The Detroit Pistons finished a disappointing 38-44 last season. As the team looks to improve and regain a spot in the playoffs, Detroit Bad Boys is examining three things each player can do to improve their game and improve the chance the team wins. Whether you’re new to the game or a season Pistons watcher, these are important factors that anyone can appreciate and will help you understand and evaluate Detroit’s team as we get ready for the 2017-18 season.
Stay in lane
Eric Moreland is my kind of player. There are a few things that he is excellent at and he focuses on excelling at them. Last year in the D-League he averaged 12.2 rebounds per game, 1.7 steals, and 2.7 blocks. Oh yeah, and 12.8 points. He was the same guy in the Summer League where he earned his shot as the Pistons’ third center, leading the Summer League in blocks and rebounds. Gobble up all the boards, get stuff done on defense.
Moreland came out of it saying “It’s a good opportunity but I don’t want to overthink stuff. I just want to do what I do best and let things take care of themselves.”
One has to think that after struggles with effort, defense, and efficiency, Andre Drummond’s leash will be getting shorter this season. In many ways, Moreland is the anti-Drummond. The two bring many of the same aspects to the table - athleticism, length, bounce. Playing time for Moreland could wind up as a stark contrast to Drummond’s venturing into aspects of his game that haven’t worked.
Injuries have gotten in the way of Moreland having much of a chance to make his mark in the league so far. Over two years with the Kings, he dealt with a myriad of injuries and only made it onto the court for 11 games with Sacramento and 12 in the D-League. Last year though, he managed 44 D-League games so hopefully the injury bug is in the rearview mirror.
Moreland will be playing the role of Joel Anthony this year. Maybe he never steps on the court, maybe he winds up being needed for 49 games because you need to waive Josh Smith and oh all these frontcourt minutes opened up. Even though he was undrafted and 25 by the time he started his career, Anthony carved out a decade-long NBA career by being reliable and ready to play. Moreland can follow that same template. But he’ll need better luck than he had in Sacramento.
The battle for the lowest free throw shooting percentage on the team could be fierce.
Andre Drummond’s career free-throw percentage is 38 percent. In the D-League, Moreland shot 37 percent.
No team in NBA history has had two players shoot under 40 percent from the stripe (with at least 100 attempts). Heck, only 12 players even make the list. If Moreland gets enough minutes, he could be number 13.