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Pistons links: Andre Drummond's shooting numbers improvement; Marcus Morris is a boss; and NBA's best trios

The Pistons are feeling good about themselves these days - as they should. Links time!

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Drummond's uptick fuels Detroit Pistons to keep on winning -- Detroit Free Press

Drummond's uptick over the past 10 games has fueled the Pistons.

He is averaging 16.8 points and 14.1 rebounds per game, but the uptick is his efficient shooting percentage of nearly 59%.

And after a midseason switch from shooting coach Dave Hopla to assistant coach Malik Allen, Drummond has shown improvement at the free-throw line. He's shooting 43.4% over his past 11 games.

"It's interesting because he has shot it better, it's just that his misses have been so bad," Van Gundy said. "They're off to the side and you're going what the heck's going on. But then there's some times you watch him and he's shooting it really, really well.

Baby steps at the charity stripe for Andre. It could just be an accidental increase though, perhaps not sustainable. Once he can hit at least 50% for a given stretch of, say, 10 games or so, then we will truly have a warm, confident feeling (probably) that he is showing actual improvement. Nevertheless, hope Andre is feeling more confident due to his recent improvement. That's all that matters. Keep working big fella. Get to the point where Stan isn't making unbecoming faces and wondering what the heck's going on after you shoot a freebie.

Pistons' Marcus Morris continues on torrid streak with Kevin Durant out -- MLive

Marcus had been in a zone for some time now. A resurgence, if you will.

Bold is my emphasis.

Morris finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting and continued a hot streak that coincides with the Pistons' current 9-4 streak.

During that stretch, Morris is 81 of 157 from the field (51.6 percent) and 29 of 53 on 3-pointers (54.7 percent). He has made at least one 3-pointer in 19 consecutive games.

"Just taking my time," Morris said. "My guys are doing a great job getting it to me where I need it at, and I'm just doing a great job making shots. I don't want to talk too much about it."

Marcus Morris -- this guy has been solid almost the entire season, though he's straight popping recently. He's been ballin', shot callin' and pretty much maulin' the opposition. He very well could be the regular season MVP of the team. It's guys like Morris, KCP and Baynes that are keeping the Pistons in this race and will get them over the hump and to the playoffs here in a few short weeks. They hold the team together, make big plays on both sides of the ball consistently, and don't really say much. Lunch pail type gentlemen, gentlemen.


Kool-Aid it is NOT!

"He might have the best mid-range game I've seen in my entire time of playing basketball," Pistons center Andre Drummond said of Morris.

Ranking the Best Trios During 2015-16 NBA Season -- BR

I know Bleacher Report has gotten a lot of flak in the past (and deservedly so) but it has shaped up nicely in many sections during the past couple years, especially the NBA section.

So don't skip out on the BR links here is what I'm trying to say.

On to this trio stuff:

Here, we're interested in the best of the best, as determined by a lineup score generated by looking at a three-man unit's net rating and multiplying that per-possession effectiveness by how many possessions it has played. Each squad can only have one representative, and it doesn't necessarily have to feature the biggest names on the roster.

9. Detroit Pistons:  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris

Minutes: 1,625

Net Rating: 5.1

Lineup Score: 167.79

Even though Reggie Jackson has unequivocally been one of the Detroit Pistons' two best players in 2015-16, he's not present in the top three-man combination. He's been a part of some impressive triumvirates -- €”the grouping of him, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond earns a lineup score of 114.27, for example -- €”but he doesn't mix with Drummond quite as well as these two Motor City representatives.

Here's Toronto's lethal trio that I'm sure you had in mind:

5. Toronto Raptors: Cory Joseph, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson

Minutes: 804

Net Rating: 18.2

Lineup Score: 284.39

Surprised DeMar DeRozan isn't showing up for the Toronto Raptors after he represented them in the All-Star Game? Don't be, since the team's net rating is actually 9.7 points per 100 possessions better when the shooting guard isn't on the court.

Kyle Lowry remains the best player on this squad by a substantial margin, and he's a far superior contributor when his starting backcourt mate isn't sharing the floor with him.

And Dallas' trio (Detroit's opponent Friday):

7. Dallas Mavericks: Raymond Felton, Wesley MatthewsDirk Nowitzki

They don't miss shots. They don't ever turn the ball over. They run incredible pick-and-roll offense, and the Felton-Nowitzki combination has been so lethal that it often allows head coach Rick Carlisle to focus on surrounding them with defensive bodies.

Sharp: Detroit Pistons best bet to win title among our local teams -- Detroit Free Press the next three years, mind you.

One complaint of mine in the piece is that Sharp doesn't talk about the Tigers at all, other than to mention that they "are trending downward". That's it. One sentence.

I'm not sure about that. The bullpen is totally different (totally improved!) from last season and the offense is yet again far from poor. On paper the starting pitching should be a strength (agitated/unsure face). Understand though, I'm a Tigers slappy, and this season is no different -- it's World Series champs or bust.

Back to basketball (sorry I was getting my fix over at Bless You Boys for too long).

I like this selection further on in Sharp's piece. SVG always telling it like it is:

Neither content nor comfortable with the Pistons' playoff race down to a closing seven games, Van Gundy doesn't want any premature celebrating from his team. He's keeping his own foot on the pedal.

"I like our guys," Van Gundy said. "I think from a front office personnel standpoint, we've done a good job. But I honestly think I should have been able to -- or should be able to because we're still in (the playoff race) --€” do a little bit better job with this team. It's been frustrating for me thinking that I should be able to get a little bit more out of this roster."


This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.  -- Douglas Adams (Arthur Dent)