The Detroit Pistons are currently the 10th best team in the Eastern Conference. That is with a winning record. However, if the Pistons are going to make it to the playoffs and further, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson are going to need more help.
Drummond is having himself the best year of his young career. I fear saying a career year as he is only 22 years old and still has plenty of room to grow. Jackson is having himself an okay year and has been playing better as of late (with the exception of his game against the Charlotte Hornets). These are the two players the offense is built around. These are the two players the Pistons plan to build around. All signs say that they aren't done building yet.
Stan Van Gundy has been a busy General Manager and has completely remade the roster. Some of those new faces have panned out, some have not. With 22 games completed in the 2015-16 season, it is evident that the Pistons will go where Jackson and/or Drummond will take them.
|Field Goal Attempts||15.1||13.9||16.8||15.4|
|Field Goal Percentage||.552||.496||.505||.338|
As you can see, Drummond's win/loss splits are not as dramatic as Jackson's. Points wise, they account for 44 of the Pistons 106.3 points per game in wins. That is 41.4-percent of the offense. In losses, they account for 29.4 of the Pistons 88.7 points per game. That is 33.1-percent of the offense. Someone needs to step up when these two are down. But who?
Caldwell-Pope is having a "meh" year. Scoring is up from last year, but just barely. The difference is not coming from better shooting (shooting 40.1-percent from the field and 29.2-percent from distance), but getting to the line more and making them at a career best clip. His win/loss splits are rather weird.
KCP is shooting the same 40.1-percent whether the Pistons win or lose. However, he's shooting 26.0-percent from deep in wins on 4.2 attempts, but 32.6-percent in losses on 4.6 attempts. He gets to the line more in losses (3.4) but is only converting them at a 70.6-percent rate. In wins, he only gets to the line 2.2 times per game, but is making 96.2-percent of them. Rebounds, assists and steals are all neck-and-neck.
KCP needs to step it up period, but he plays no better/worse whether the team wins or loses.
Ersan is also having a "meh" year. Scoring, shooting percentages, assists, steals and blocks are all around career norms. However, his rebounds are the second lowest of his career.
Ilyasova has played significantly better in wins than in losses. A shooting line of 47.4/44.9/80.8 in wins against 38.9/33.3/68.0 in losses. Despite the bad shooting line, Ilyasova shoots more in losses than wins. All other stats are pretty similar.
Of the starters, Morris has the most drastic changes in stats from wins to losses behind Jackson. Of course his per game averages are higher than any other in his career, but that is because he is averaging more than 11 minutes more per game than the next highest.
While shooting more in wins with a shooting line of 44.2/32.6/73.8, he is averaging 16.9 points. But in losses, that shooting line drops to 33.9/24.3/78.1. He pulls in more rebounds, dishes out more assists, and turns the ball over less in wins than losses.
This is a no brainer. Because of how anemic the Pistons bench has been, they have not played much. So to even it out compared to other teams' benches, we can look at per 36 numbers. Yep, they still suck.
The Pistons bench ranks second to last in points per 36 on a shooting line of 35.5/29.2/66.7. You cannot blame that free throw percentage on Drummond, he's a starter. They do not get many steals but they also don't turn the ball over much.
The bench is currently led by Steve Blake (as the statesman) and closely followed by Stanley Johnson. Blake has been having a career worst shooting year though his passing has been night. Johnson is still learning the league and not playing like he did in preseason.
Aron Baynes has been turrible. Anthony Tolliver is not who he was last year (Note: He's shooting 22.2-percent from the line). Joel Anthony, Darrun Hilliard and Spencer Dinwiddie have barely seen the floor. Reggie Bullock has played in six games but has yet to hit a shot (on only six attempts).
And obviously, Brandon Jennings and Jodie Meeks are both out with injuries.
Who steps up?
For the Pistons, I do not think it needs to be any one player. I think the bench is where it needs to start. It would be nice for KCP to show another shooting increase like he did last year. It would be nice for Ersan and Marcus to hit their threes better and rebound more. However, when you have five collective people who can barely keep you within reach of the other team or just hand over the lead the starters made, there is a problem there.
Granted, things may change rather soon for the bench. Jennings has been saying a Christmas return is possible, and it couldn't come any sooner. Also, depending on how he comes back and how/when Meeks comes back, the bench will have some scoring power. It may not be enough on some nights, but when the games are close it will matter a ton.
Also, it is on Jackson to be more consistent with his play. He designated himself the leader of this team. As such, he needs to play in losses as he does in wins. But when your team is -8.6 in losses and you score nearly 10 points a game less in losses, it kind of says something.
Who do you think needs to step up? It is one player? Is it the bench? Will it be someone we pick up in trade or free agency? Let us know in the comments.