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Film Don’t Lie: Evaluating Detroit Pistons’ Dwane Casey and his playbook

I go to the film to look at what the Detroit Pistons are running in their offensive sets, ATOs and late-game situations

Golden State Warriors v Detroit Pistons Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

This will be the third installment of “Film Don’t Lie” looking at Dwane Casey and his offensive sets and actions. If you missed out on the first two, I took a look at what we were seeing in the preseason and then checked in again after we had seen Cade Cunningham in just one game.

For this breakdown, I paid close attention to two situations: ATO (After Time-Outs) or quarters AND end-of-game situations. We have plenty of material to work with considering the Pistons have played back-to-back games featuring two heart-breaking losses and fourth-quarter collapses against the Warriors and Lakers.

Late Game

I will start with the late game situation because I am sure this is where fans are most interested and intrigued after the way the Lakers game ended on Sunday night. Possibly the biggest takeaway for me after seeing the Pistons in this late-game scenario is the fact that the ball seems to be going to Jerami Grant not Cade Cunningham. I am not going to dive into that for this breakdown but more so where it seems like Jerami feels most confident in asking Dwane Casey to get him the ball in these situations. I start off by taking a look at the design and execution of three plays, one from the Warriors and two from the Lakers game, where this is the case. I then finished off the breakdown diving into the final play from the Lakers game, which I know everyone had their thoughts and opinions on.

ATO/Quarter

For this part of the breakdown I looked exclusively at actions that Casey ran ATO (After Time-Outs) or the start of games/halves/quarters. I did not put all of the clips in the breakdown but used an example or two to highlight the themes that came from these two games in this situation. The first is a look at the Spain Pick N Roll action and a few different ways the Pistons are getting into it. I also show a new wrinkle in the offense, and a couple actions we have seen. In both situations I liked what I saw because of the flow that the actions created. I finish the breakdown highlighting some of the “negatives” or “areas for improvement” that include execution and even know exactly what to do in each set. One final thing I did not show in the video but wanted to note was teams going zone against the Pistons in this scenario. I think it has started to happen enough that Casey and staff need to always have a zone action ready coming out of a time-out or starting a quarter.

I hope you enjoyed this re-visit of the Pistons offensive actions and sets! Please let me know if there are any specific actions or situations you would like me to highlight and look into for the next article.