Week 2 of Detroit Pistons basketball has been marked by defense. It’s not that the team as a whole defended something specific … other than the pole position for lottery odds. Rather, we saw a bunch of plays from its youngsters that might be the beginnings of a foundation of a tough in the future.
And yes, you heard me right. It was the youngsters that started the whole thing, not the veterans – which isn’t so much surprise since we know that Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Mason Plumlee are varying degrees from “meh” to “oh, lord, no, my eyes” on defense. It wasn’t even the young veterans like Jerami Grant and Delon Wright — as the former occupied an even bigger offensive role in the second week due to Blake’s absence, and the latter was occupied mostly with warming the bench until the game against the Suns.
It all started with the newly configured backcourt duo of Killian Hayes and Josh Jackson. Both of them make life uneasy for every ball possessor in the neighborhood with those kind of deflections.
Killian was so eager at making them that he was among the league leaders in deflections until he went down to injury. He also added some more clearer example of his on-ball D that was one of his trading marks in Europe.
Unfortunately, we’ll need to wait for some time, hopefully, sooner than next season, to see more as Hayes injured his hip severely in the third game of the week. However, as much as this sucks, we need to remember that Pistons guards had a history of coming back from their injuries to bring ships to Motown.
Josh, in turn, focused on adding some interior defense to the mixture of the deflections, as can be seen in this block and a charge he took.
Sekou Doumbouya and Saddiq Bey want to be defensive difference-makers but sometimes struggled with mental mistakes on switches, positioning and closeouts.
But they quickly went to the other extreme. And thus, Sekou displayed some really good feel to guard both smaller and bigger playmakers on the ball.
He also made himself known for nice off-ball D with his own handful of deflections. Saddig tried to second him in both aspects.
Besides working his butt off on the same two fronts of on- and off-ball D, Svi Mykhailiuk added an exhibition of some nice-looking rotations on the perimeter.
Svi’s on and off ball D
Isaiah Stewart, in turn, showed some good stuff on interior D and pick and roll drop coverage last week.
However, he had plenty of mistakes mixed in between those solid plays.
Saben Lee so far seen only 12 minutes of NBA action, but it was enough to make a lot of great defensive plays.
As time went on, the hard-nosed defense eventually trickled down to the older guys on the team. Thus, Jerami Grant, who has been carrying a star-like load on offense to the point of being more reserved on defense, reminded himself that he’s already a star on the other end of the floor with stops like this.
Mason Plumlee, in turn, reminded himself that he’s tall enough to block shots.
Derrick Rose, in turn, reminded himself that he’s so fast that he can recover even when he’s behind and block his opponent.
Delon Wright – that he’s tall enough to do the same.
Blake – that he’s great at taking charges.
And even Wayne Ellington turned out to be a competent defender from time to time.
And when it all, well most of it, started clicking, the Pistons were so good that they used their defense to power a record braking lead, holding opponents scoreless until the third quarter (just kidding).
Well, apparently then things started to un-clicking, because Detroit lost that game. Maybe it was because allowing Griffin to cover the opponent’s best scoring option in the game’s most crucial play is a really dumb idea.
Yep, it seems as probable as the fact that this porous perimeter and interior defense are decisive for our position in the standings.
Pistons’ bad perimeter defense
Pistons’ bad interior defense