Two preseason games in and the Detroit Pistons are 0-2, losing last night to the Brooklyn Nets 93-83. The game kind of got better as it went a long, at least in terms of turnovers go. Here are the postgame quotes from Stan Van Gundy and Reggie Jackson.
Stan Van Gundy on the game...
"We’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance. The guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to an open man; they wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot. Thought we forced play after play after play and we were not willing to move the ball."
Unfortunately stats.nba.com does not do tracking during the preseason, so I can't see how many passes each player made. And while that isn't an exact indication of the offense as the team could make three passes before even crossing halfcourt, it may show us something. Van Gundy's offense is built on movement. He needs every player, other than Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes, to run around the court when they do not have the ball ala Richard Hamilton. Ok, maybe not that much.
At least Van Gundy always sees a bright side...
"I thought Ersan’s (Ilyasova) third quarter in particular was good. I thought Spencer’s (Dinwiddie) second half stint was good. There is always positives. I thought those two guys did a good job."
Though it is just preseason, and it's difficult to play consistently for a whole game, it is rather discouraging that so and so had a good quarter. I'm not expecting any one player to beast out for an entire game. But I would definitely rather a consistent contribution in smaller amounts over a whole game than an awesome quarter. Consistency is key.
Reggie Jackson, who had a poor game himself, was not too pleased with the team's performance either.
"We lacked effort. We had a lot of turnovers; I know I had a lot. We had 18 at half. We can’t continue to do that. We’ve just got to figure out how to play the game."
It is honestly surprising that the Pistons are not leading the preseason in turnovers per game. However, the only NBA teams who are worse are the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New York Knicks. That is not encouraging.
Van Gundy has stated that with the rash of injuries that the Pistons have sustained in training camp that the offense might take a minute. Reggie agrees.
"Every time we were attacking they crowded the paint. That’s something we’ve got to get better at. We’re all going to have to look in the mirror and really decide how to come together and get things done defensively. We’ll figure it out offensively."
They are crowding the paint because we have built our offense around the Drummond and Reggie pick and roll. That is why people used to say that Stan's teams would live and die by the three pointer. Not just because they took a ton of them, but because if they were not going in, the defense only had to clog the paint.
A night after shooting 13-for-29 from distance (44.8-percent) the Pistons only shot 7-for-22 (31.8-percent). Those who are to be our distance shooters, Jodie Meeks, Anthony Tolliver, Ersan Ilyasova, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and to some extent Marcus Morris, combined for 4-for-16. While it is encouraged for Reggie to better his three point shooting, him going 1-for-3 is actually better than his career average. And then you have Stanley Johnson who went 2-for-3. If the Drummond and Reggie pick and roll is to work, so do our distance shooters.
But Reggie is right, the offense will come together. But that defense...woof! After letting the Indiana Pacers score 115 points, they were able to limit the Nets to 93, but that was their B-squad. The Nets shot 47.6-percent from long range. They got to the line 18 times to the Pistons 11. The Pistons committed eight more fouls. The only aspect of defense that seemed ok last night was being able to steal the ball as they did that 11 times. But even that wouldn't be within the top 15 of the league.
It is only preseason. They have been dealing with some odd and untimely injuries (and yes, so do other teams). But the Pistons really need to get it together. Here's to hoping they do that before their trip to the west (a little bit) to visit Greg Monroe and his new team.