With their win on Wednesday evening against the Utah Jazz, the Detroit Pistons are atop the Eastern Conference at 2-0. The last time the Pistons started the season 2-0 by winning a back-to-back was in 2007-08. That was, unfortunately, Flip Saunders' last season with the Pistons. #RIPFlip.
Maybe they were tired since it was the second game of a back-to-back. Maybe they dealt with nerves because it was the home opener. Whatever it was, last night's game was not pretty. Anyways, here are the Pistons player grades for their win against the Jazz.
Andre Drummond - 9.0
Drummond was 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. He made his first six and two others in crunch time to put the Pistons up five. On the season, which is only two games, he is 14-for-21. To put that in perspective, it took him 11 games last year for him to hit 14 free throws (in 33 tries). Combine that with him being 5-for-11 of the floor (he was 1-for-5 on hook shots) and grabbing 10 rebounds, a steal and two blocked shots, he had a good game.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - 9.0
Caldwell-Pope continues to shoot well. Also 5-for-11 from the floor (2-for-5 from distance) and perfect from the line in four tries, KCP had 16 points while grabbing five rebounds and a steal. Also, his defense was really good. Guarding Rodney Hood most of the evening, KCP limited hood to 6-for-15 shooting. KCP held Hood blank from distance, 0-for-7. And one of those blanks was key to the Pistons' win. With seven seconds left in the game, up by three, Hood got open for a three-pointer by getting KCP caught on a screen. KCP fought through that screen and was so quick on his close-out that he blocked Hood's shot. That sealed the game. I guess you could call that/him robbin' Hood.
Marcus Morris - 8.5
Could you imagine if instead of Dumars signing Josh Smith he had signed Morris? No, he wasn't a free agent at the time, but the similarities are uncanny. Both are 6-foot-9. Smith is 225 pounds whereas Morris is 235. Both are not particularly great at the free-throw line. Both rebound well and get steals. Both like long twos But Morris is a better shooter. After a Smithian performance in the season opener going 6-for-19 while filling up the rest of the score sheet, Morris was 5-for-10 on Wednesday (connecting on his only 3) for 14 points. His defense is also much better, keeping Gordon Hayward in check most of the game. He did pick up a tech, so Reggie will have to pick up the check. His teammate's defense of his tech was awesome.
TFW Joey Crawford calls your teammate for a technical foul. pic.twitter.com/5zfhD26J9C— PistonPowered (@PistonPowered) October 29, 2015
Ersan Ilyasova - 8.0
Ilyasova was not brought in to replace Greg Monroe. He is not going to do that offensively, defensively, nor on the boards. However, he's holding his own. He's shooting 50s across the board. He was 6-for-12 against the Hawks, he was 3-for-6 against the Jazz. He was 3-for-6 from deep against the Hawks, he was 2-for-4 against the Jazz. He's only taken two free-throws (against the Hawks), and made one. He also collected two rebounds, an assist, and a steal to go with his eight points. But what does not show up in the box score is the charges. Ilyasova drew at least three charges last night. I will admit, it does concern me some with how injury prone he is, but I love the spirit.
By my unofficial count, Ersan Ilyasova has taken 5 charges in 2 games. Coming off holding left forearm after last one.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) October 29, 2015
Stanley Johnson - 6.5
Johnson had a near mirror image game as he did against the Hawks. He was 3-for-10 against the Jazz and 1-for-3 from deep, the same as he was against the Hawks. And though he did not get any assists like he did against the Hawks, he did pull down five rebounds and got to the line four times, making all of them. The reason why he gets a higher grade than he did against the Hawks is because of his demeanor and drive in this game. In one specific instance, bringing the ball up court on the left side, he noticed that the Jazz were getting back lazily, so he drove hard making it to the front of the basket for a layup. An ugly layup, but it went in and was an example of his poise. On another play he ran up the court before anyone else and gave Steve Blake a narrow spot to get him a fast break layup. His shots will drop eventually.
Reggie Jackson - 6.0
You may wonder how Jackson could have a lower score than Johnson. Easy. Yes, 7-for-14 is nice from your point guard, and 1-for-3 from deep isn't bad. But 4-for-7 from the free throw line is. Getting as many turnovers as assists (four) is. And his play in the last 2:30 of the game was bad. After hitting his triple to put the Pistons up six with four minutes to go, Jackson air-balled a floater to cause a shot clock violation after too much dribbling, couldn't carom a pass from KCP for a turnover, and then turns the ball over by driving into the lane and doing a jump spin-around pass to Dre who was right behind him. Yes, he did make two free throws to put the game completely out of reach, but he almost cost the Pistons the game.
Steve Blake - 6.0
While his shooting wasn't great (1-for-3, missed only three-point attempt), he did collect seven assists opposite only one turnover. He also collected four rebounds. He was +10 which was third best on the team.
Aron Baynes - 3.0
Baynes played well in nearly 12 minutes, getting four points on 1-for-4 shootings and two free throws. He also pulled in three rebounds and recorded a block. He was -9 in plus/minus, worst on team.
Anthony Tolliver - 1.5
I like Tolliver, but his shot is missing. Granted, he may have been up all night with his newborn, but the only thing he provided was six rebounds and two assists. He missed all of his three shot attempts (only one attempt from three) and even missed his three free-throws.
Jodie Meeks - 1.0
Unfortunately Meeks got injured and will miss some time, but he only recorded one shot (and missed) and a foul. He was +5 in plus minus, however.
Reggie Bullock - 1.0
Seeing the court for the first time this season, Bullock got six minutes due to Jodie Meeks' injury. Missing his only shot and not getting any other stat, he was a neutral force. He was only -2 in plus/minus.
Joel Anthony - DNP/CD
Spencer Dinwiddie - DNP/CD
Stan Van Gundy - 8.0
The only thing holding Van Gundy's score down was his lack of timeout usage at the end of the game. As the lead was slipping away, multiple bad plays were had by the Pistons. With three timeouts left (and no fouls to give), it may have been better had Van Gundy used one timeout to calm the guys down. Obviously, they pulled out the win in the end (and maybe it was to show them they can push through it). But had this game gone the other way, that could have been a deciding factor.
Team - 7.0
The Pistons allowed 50 points in the paint. Yes, they were persistent and pulled out this win, but they allowed 50 points in the paint. Derrick Favors had 18, Hayward, Hood, and Alec Burks each had eight, Rudy Gobert had six, and Joe Ingles had two. The lane seemed open all night.
Do you agree with these grades? Let me know in the comments.