Are These Pistons An Experiment in 'Positionality'

With this new Pistons season, there are a number of things to be frustrated about (I'm upset about the Moose's minutes, personally), but there is perhaps no thing more frustrated than a lack of an actual plan on the part of the Pistons.  Joe D iis often seen spouting new strategies every offseason, only to half-heartedly pursue each one.  


2008 - "We're changing everything, NOW"  --> We trade one person, Chauncey, next season

2009 - "High Powered offense"  -->  We sign Bengo and CV, draft 4 SF's, don't replace McDyess or Sheed

2010 - "Back to our tough-minded ways"  --> We... sign... T-mac?  Draft Monroe too.


In my attempts to make sense of these moves, I propose the following, that the Pistons are future-proofing the roster for the position-less world of the future.  As Kobe implied this summer, the NBA may be going towards a place where the players have more skills at every position, and the oncoming shift will make the current positions meaningless.  


"Positionality" or the on-coming positional revolution could explain the Pistons collection of "Long, Smooth," player's who can "Stroke it," but will it actual garner any wins.  If it is the future, it is quite shrewd of Joe D to be begin cornering the market in this area before it gets popular.  It may also explain why the pistons are stressing defense and toughness, as I'm sure all teams that focus too much on skills will eventually become the Toronto Raptors.


As the pistons are currently constructed, we have some big men that aren't really big, and some guards that aren't really point guards, and a whole mismash of player at SG, SF, and PF.  Moreover, they all seem to operate best at the three point line, and they all would seem to benefit from people playing as a traditional 1, or a traditional 5.  The Pistons are learning that without a steady ball handler capable of setting players up, or making good decisions during broken plays, this experiment in positionality can lead to offensive grid lock.  Similarly, without a solid big who can get rebounds and draw double teams, this experiment in positionality will be easy for opposing team to counter with free roaming helpside defenders who can counter act for mis matches.  


Moreover, on a traditional team, it was very clear what everyone was going to do on any given night, and they were able to perfect that skill.  The pistons have players doing multiple things every night depending who is on the floor.  Tayshaun prince played positions 1-4 the other night against the bulls, and while he may have been passable at some points, he was not really successful.  He was also the best on our team at playing the 3, so any time he spends doing this other stuff, someone else who isn't as good is playing his position.  "Positionality" as constructed by the Pistons results in players perfecting a variety of things where they are merely capable, while competing against players on other teams who are doing things they specialize in.  


If this is the experiment that Joe D has tried, it will be clear soon that this oncoming positional revolution is only useful in small doses.  A roster could have 2 to 3 players who are able to compete at a high level in whatever positional categories they can operate in, but they need to be balanced by a roster of traditional specialists, who can do exactly what needs to be done (ball handling, rebounding, etc) to allow the 2 or 3 players to succeed well.  

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