Tony Snell is definitively just “a guy.”
He’s a tall basketball player with some skills that work in his favor, and some limitations that keep him from being more than, ya know, just a guy. The good stuff – his 7-foot wingspan defensively and career 38% shooting from 3-point range – is what has kept him in the league.
The thing about Snell and the Detroit Pistons is they don’t need him to be much more than just a guy.
Sure, it’d be great if he could do something, anything, off the dribble once in a while. It’d be great if he was an amazing perimeter defender, rather than an average one. But, when you look at the post-Reggie Bullock version of the Pistons, they just needed size, length and shooting on the perimeter.
And that’s what Snell is here to do.
Detroit probably rolls out four members of last season’s starting lineup – Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Bruce Brown Jr., and Reggie Jackson – with Snell filling Wayne Ellington’s spot. Though he doesn’t have the same shooting pedigree, Snell should slide right into that role on the offensive end while providing a definite upgrade defensively. I know, the bar was low, but still.
Ellington was a bright spot for the Pistons because he shot the ball well. Nearly 80% of his field goals came from behind the arc and he converted at a 37% clip. Most of his shots came on dribble hand-offs from Griffin or Drummond, and that isn’t really Snell’s game.
Just over 52% of Snell’s shots last season were zero-dribble, catch-and-shoot triples. Meaning he will literally stand in the corner and hoist from deep. If he converts at around 40%, as he has in each of the past three seasons, it will go a long way toward keeping the paint unclogged for Drummond, Griffin and Jackson.
Here’s the best part: Snell is the anti-Langston Galloway. When he was wide open, meaning no defenders within six feet, he shot 42.1% from three last season.
Snell is going to play – a lot – and he might end up taking five or six triples a game. Most of them will be open, and if he can convert at or above that 40% clip, it will go a long way toward keeping the Pistons’ offense moving in the right direction.