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Pistons High / Low: Big trouble in the Big Easy

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Film don’t lie.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

An uninspiring attempt at the game of basketball saw the Pistons lose to the two-man Pelicans’ team of Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, 109-86.

To the tape.

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High

The point guard position in Detroit is straight-up awkward. The eye test, analytics test, body language test and any other standardized point guard test seem to agree that Ish Smith should be logging more minutes than incumbent starter Reggie Jackson.

The Pelicans game isn’t necessarily the best game to use an example of Smith’s effectiveness (eight points on four of eight shooting, three assists) but it did illustrate how cluttered and stale the team is when Jackson is at the helm.

Ish Smith

Smith will get the ball up the court without wasting the shot clock. Doing so isn’t always going to end up with a bucket but at the very least, it makes the retreating defense have another variable to think about.

A fantastic finish by Smith in a crowd:

Two great looks to his bench buddy, Tobias Harris:

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To be fair, below is great drive by Reggie Jackson:

Even if he misses, Andre Drummond is there to clean it up.

Kind of like this:

The problem with these two possessions is that Jackson is the only player to touch the ball until the Drummond tip in. When Jackson is rolling (i.e. last year), this is a good offense. When he’s not, the Pistons suffer.

The best point guards are able to take the temperature of the room and adjust accordingly. Jackson’s self-awareness seems blurred and in turn, he can’t connect the dots of his shot selection equaling inefficient offense.

2015-2016 Reggie Jackson seems like a basketball lifetime ago.

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With this three at the end of the third quarter, I thought the Pistons would escape New Orleans with a win:

I was wrong.

On the positive side, Morris seems to own a knack for quarter-ending shots.

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Jon Leuer finished with a Pistons’ high 22 points, highlighted by taking advantage of mismatches:

I’m going to do Leuer a favor and not mention that to achieve 22 points, he took 23 shots. I won’t do it.

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Before being ejected, Drummond fought hard on the glass, to the tune of 17 rebounds.

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Low

Time for the lowlights. How much time do I have?

As a team, the Pistons shot 3-17 from the free throw line. Dre led the charge going 1-10.

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As a team, the Pistons shot 3-23 from beyond the arc. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s one-for-six will grab the headlines:

But don’t forget about Jackson’s oh-for-three, Smith’s oh-for-three, Leuer’s oh-for-three, or Stanley Johnson’s oh-for-three. That’s a team effort.

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You’re going to have to show trust as below is the best clip I could find of this particular play.

Drummond held position on Anthony Davis for what seemed like an eternity and the ball never came his way:

That can’t happen. Basketball psychology demands you reward the big when he’s won position.

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No. Just, no.

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Three of Dante Cunningham’s four corner threes made mophatt1 change the channel:

A 75 percent Change the Channel Rate (CCR) is almost unheard of.

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In summary, I want my two and half hours back. See you Saturday in Philadelphia (maybe, probably).