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Pistons High / Low: A trip to the film room from the Chicago and Memphis games

Film don’t lie.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The game in Chicago was about as low as we’ve seen in Stan Van Gundy era. Sure, the 5-23 start to the 2014-15 season was bad but expectations weren’t the same. At home against Memphis, a 4-21 combined shooting from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris along side a scoring avalanche from Marc Gasol now have the Detroit Pistons at 14-17 with games against the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers on the horizon.

Lets take a look at what went right and the dozens and dozens of wrongs in the Chicago and Memphis losses.


There’s just so much to choose from!

Two common NBA sets ran well by your Pistons:

With a pseudo ram screen, Stanley Johnson sets the play in motion by screening Jon Leuer’s man (Nikola Mirotic) and then moves to the far corner for an outlet. Leuer immediately looks to run and pick and roll with Ish Smith. Mirotic is already trailing the play (due to Johnson’s screen) but does a good job of corralling Smith. However, as Leuer slips, he attracts two Bulls - Cristiano Felicio and Jerian Grant - by the time Mirotic fully recovers to Leuer, Smith has penetrated to the elbow and has the shot or Johnson in the corner:

The bucket trims the second quarter lead to 22.

Below, Marcus Morris receives a double screen from Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris. Ideally, the Pistons are looking for Jimmy Butler to switch off Morris and Taj Gibson obliges. Now, the Pistons have a mismatch with an effective iso player in Morris, a rolling Drummond and a shooter at the top of the key:

This could be ran for Harris, KCP and Jackson in Morris’ place.


If Drummond is not collecting the rebound he should be doing this:

It’s such an easy look that Baynes creates for himself simply by establishing early position.


It’s been hammered down our throats that the Reggie Jackson-Andre Drummond pick and roll will be the staple of the offense but why not more of this:

It’s not against NBA law for Harris, Morris, or KCP to execute the same play. Clearly Jackson’s conditioning is still an issue so why not alleviate some of the play making duties?


In the last High/Low, it was highlighted that Ish Smith is setting screens to put teammates in a position to score. Here is another example:

Not exactly a knock down screen but it gets the job done. Jackson is doing this too so the action must be reinforced by SVG.


On a semi-transition possession, all five Pistons are below the three point line at the time of the pass but unfortunately, all five are ball watching and forget about ole whats-his-face:


Bad pick and roll defense:

First, Leuer neither hedges nor falls back effectively making it easy for Doug McDermott to keep KCP on his hip. Second, Baynes lines up on the wrong side of the screen giving Dwyane Wade a clear avenue.


Here, Tobias Harris sets a moving screen on Reggie Jackson and it goes uncalled! Refs, man.


Drummond with the half-hearted box out and contests Butler drive way late:

I’m not sure why Drummond seems to have the green light to double team as he sees fit. It never ends well. Chicago easily works around it here:

Below, Dre is under the dotted line helping on a top-of-the-key Memphis screen. That gives him zero chance to recover and contest the open three point look:


Marcus Morris’ man scores but it’s Ish Smith’s fault as he offers no help on the back screen:


When SVG was speaking to the horrible offense against Memphis in the post game press conference, possessions like below are probably what he’s referring to:

Jackson’s first pass comes with 14 seconds on the shot clock; the ball stops at Harris who then throws up a contested mid-range. The possession gets bailed out by Drummond’s effort.

Or maybe he was talking about this shot with nine seconds left on the shot clock:

Oh, and watch out for the cutter on the defensive end. Bad sequence for Jackson.


I’d guess a cross court chest pass from the post has about a 50 percent completion rate: