The Detroit Pistons, a team representing a city that is synonymous with music, is queued up and ready for this week’s NBA League Pass Shuffle play. The playlist of games will start from 11/7/2016 and end on 11/12/2016. What kind of rating did the team achieve?
This was a bad week for the Pistons to get subjected to any kind of ranking system. Out of the four scheduled games, three of them were on the road (edit: actually, all four of them were on the road), and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs were two of the road opponents. Not the kind of teams anyone would choose to face on the road.
Detroit finished the week with a 1-3 record. Their lone win came at the expense of the Denver Nuggets. They lost to the LA Clippers 114-82, the Phoenix Suns 107-100, and San Antonio Spurs 96-86.
What went wrong?
Versus the Clippers (11/7/2016)
The Pistons had trouble dealing with the Chris Paul – Blake Griffin pick-and-roll. Check out the screenshots below.
Chris Paul draws the defense to him.
Blake goes in for the dunk.
They also found it difficult to score against the Clippers. The Pistons’ offense was relegated to a few jump hooks by Andre Drummond, some transition baskets, Marcus Norris’ post game, and spotty outside shooting. Ish Smith didn’t play particularly well, either, as he turned the ball over two times with only three assists.
Versus the Suns (11/9/2016)
The Suns countered the early Pistons lead by playing a little “small ball” with P.J. Tucker tasked with guarding Andre Drummond, allowing Jared Dudley to stretch the defense with his three-point shooting and Leandro Barbosa to drive and pass the ball to open shooters. Brandon Knight provided the decision-making at point guard. Jared Dudley made a ton of three’s. The game was lost late in the fourth quarter when the Pistons had no one to match the consecutive baskets made by Eric Bledsoe. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had the hot hand for the Pistons earlier, but he went cold in the fourth. Caldwell-Pope finished with 27 points on 9 of 22 shooting, including shooting 50% from three-point range.
Versus the Spurs ( 11/11/2016)
Any team will have its hands full defending Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kawhi Leonard. The Pistons actually played well and kept up with the Spurs until…crunch time…No one could consistently hit shots, and the Spurs made enough shots to seal the game.
Time for the Recap
Despite the 1-3 record during this week’s sample size, which as we all know is just a small slice of time of the NBA season, the Pistons can contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Andre Drummond can hold his own against anyone down in the paint, and he is at least shooting 50% from the free-throw line. Of course, if he could only add in a few more offensive low post moves to go along with his jump hook…wow, what a force he’d become. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tobias Harris, and Marcus Norris all can score and are averaging around 10-16 points per game – they just seem to go cold at inopportune times (4th quarter crunch time on the road). The bench players like Aron Baynes and Jon Leuer provide some frontcourt depth – Leuer can also score from the outside. Obviously, the Pistons need Reggie Jackson to come back, because Ish Smith is struggling with running the offense. I’ll say this about Ish Smith, though. The guy plays hard, he gets steals on the defensive end of the court, and he can generally beat his guy off the dribble whenever he wants, but his decision-making is suspect when he gets past the defender. Oh, and he can’t throw the ball in the ocean as the old-timers like to say.
Here is a great example of what not to do. Smith steals the ball, leads the 3-on-1 fast break, and instead of dishing the ball to one of his teammates for an easy score, he tries to make a contested layup.
You guessed it, he missed.
Uhm, wait a minute. What is going on here, guys?
Just because your teammate has a bad haircut, doesn’t mean you need to make the same bad decision. Wow, technical foul all the way around for the haircut. Look, Baynes knows he did wrong, so he hides his face.
Anyway, the Pistons need to keep Ish Smith from shooting three pointers, or shooting in general, get some easy transition baskets, and they’ll have a chance to stay afloat while Reggie Jackson is on the mend. Then, when Jackson gets back, they should improve, but for right now their current rating is a bit low.