Drummond's charity stripe worries an issue as team enters postseason
Andre Drummond's poor free throw shooting has always been a hot topic for fans and pundits alike, as the Pistons' pivot regularly misses out on extra points that could Detroit an advantage on the scoreboard. His woes are so well documented that other teams have resorted to hacking Drummond and putting him on the line in order to stall the Pistons' offense. Stan Van Gundy has done his best to try improve his star center's career 38% free throw percentage, hiring the likes of David Hopla while signing backup Aron Baynes to try ameliorate both Dre's shooting and the team's freeby conversion rate.
However, it hasn't worked, with Andre shooting his FTs at a career worst 35.6% this year, and with the Pistons hoping to make an impact in the playoffs, the former UConn Husky may see himself relegated to the bench during the final minutes of games, as Van Gundy has done more and more frequently over the past few games. During the team's post game interview after their loss to the Chicago Bulls earlier last week, SVG explained why he decided to pull Drummond in the fourth and replace him with Baynes, per MLive's David Mayo:
"Score, time of the game and the whole thing," go into it, Van Gundy said. "But tonight he was 1 for 10. He made the decision easy tonight. It's not like he was 5 for 10 or anything else. In a close game like that, back and forth, we can't be playing hoping for one point, at most, when they're playing for two or three. You can't do that. You're putting way too much pressure on your defense. Aron Baynes is a good player. I thought tonight, at the end of the game, that was an easy decision. First half, it was a little harder decision. He was 1 for 4 and we took him out at 1 for 4. That was a little harder decision. We were up one, it was first half. But the second half, that was easy."
The same situation arose in the team's last contest against the Washington Wizards, where a lackluster Dre was being intentionally fouled to try help the Wizards' chance at a comeback, again, Van Gundy pulled the plug and subbed in his Australian big man to help maintain the lead, which led to this. Although Drummond insisted his demeanor had nothing to do with the game itself, he has had issues with morale in the past, especially when his weaknesses have forced his coach to take him out of the game. That being said, with the Pistons finally making the playoffs in what seems like an eternity, Andre needs to prepare himself to become a focal point of opposing teams' defense, and that until he starts knocking down his freebies at a respectable rate, he shouldn't be surprised to be replaced by Baynes during crunch time.
Pistons opt to let Lorenzo Brown walk
Did you blink? You may have missed it. Lorenzo Brown spent two weeks with the team thanks to two ten-day contracts, in which he saw exactly 0 minutes of court time. The 25-year old point guard was initially brought in as injury insurance when the health status of both Reggie Jackson and Spencer Dinwiddie was in question, but as MLive's David Mayo and the Free Press' Vince Ellis pointed out on Twitter, with all three of their point guards healthy entering the season's final stretch, the team decided to part ways with Brown.
With the D-League season having ended for the Grand Rapids Drive, Brown is now an NBA free agent. This year capped off one of the 6-foot-5 guard's most productive seasons for his career, with 'Zo putting up an impressive 18.3 points, 5.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game in 25 D-League appearances with the Drive, and shot a career high 86% from the charity stripe to go along with 50.3% from the field and 35.2% from deep. His performance earned him a cup of coffee with the Phoenix Suns, where he featured in eight games before returning to the D-League and signing with the Pistons a few months later.
Brown is the Pistons' second ten-day player to join the team this season, with Justin Harper getting some decent playing time at power forward during his short stay in Motown. Harper and Brown represent a change in culture within the organization, with the team looking to add talent through the D-League to occupy the team's final roster spot rather than known quantities at the NBA level. Last year saw both of the team's ten-day players - John Lucas III and Quincy Miller - earning a full contract and finished the season with the Pistons. Grand Rapids Drive standout Adonis Thomas was also in the mix during training camp before being sidelined by injury.
Tweet of the Week
#Pistons SVG said he "was dumped" by players in locker room and had to change clothes before postgame presser. He was excited.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) April 9, 2016