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Stanley Johnson's offensive numbers are improving, and it comes at the right time

Stanley Johnson's offense has continued to develop throughout his rookie season.

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Players in their rookie season often struggle. They have to adjust to the speed of the game, the strength of the players, and numerous rule differences. Those struggles can lead to confidence issues. Stanley Johnson has not let his early season struggles on offense affect his confidence and it is now showing.

After a stunning Summer League and Preseason, some Pistons fans were excited about what Johnson brought to the team. In Orlando, Johnson averaged 16.2 points per game on .577/.417/.593 shooting. Obviously the foul shooting was concerning, but everything else was encouraging. He also pulled in 6.8 rebounds per game and averaged 1.8 steals per game.

Against more realistic NBA rosters, Johnson's numbers took a little dip. He would finish the preseason third on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game on .402/.360/.862 shooting. He'd also pull down 4.4 rebounds and still steal 1.8 balls per game. Slightly outplaying (though not outshooting) Marcus Morris, some speculated that Johnson could compete for the starting small forward position.

Stan Van Gundy decided to start Morris and that was the right decision. In the first 10 games of the season, Johnson's numbers took major dips. In just over 20 minutes per game, Johnson would score 7.4 points per game on .370/.200/.600 shooting (8.1 attempts per game) and it was clear that there was going to be an adjustment period for Johnson, at least offensively.

After 51 games, it looks as though Johnson has taken his lessons from this young season and is nearly back to where he was in the offseason. Over the last 10 games, Johnson is averaging 12.4 points per game on .465/.370/.760 shooting (9.9 attempts per game) while still grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. Those shooting numbers have been better than both Morris and Ersan Ilyasova over the same period. Morris' numbers are 12.5 points per game on .377/.351/.839 shooting (11.4 attempts per game). Ilyasova's numbers are 12.3 points per game on .429/.303/.821 shooting (10.1 attempts per game).

Johnson's true shooting percentage of 56.4-percent over the last ten is the best of any Pistons player averaging at least 27 minutes.

What's more is Johnson's shot distribution. In the first 10 games of the season, 2.5 of Johnson's 8.1 shots per game were from the three point line - 30.9-percent. Whereas in the last 10 games, Johnson has shot 3.7 three pointers out of his 9.9 per game - 37.4-percent. He's also getting to the line 2.5 times per game in the last 10, the most in any 10 game span this year.

Johnson's offensive improvement could not come at a better time. The average field goal percentage of any player (regardless of position) who has played 1,000 minutes or more is 45.1-percent. In seven of his last 10 games, Johnson has shot that or better. In four of those he shot 10 times or more. With KCP out, Johnson will get more shots and he'll need to score them efficiently. More games like Thursday's win against the New York Knicks where Johnson shot 7-for-12 for 22 points (7-for-8 from the line) to go with nine rebounds would be very welcome.

Are you impressed by Johnson's offensive development? Let us know your thoughts on Johnson's offense in the comments.