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The Close Out: Who are these guys?

Film don’t lie.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The objective of The Close Out is to focus on the not-so-obvious plays, schemes and tendencies of the Detroit Pistons from the previous week. Published today and every Monday moving forward, a large focus will revolve around the use of video.

Who are these guys and what did they do with the team I grew to despise last year? Two up and one down could’ve easily been 3-0 had the refs made correct calls late against the Wizards. Hefty deficits were erased in Washington and New York, with the Pistons splitting their first two road games. Detroit’s rotation was all over the place, and probably will be until Stan Van Gundy finds a cozy mix.

Approved Action

Exploring certain sets or play types used often by the Pistons along with the variations and assorted outcomes.

The bread and butter of the Pistons remains the top-of-the-key PNR. Although it’s orchestrated by Reggie Jackson (Ish Smith) and Andre Drummond (Eric Moreland/Jon Leuer), everyone can get in on the action.

The DBB offseason consensus included Tobias Harris being more involved in the offense. Well, Harris as the screen setter was a common sight in week one to the tune of 1.5 points per possession.

Last year, the Horns set played a prominent part of the Pistons’ offense, and it’s back in 2017-18 with a little more bite (so far).

Staggered screens for Jackson (and Smith) are a great way to get a rolling big and a shooting big involved.

One of the new sets starts with a back screen for Avery Bradley (from Harris). From there, Bradley goes through to collect a double screen while Jackson and Harris play a two-man game.

Similar to the staggered screens from above, this set is comprised of two bigs sandwiching the on-ball defender for Jackson (Smith).

Finally, a quick flip between Jackson and Harris sets up an immediate hand off by Drummond.

Acceptable Trends and Dead Ends

A closer look at the habits —both good and bad—of players, coaches and maybe even DBB commentators.

Jon Leuer makes himself available better than anyone else on the team, he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

Stanley Johnson had a rough shooting night against Charlotte but his hustle and defense were on point. Above, he denies an easy Hornet bucket and ices the game with a timely tap-out rebound.

Andre Drummond was a focal part of the offense in week one, which included a handful of on-target passes. It’s a skill he’s shown in the past, but the consistency and willingness to do so was lacking.

Ish Smith has a bad habit of getting beat on flex cuts and back screens. While it’s not his man scoring, he never offers hedging help.

A defensive failure shared by all five on the court.

Defending the pick-and-roll is hard and running into your teammate makes it that much harder.

Entry passes seem to be tricky.

One High, One Low

One offbeat high and one offbeat low.

Leuer with a heady slip to set up an open look.

Bradley has to shoot or throw it in the air for Drummond.

Crystal Ball

What to look for during the upcoming week.

Couldn’t be more disappointed with the backup center role. Both Boban Marjanovic and Eric Moreland offered nothing on either side of the ball while the small ball lineup — featuring Leuer at center — helped the comeback efforts against the Wizards and Knicks.

Is this a sign of things to come? Matchups will always dictate how Marjanovic is used, but getting no run against a traditional big like Dwight Howard isn’t a good sign for Boban’s playing time.