face one of those teams.

Michigan4Life

December 19th, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

2 road wins against the Pacers and the Heat.  Hibbert had a bad game against the Pistons.  Heat had no answer for Drummond.  Pistons, for some reason, match up well against both team.  Also, the Pistons are 12-5 against the East but 1-9 against the West.  They played Portland tough and needed Daimian Lillard last second shot to beat them.

Dr. Merp McMerpleton

December 19th, 2013 at 9:31 AM ^

Not a Pistons fan, but I do follow the NBA regularly.

I think the Pistons have a great foundation for going forward.  Their one major mistake in the offseason was signing Josh Smith.  He's not a 3 and Monroe and Drummond provide a better presence in the front court.  They need a shooter at the 3 spot, in my opinion.  

KCP was also picked 'too high' in the draft for me, and they did pass on BOTH Burke and MCW (but at least got Jennings to help out the PG situation).  Given how terrible the East is this year, they should be a 'lock' for a playoff spot and could even win a series if the matchup works in their favor.  

Tommy Want Wingy

December 19th, 2013 at 9:34 AM ^

Full disclosure, I have only caught a few games so far this year. From what I have seen, they remind me of the Pacers minus Paul George. Incredibly deep at the 4 and 5, and are the type of team that could give the Heat fits just by pounding the glass. Still dont think they have a "finisher", but the peices are there. If I'm Dumars I'm all over the phones looking for that last peice. Monroe probably has to be involved in any significant trade, and I wouldnt hate it. Him and Smith are too similar and they need someone at the 3 who can slash and space the floor a little better.

1989 UM GRAD

December 19th, 2013 at 9:49 AM ^

I'd rather they trade Smith than Monroe. I don't think he's ever going to cut down on the chucking and become a more efficient player. My feeling is that he's likely to lose as many games for you as he's going to win for you. Monroe and Drummond are an ideal combination of power and finesse.

Smith would be valuable to a team that needs a legit 4. Get a young legit 3 and you've got a team that could be competitive for 6-8 years.

Drummond Monroe KCP Jennings and a legit young 3 could grow and mesh together like the previous Pistons championship teams.

I know a lot of people hate the nba but the Pistons are my #3 team after UM hoops and football so I'm excited about what I'm seeing on the court thus far this year.

ijohnb

December 19th, 2013 at 10:00 AM ^

not be a trade, they just may not extend him and not match what are certain to be pretty big offers for Monroe after this season.  They have money into Smith and Jennings, and Drummond is going to command max money after next year.  It is possible that they trade Mornoe to a team that will seek to resign him after the season if they get the right offer, but I think Joe is really looking forward to having a little more flexibility at the end of the year with Stuck, Charlie V and Monroe all with expiring contracts.  It may be that he just goes shopping this off-season.  Hopefully he doesn't come back with Bread, Peanut Butter, Charlie V and Ben Gordon like the last time he went to the grocery store with money to spend.

Tommy Want Wingy

December 19th, 2013 at 9:59 AM ^

I would rather have Monroe over Smith as well. The problem is that I think most NBA general managers would also. If you truly want to put a legit 3 on the floor, you have to give up something enticing. Smith is a nice player, but I didnt see teams falling all over themselves to sign him last offseason. The other thing you have to look at is, I believe Monroe is a free agent after this season. Probably not a max player, but I dont think he will be far off.

Dr. Merp McMerpleton

December 19th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

You only trade Monroe if you think he's signing elsewhere come this offseason.

FWIW, the Pistons will absolutely have the cash to keep him, given the Charlie / Stuckey Expirings...

Problem with trading Smith is - who really wants him?  Pistons bought him this offseason and were clearly the higher bidder.

In the East, your only chance is if Boston wants to turn itself into a 'contender'.  They could offer them Jeff Green and another player to make the deal work.

In the West, Houston needs a PF but it also needs to trade Asik - I don't see how a deal with them makes sense.  Maybe Dallas would be interested?  I don't know.  

MDot

December 19th, 2013 at 9:55 AM ^

Would've rather let Drummond develop while getting a top 8 pick in this year's loaded draft. But with the East in the shape that it's in, we're definitely too good to suck that bad this year.

 

So now that we're here, we need to flip Greg Monroe for a wing, and slide Josh Smith to the 4. Would improve the team on both ends.

Come On Down

December 19th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

I think the Pistons will likely win more games this season than was previously expected. It would not surprise me if they finished in the top half of the East this year. That being said, I have big concerns about their ability to be competitive in a playoff series.

One of the Pistons's big advantantages is the unconventional nature of their line up, which I think takes teams off guard (hence their ability to win a lot of regular season games). The problem is that their defense is currently pretty terrible. I worry that, if an opponent is given 4-7 games to focus on just the Pistons, they won't have much trouble beating them in the playoffs. 

In addition, I worry that they don't have a true go-to guy who can take over the game when needed. Josh Smith has a tendency to take bad shots, which is made worse by the fact that he is playing out of position. Andre Drummond might be able to grow into this role but until his free throw shooting improves he will be a liability towards the end of games.