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Pistons Trade: Can Jose Calderon make stars of the Detroit Pistons' big men?

Jose Calderon is one of the league's premier pass-first point guards, and he brings a playing style that promises to make the most of Detroit's potentially-dominant young big men.


The recent Detroit Pistons trade that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis for Jose Calderon from Toronto may instantly change Detroit's offense. While it is too soon to tell if the Pistons will change their starting lineup at point guard, the addition of Calderon bodes well for Detroit's young big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Calderon's play-making on pick-and-rolls and otherwise will help make the most of Detroit's twin towers up front.

Since joining the league, one of Greg Monroe's most effective skills has been setting picks and rolling to the basket on a pass from shifting guard. According to SynergySports, Monroe is ranked 29th amongst all NBA players on pick-and-roll attempts, shooting 53.1% from the field and drawing decent contact in the process. Monroe's success at pick-and-rolls came without an effective pick-and-roll partner in the backcourt, as both Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey struggle running PNR plays. By contrast, Calderon is one of the top pick-and-roll play-makers in the league, with the added capacity of scoring well when opting to shoot instead of passing to a rolling big.

Additionally, Monroe's skill for passing out of the high post favors Calderon on the perimeter, as the Spaniard is scoring on 43% of his three point attempts this season. It's a common theme on offense for Calderon, as pretty much every type of shot attempt he takes, he does so efficiently. Spot-up perimeter shooting? 5th best in the league, according to Synergy. Hand-off shot attempts? 8th in the league. Fortunately, the one thing Calderon prefers not to do is something Pistons fans have tired of over recent years-- attempt inefficient isolation plays. So far this season, out of the 485 shot attempts Synergy has tracked for Calderon, he's only attempted 32 isolation shots. That's only 1/6th of the number he's attempted on pick-and-rolls as a ball-handler, not to mention the dishes to the rolling big.

As for Andre Drummond, Detroit's young center-of-the-future has performed admirably (and excitingly) on alley-oop attempts. He has lined up extremely well with Will Bynum on above-the-rim passes, and he should find even more of these looks out of the pass-first style of Jose Calderon. Also, while Drummond has attempted a lot less pick-and-rolls as compared to Monroe this season, he's efficient enough to rank 12th in the league according to Synergy, converting on 65.1% of the 54 pick-and-rolls he's participated in during regulation.

Detroit's two big men stand to receive a lot of capable passes from the team's newest point guard. Jose Calderon is a bold contrast to the point guards Detroit has employed in recent years, and he stands to make a big difference as soon as he's worked into the rotation. Calderon comes to Detroit with the 4th best passing game in the league this season, and a stand-out offensive force from the Toronto Raptors team (sporting a 122 O-rtg vs. his team rating of 107). While it's up to Lawrence Frank to determine who starts and who sits, if this team wants to run a cohesive, winning offense, the role should be Calderon's to lose.