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State of the 2018-19 Pistons: November

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So far, so good for your 12-7 Detroit Pistons

NBA: Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

We’re still checking in on the state of the Pistons month-to-month. It’s a long, long season, and it’s good to reset expectations and take stock of where Detroit is. As my podcast co-host reminds all of us, being good in November doesn’t mean everything:

And we remember what happened last year.

Let’s get to the numbers before I lose it. I use NBA.com numbers because they’re accessible to all, and garbage time matters to me, dammit.

October’s State of the Pistons is here.

Numbers:

Record: 12-7. 8-3 at home, 4-4 on the road. 2-4 against teams currently over .500 (losses to Charlotte and Boston twice, a split against Philadelphia, and a win against the Raptors. No, the Rockets are not over .500 at the time of this writing).

ORTG: 108.4, 14th (up from October - 107.3, 19th)
DRTG: 106.6, 7th (down from October - 108.7, 16th)
NetRTG: 1.9, 11th (up from October - -1.4, 18th)

Despite the improvements in offensive and defensive rating, the (new) starting lineup is still a net negative so far this year:

So what’s driving the improvements? Well, Reggie Bullock and Langston Galloway are both over 40 percent from three for the month, which has been a big help.

Last but not least, Andre Drummond is averaging 18.7/16.2/1.5/1.3/1.8 and has an unambiguously good NetRTG (3.6) despite a sub-average TS% (53.5) and the highest usage rate of his career (24.9 percent).

Narrative:

Pistons got screwed by the worst refereeing I can recall against Philadelphia in the first game of November. I am not a proponent of blaming refereeing for losses, but that was an ugly one.

The Pistons’ inability to guard the Spain PNR down the stretch means they lose in overtime to the Miami Heat - but it’s the first game of the new (current) starting lineup featuring Glenn Robinson III. I reported the starting lineup change first, no big deal.

Teams start throwing the kitchen sink at Blake in the post - and his response is to start slinging the ball around for open shots.

The Pistons play their best five minutes of the season against the Atlanta Hawks, showing what they’re capable of (on both ends) when everything is clicking.

Stanley Johnson has an out-of-body experience defending Kawhi Leonard, and Dwane Casey serves up a masterclass in drawing up end-of-game plays to defeat the team that fired him last season.

John Wall trade speculation dominates DBB discussion for a solid three or four days - never mind that John Wall sucks and will make more than Blake Griffin on a longer deal.

Future NBA Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett sits down with Andre Drummond to check in with him at this early point in the season for his TV show, Area 21. If you recall, Dwane Casey facilitated some workouts between Dre and KG in the summer.

Wearing their new, not-as-noticeably-ugly-as-previously-thought City Jerseys, the Pistons beat the Houston Rockets in OT behind the 2015-16 version of Reggie Jackson and another 20-20 game from Andre Drummond

Detroit closes out the month with three straight wins over teams they should’ve beaten, thankfully. Their reward? Steph Curry’s first game back from injury. On a back-to-back, no less.

Next Month:

The schedule. Dear god, the schedule. It’s about to get a lot tougher for the Detroit Pistons.

Luke Kennard’s imminent return will make things easier, at least.

Will Stanley Johnson continue to be a beneficial piece coming off the bench?

Does Khyri Thomas’ G-League domination ever translate into big-league minutes?

Tell us what you think is going to happen in December in the comments below.