The Pistons started the game with the most encouraging of signs possible. Andre Drummond dominating inside the paint. Actually dominating everywhere. He was running the floor hard, attacking the glass and finishing everything around the hoop, finishing the first quarter with 12 points (6-7 shooting), five rebounds and two blocks. The Bucks kept things close by crashing the offensive glass, particularly Larry Sanders who came close to matching Andre's output with 10 points and five rebounds (3 offensive).
With Drummond... resting (?) the majority of the second quarter, the Pistons quickly bogged down. Can something quickly bog down? Whatever, that's what it felt like. Outside of Dinwiddie having a rough initial stretch before somewhat settling in at PG, nobody played particularly terribly for Detroit, it was more just collective sloppiness. There were some ill advised jump shots (take a bow, KCP), but also some encouraging moments with Singler and Jerebko displaying competent off ball movement.
Then the third quarter happened. Drummond went back to work dunking almost everything in sight before a brief injury scare took him out of the game. There's the good news. The bad news was an almost total collapse in perimeter defense, which saw the Bucks hit 5-8 on threes. The main culprit was, well, everyone.
The fourth quarter was the Zaza show, and to quote Blaha, "He went wild." Whether the Pistons just got unlucky, or were the victim of a cosmic reverse jinx (remind me not to diss an opposing player in my next game preview), the veteran big man gave the Bucks enough of a spark to keep the Pistons at bay for the rest of the game.
The obvious recipient has to be Andre Drummond. He showed himself fully capable of being the dominant inside force from previous seasons. Regardless of the outcome, that is the single most reassuring thing that could have come out of tonight's game.
Reasons for Optimism
The Pistons showed signs of putting together a competent NBA offense. Yes it all fell apart, but the signs, the signs were there. Really!
There was some off ball movement and back picks and screens being set and solid passing and things of that nature. And after an interminable number of games where the team tried to force feed Drummond in the post they went to a brutally effective lob attack, which obviously fits the young C's strengths much, much better. So more of that.
Reasons for Concern
It was being called out repeatedly in the game thread comments, but SVG's rotations are swerving from seemingly irrational, but still defensible (at least after some mental gymnastics), into just plain bad. His staggering of Andre, Moose and Smith's minutes makes little sense, and is currently designed in such a way as to basically guarantee Smith more minutes than either of his frontcourt partners. This makes zero sense. For all our sanity, it has to stop.
Also of minor, but still annoying concern. Butler had the exact type of game tonight that made me scared when SVG signed him. Subjectively watching Butler, I thought he looked okay. But the stat sheet reads 8 points on 9 shots, 1 rebound, 2 turnovers. The team doesn't need a league average tough nosed veteran at SF. They need to be developing a future sharpshooter.
Reasons for Despair
The Pistons couldn't win on a night where both Drummond and Monroe played well offensively (23 and 10, 15 and 8, respectively). The terrible defensive rebounding basically negates the argument for going big with Smith at SF. Overall the weak points on the roster, specifically at SG and SF are dragging the team down. Try something new, Stan. Please.
Now your thoughts?