I *thought* I learned IT after just one night, and it appears I was eerily clairvoyant.
- As strange as this sounds, the Pistons may need to outgun teams this year. The interior defense was as expected, allowing just 28 points in the paint (Pistons had 56!), but Detroit may not have a single defender capable of guarding the 3 point line, or any wing scorer who can hit mid range jumpers.
That's from the blog post the night after game 1 vs. Washington.
Through 5 1/2 half games...
The #Pistons will go as far as their offense can take them. The defense is horrid. Teams can avoid Drummond by bombing away.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) November 12, 2013
With willing and able riflers like Damian Lillard (swoooooooooon) and newly added Dorell Wright, putting up 23 threes a game, and hitting a good portion of them, is no problem for the Blazers. That played out last night in swamping the Pistons last night in Portland.
Entering the Pistons game, Portland was hitting 42% of their 23 threes a game.
Last night, because of this...
@DetroitKoolAid they don't have a single good defensive player. None.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) November 12, 2013
...the Blazers hit nearly half of their triples.
Overall, they shot 42 of 82 on the night.
Even with my skepticism about the summer additions of Jennings and Smith, I'll admit that the Pistons had accrued the most talent they've had since before the final pieces of the '04 title team were stripped off the roster.
That talent has translated to an improved offensive team.
The Pistons scored about 95 points a game last year. After 6 games, they're up to 102.
In '12-'13 the Pistons allowed 98 a game, this year, it's at 103.
If you haven't watched a moment of Pistons basketball this year, here's the summary: better offense, worse defense.
I'm not suggesting they're going to have to mold Kyle Singler (he's the best ex. I can find because at least he tries so hard) into the next Tony Allen, so that they have some viable individual presence on defense. But at this point the only defensive facets Detroit can show off are Smith's ability to come from Nowheresville to get blocks and Andre Drummond's size and athleticism in the paint. For all Drummond's oh-my-gosh (good) moments, there are still lapses. Even his presence can be avoided, by opponents aiming, and usually hitting, from the mid-range and beyond.
PHOTO CREDIT - GETTY IMAGES
I can bombard you with sexy advanced stats to prove my point, but that'll come later in the year. For now, you can see 38% on 3s and an absurd 53% on total FGs and know that that's hideous defense.
OK, I couldn't help myself, here's one nerdy stat; The Pistons defense is the least efficient in the league. They're allowing 1.32 points per shot. Worst in the NBA.
With their mammoth front line, the Pistons defense should have improved, right?
As mentioned above, if you don't ever have to battle inside against the athleticism of Smith and Drummond, and Greg Monroe's size, then no, defense did not improve. Opponents are running layup drills on the Pistons from 15 feet and beyond.
Barring the unthinkable of an individual perimeter stopper emerging, the Pistons guards and wings are going to have to push their efforts outward, puts hands in faces and shots, and do their best to funnel drives into their shot blocking strength in the interior.
Tonight in Golden State should be interesting for the Pistons. Will Cheeks adjust? He has to, or else the Warriors - with Thompson + Curry - will give some individual game three point records a formidable challenge.
- One more thing. I know we all wanted Drummond starting or at least getting more minutes. But I'm curious again to see a lineup that played last week. One without Drummond starting.
Oh, calm down.
Jennings, don't care, Singler, Smith, Monroe.
Drummond back in a VERY athletic, small ball second unit.
Bynum, KCP, don't care, Datome, Drummond. I mentioned this in the summer. Some combination of shooters surrounding Drummond.