The Detroit Pistons finished another disappointing year last season and gave themselves a major makeover. Joe Dumars and the coaching staff were out and Stan Van Gundy was given complete control to totally remake the franchise in his image.
There were many questions -- would Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings be traded? Would Greg Monroe re-sign? How does Stan Van Gundy the coach get this gang of underachievers to play actual defense? But one thing was a guarantee pretty early on -- the Pistons would be a much better 3-point shooting team.
Van Gundy's moves early in his tenure involved declaring an end to the Josh Smith at small forward experiment (and most of the 3s that came with it) and to sign a bunch of players who were expert marksmen from the perimeter. We've talked about it at length, but between Jodie Meeks, DJ Augustin, Cartier Martin, Caron Butler and an improving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Singer, the Pistons were pretty well stacked at the perimeter.
The Pistons finished 29th in 3-point shooting a year ago, connecting at a blistering 32.1 percent rate. This was primarily driven by the fact that the Pistons' perimeter players either weren't 3-point shooters (Stuckey, Will Bynum) or weren't 3-point shooters but shot them anyway (Smith, Jennings).
Van Gundy, however, was brought in to fix things. And so far the results are not good.
The Pistons through three games are 25th in 3-point shooting and only hitting 27.5 percent of their 80 attempts (the sixth-most in the preseason).
Detroit isn't getting anything from its new additions -- Meeks is 3-of-8, Martin is 2-of-8, Augustin is 1-of-4 and Butler is 0-of-3. The leader in attempts in preseason is Singler who has shot a woeful 3-of-20. Meeks, to be fair, has missed a lot of time to injury as he tends to some back issues. But Augustin has just looked extremely tentative both as a passer and shooter as he attempts to figure things out early. And Butler looks every bit of his 34 years and it might just take longer for him to round into regular season form.
The only bright spot has been second-year player Pope, who was shooting a blistering 7-of-15 through three games. But he sprained his left knee Sunday against the Wizards and is being held out of the lineup for at least the next three games.
This is nothing to be concerned about, yet. It's early and it's the preseason. Van Gundy, by all accounts, has focused none of his voluminous practice time on offensive sets and instead has been hammering the team with defense. This is a good thing. But for this team to be successful it is going to need to start hitting shots from deep.
It can't count on Andre Drummond going 9-for-9 every game, after all.