[EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written prior to Wednesday's game against the Spurs, so all stats and data precede that game.]
Prior to trading for Tobias Harris, the Pistons had won two of their last six games. Since the trade, the Pistons have only lost two of their last six games. Was Harris the answer? In a way, yes. But how?
The Pistons lost the first two games after the Harris trade. The first against a surging Washington Wizards on their home floor, and then a game against a struggling New Orleans Pelicans where Anthony Davis...just...went...off. In both of these games, Harris came off the bench. Though he came off the bench, he still averaged 14.5 shots per game (in 32.5 minutes per game) scoring 18.5 points per game with efficient shooting numbers.
Those 14.5 shots per game off the bench are the most by any player the Pistons have had come off the bench this season - by far. But the only reason Harris came off the bench was to get acclimated with the team. He was traded for to be a starter, and after Anthony Tolliver's injury, he has been a starter the last four games -- all wins.
Since entering the starting lineup, there has been more equality in offensive production distribution. Here are the starting lineup numbers the first 56 games versus the last four (when Harris entered the starting lineup).
|Reggie Jackson (first 56)||19.3||16.2||.443||4.1||.376||4.1||.837|
|Reggie Jackson (last 4)||20.3||12.5||.540||3.8||.400||5.5||.955|
|Andre Drummond (first 56)||16.9||13.7||.520||0.1||.333||7.7||.352|
|Andre Drummond (last 4)||14.5||10.5||.500||0.0||.000||9.0||.444|
|Marcus Morris (first 56)||13.5||11.8||.417||3.4||.305||3.5||.760|
|Marcus Morris (last 4)||15.3||13.5||.426||5.3||.333||2.8||.727|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (first 56)||14.4||12.7||.412||4.9||.304||3.0||.826|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (last 4)||14.5||9.5||.632||3.8||.467||1.3||.600|
|Ersan Ilyasova (first 54)||11.3||9.8||.425||4.1||.363||2.1||.725|
|Tobias Harris (last 4)||16.3||12.3||.510||3.3||.462||2.8||.818|
The only player whose offensive production has gone down has been Andre Drummond's. However, that is perfectly fine as it has seemed to re-spark his desire for defense and rebounding. But everyone else has had an increase in offensive production since Harris entered the starting lineup.
The starters went from averaging nearly 62 shots per game making them at a 44.7-percent clip to now averaging just over 58 shots per game making them at a 51.5-percent clip. They went from averaging nearly 16 three pointers per game making them at a 33.7-percent clip to still averaging 16 three pointers per game but making them at a 40.6-percent clip. The starters went from averaging around 73 points per game to averaging 74.5 points per game. The starters went from averaging 33.1 minutes per player per game to 32.6 minutes per player per game.
Not being forced to play as many minutes, shooting less with more accuracy, the starting lineup has been more lethal since Harris became a part of it. Obviously, four games is a very small sample size, but if this trend continues, the Pistons should scare a lot of teams.