Pistons mid-season report

Despite being in eleventh place in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons are still in the thick of the Playoffs fight. The East is all bunched up from 5th through where the Pistons presently reside. The Pistons played 22 games without Reggie Jackson, their starting point guard. Jackson, while playing well individually, has yet to mesh back into the Pistons core. Since Jackson's return Detroit has been losing two games for every one victory.

Is it possible for the Pistons to be be better NOW? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Drummond is an ELITE defender.

The Pistons are playing good defense. They have the ninth best team defensive rating in the Association. Part of their struggles in the first half of the 2016-17 season can be attributed to simply not making shots. With Ish Smith (a non-shooting threat) running the point for 22 games for injured starter Reggie Jackson, opponents were able to sag off him and concentrate on contesting the Pistons shooters. As a result, Marcus Morris, a career 35% three-point shooter is shooting 32%. Jon Leuer, a career 35% three-point shooter is shooting 31%.

Now that Jackson is back, and connecting on 35.7% of his own three-point attempts, look for his Pistons teammates to have more space and shoot the three-ball better in the second half of the season.

In our opinion, the Pistons would be much better with more playing time for Boban Marjanovic as the backup to Andre Drummond. Marjanovic changes shots on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively he is efficient to date in his brief NBA career. This season Marjanovic has only played 124 minutes. Aron Baynes has played nearly five times as many minutes as Marjanovic, despite being grossly less effective at both ends. Stan Van Gundy should be held accountable for this act. But only the owner of the team has more power than "Stan Van".

The other tweak we would make to the Pistons would be to move Tobias Harris to the starting small forward position. Marcus Morris has struggled from deep range this season. Jon Leuer at the "four" spot, coupled with Harris at SF would give the Pistons starting lineup an efficiency boost.

Are the Pistons in touch with their reality?

The Pistons, as presently constituted, do not look like a team that can go deep into the NBA Playoffs. However, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson give the Pistons hope for the future.

Recent draft picks, Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson have under whelmed. Johnson is an excellent defender on the wing but his offense is behind schedule in his second year in the NBA. The 20-year old who played one year at Arizona is a liability to the Pistons bench offensively. Ellenson has played only 49 minutes this season and is clearly not ready for meaningful NBA minutes.

If Stan Van Gundy can relinquish his love for Aron Baynes, and play Marjanovic more, we could see the Pistons securing a spot in the Playoffs this season. But that is a huge "IF". The Pistons won 44 games last season and snuck into the Playoffs as the eighth seed. The fact that they may miss the Playoffs this year is troubling.

The Pistons have their own first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft (likely to be in the 12-13 range).

Five most efficient by position

PG - Reggie Jackson .499, SG - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope .408, SF - Tobias Harris .496, PF - Jon Leuer .533, C Andre Drummond .715

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? (players w/ 300 minutes played minimum)

The Pistons TEAM defensive rating is 106.6 (9th of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Andre Drummond 98, and Stanley Johnson 106.


NBA related. Trade targets.