To start the 2014-15 season, Josh Smith was the starting power forward for the Detroit Pistons. While it would have been ideal for him to stay close to the rim on offense, he often tried to be a stretch four. Despite what Smith did in Houston, he was a putrid 24.3-percent from distance with the Pistons. Soon after releasing Smith, Stan Van Gundy traded Tony Mitchell for Anthony Tolliver and he was finally in possession of his stretch four -- but only as his backup.
Tolliver was playing backup to Greg Monroe at power forward. Monroe is likely headed to the front desk to hand in his room key. However, Tolliver is not a starting caliber power forward. He played well in the starting position when Monroe was injured, but it was not ideal for the long run. Tolliver has started 64 times in 383 career games.
By trading for Ersan Ilyasova, Van Gundy now has a starting quality stretch four. Ilyasova has started in 257 of his career 453 games averaging 27.4 minutes per game in those starts. His numbers are just as good as a starter as they are as a reserve. However, Ilyasova has never played in a system like Van Gundy's. He never played with a big like Andre Drummond. The Pistons want to run a pick and roll system with Drummond and Reggie Jackson, which means Ilyasova will likely be spotting up for threes. Is this ideal for him? Is this ideal for the Pistons?
Four years ago Ilyasova's 3-point percentage was 45.5-percent (career high). Two years ago he was 28.2-percent from distance (career low). For his career, he is a 37.0-percent shooter from afar. So what do the last four years show us in terms of his shots and how he may or may not fit in Van Gundy's system?
Over the last four years, Ilyasova has averaged 2.6 three pointers a game. He averages 10.3 shots per game. So approximately 25-percent of his shots are from distance. With the Pistons, that percentage is likely to increase as he camps out far from the basket. But these threes will likely come from the top of the key.
Of the 647 three pointers Ilyasova has taken over the last four years, 572 were above the break. That means 88.4-percent of his three pointers are above the break. He will not be camping out in the corner. And that's fine. In the last four years he is 35.5-percent (11-for-31) from the left corner, 40.5-percent (17-for-42) from the right corner, and 40.0-percent (229-for-572) from above the break. He is tested and tried from the above the break. If it ain't broke ...
Last week it was posted that he is 40.0-percent on his spot up threes. Well, that's because it is pretty much all of his threes. In 2011-12, only one of his threes were unassisted - out of 51. Same in 2012-13 - out of 95. All of his 37 makes in 2013-14 were assisted. Last year, two of his 74 makes were unassisted. Ilyasova is a spot up three point shooter.
Last year Ilyasova had 72 spot up makes from distance and 87 from the entire floor. Stats.nba.com does not specify which of the field goals were three pointers, but even still, he had an even 200 spot up opportunities. But if he made 40-percent of his spot up threes last year as reported, and he had 72 that weren't assisted, then 180 of his 185 three pointers were spot up attempts. That would mean he was 15-for-20 on his other spot up shots (according to stats.nba.com). Unfortunately, they do not have data from any previous seasons to go off of.
So Stan wants shooters to spread the floor. He wants to run the Drummond and Jackson pick and roll into the ground with people Jackson can kick the ball out to. If the Pistons employ the Horns offense, then Ilyasova will be right at the top of the key to drop back for an open three as his man hopefully tries to help on the pick and roll. Ilyasova could very well have been a sneaky good pickup.