If you were to look at the NBA schedule and see that the Pistons beat the Atlanta Hawks in their place by 12 points, you might be quick to say each Pistons player was on point. However, while the win is the most important part, there were certainly some negatives.
Here are your Pistons Player Grades for their season-opening win against the Atlanta Hawks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 9.0
Was this an away game for KCP? He's from Atlanta, so maybe it's not? Anyway, he started the season off in fine fashion scoring 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting (4-for-7 from distance) while also being perfect from the line on three attempts. The offense wasn't his only contribution though as he had four rebounds, an assist, a steal, and held Hawks sharp shooter Kyle Korver to seven points (and only 1-for-5 from distance). Only negative on his statline are the two turnovers.
Ersan Ilyasova - 8.0
Defense notwithstanding, this is exactly what we need from Ilyasova. Mind you, 12 shots may be a bit much, but they were going in tonight. Ilyasova finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting (3-for-6 from distance) while also grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out three assists, and getting a block. But that defense...
Reggie Jackson - 8.0
Reggie was really good defensively for most of the game and he orchestrated the offense well. He had a rough night shooting from the field (4-for-10), but connected on half of his threes (2-for-4). He was also perfect from the line on five trips, pulled down eight rebounds, dished out five dimes, and stole the ball twice.
Andre Drummond - 8.0
Despite 19 points and 18 rebounds to go along with two blocks, a steal and three assists, Drummond only shot 6-for-16. I am OK with him working on his post game, especially when we win in spite of it, but he cannot continue to have shooting nights like this. He can, however, continue to shoot 6-for-10 (four straight at one point) from the charity stripe. I'll take that from him any day.
Marcus Morris - 7.5
Just like Drummond, this comes down to efficiency. Yes, Morris did get 18 points and 10 boards, but that was on 6-for-19 shooting. That's Josh Smith-ian. And yes, he rounded out the stat sheet: 1-for-4 from distance, 10 rebounds, and four assists. His shots looked eerily like Smith's also. His 19 shots were the second most in a game in his career.
Aron Baynes - 6.0
Baynes was 3-for-5 in only 11 minutes and also grabbed five rebounds. That was enough time, and efficiently spent, to spell Drummond.
Stanley Johnson - 5.5
Rookie nerves maybe? Johnson did not have an awful game, playing 24 minutes and getting seven points to go with four rebounds, three assists and a turnover. His first bucket was a three, but that was the only one he made in three tries. He held his own defensively and was quite active out there also.
Jodie Meeks - 3.0
Only needed to spell KCP for 11 minutes, but was 1-for-4 in that time (no tries from three) while also grabbing two boards.
Steve Blake - 2.5
This is only his second game situation with the team, so I'll give him some time. But 1-for-6, his only make from deep, better not be a norm. He did dish out four assists, but he also coughed up the ball three times.
Reggie Bullock - DNP-CD
Spencer Dinwiddie - DNP-CD
Darrun Hilliard - DNP-CD
Joel Anthony - DNP-CD
Stan Van Gundy - 8.0
While the Pistons got the win, and it does appear to be by his design, I question playing all of the starters 32 or more minutes when you have a game the following night. No, the Utah Jazz are not the Atlanta Hawks, but they will be playing on rest. Either way, his design is evident. The team's 29 attempts from three are likely to be a norm, but the 12 makes will be harder to match night in and night out.
Team - 9.0
The turnovers, though many at first, totaled only 15 in the game. That is also because the Pistons had 25 assists on 37 makes. Pass the ball more, get better shots, turn the ball over less. But where the team really won the game was around the arc and on the glass. The Pistons beat the Hawks, a team with Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Tiago Splitter, on the boards to the tune of 59-40. In the fourth alone, the Pistons pulled down 12 offensive boards to the Hawks one. Also, making 12-of-29 threes will not be something that the Pistons can emulate every night, but it would be nice if they can. Wins like this are encouraging to the path the Pistons season could take.
Do you agree with these grades? Let me know in the comments.