The NBA's New Lineups of Death -- The Ringer
The Warriors' Lineup of Death took the NBA by storm last season. By surrounding Steph Curry with four players (Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green) who could switch screens and shoot 3s, they played a futuristic brand of basketball that upended conventional wisdom about smaller jump-shooting teams. Green and Barnes could defend bigger players on the block, while bigger defenders were uncomfortable chasing them around the 3-point line, especially in pick-and-rolls. The defining image from their 73-win season was Green rumbling down the lane on a 4-on-3 after two defenders trapped Curry 25-plus feet from the basket.
What does Detroit's Lineup of Death look like? (I mean, besides the obvious lineup of Drummond and Marjanovic destroying all sorts of dreams of those other 29 NBA teams)
Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, and Marcus Morris
There's no way to play help defense against a team that can attack from all five spots on the floor. Everyone has to stay in front of their man, and that's difficult when facing three different combo forwards (Harris, Morris, and Johnson), all 6-foot-7 and up, who can exploit a mismatch shooting from the perimeter or off the bounce. There's nowhere to hide a conventional big man, and very few teams around the NBA have that many big and athletic wing defenders on their roster. The Pistons offense is still built around pick-and-rolls with Andre Drummond, but this lineup maximizes their scoring options.
More on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Last weekend in the Roundup, Vincent Diringer visited KCP's extension talks and the like.
Slightly more recently, Hoops Habit has written some stuff (negative and positive/optimistic) on Caldwell-Pope. As always, give the whole article a look.
Although you'd expect a player to struggle with his shot when closely guarded, Caldwell-Pope also posted abysmal shooting percentages when he was left wide open last season.
According to NBA Stats, the 23-year-old attempted 176 field goals without a defender within six feet of him in 2015-16, but only managed to convert on 39.8 percent of those tries.
The picture gets even worse with wide open shots from behind the arc, as with 131 of those shots specifically being three-point attempts, KCP's success rate sits just above his career average at 32.8 percent.
To put those numbers in context it's necessary to look at how some of Caldwell-Pope's three-and-D peers perform when left with open opportunities.
Player FG% (Wide Open) 3PT% (Wide Open) Allen Crabbe
Seems right on:
His skills and natural gifts lend themselves to KCP thriving from a role on the periphery of a game, where he can charge in to influence play in sudden bursts, but up until now it seems as if he has been getting lost in the lulls of a 48 minute contest.
Camp questions: In quest for balance, will SVG tinker with Pistons starters? -- Pistons.com
Reasonable point made by Keith Langlois in talking about the rotation and bench. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves and anoint Boban the number one guy behind Andre. Yet. Just wait three months.
Leuer and Smith are locks to join the mix, replacing Anthony Tolliver and Brandon Jennings/Steve Blake from last season's second unit, and they'll almost certainly be joined by Aron Baynes. Boban Marjanovic will give Van Gundy enviable depth at center and his sheer size provides another option on nights the Pistons need his 7-foot-3 girth and rim protection. But Baynes was a season-long rock behind Drummond and comes off an impressive summer with the Australian Olympic team. As high as the Pistons are on Marjanovic, it would be an upset if he jumps Baynes on the depth chart coming out of training camp.
Some of you guys saw this I bet
Courtney Lee, New York Knicks: "We're contenders, man. They didn't make the playoffs last year, but we're looking to change that and win big. The ring is the ultimate goal for everybody on the team; I know it is for me. When they talked to me and told me about the pieces they were adding alongside the players who were already there, I didn't think anything less than a championship [was the goal]. We're trying to get the Knicks back into the playoffs and win big. ...
"Everybody is hungry and everybody has their own motivation or chip on their shoulder. We just need to come together, get that chemistry and see it click. Once everybody is together and everybody is hungry, I think we can be very scary."
Myles Turner, second year Indiana Pacers forward, essentially says the same thing.
I do feel like the East will be a lot stronger next year with some of the moves that have been made in our conference, but I feel like we can go out there and get the job done and finish in the top three. That's the goal, and then we want to go make a deep playoff run. And obviously, we're all chasing rings; that's a big goal of mine. I don't see why we can't do it next year. I know that ‘sounds good' and anybody can just say that, but I'm a very confident player and with that confidence comes ambition."
It's Wednesday, folks. Do it right.