Should Hot Start for Detroit Pistons Make Them Appear as Threat?
With a massive victory against the defending champion Golden State Warriors under their belt, the 7-3 Detroit Pistons have been one of the hottest teams out of the gate in the early goings of the young regular season.
But as the saying goes, it’s still early.
Impressive as they may appear, is this Detroit Pistons team for real? While maybe not at the level of championship contender just yet, is this Pistons squad at the very least a threat in the Eastern Conference?
Through the first ten games of the season, the only real threat in the East seems to be the Boston Celtics, winners of their last eight straight, despite losing All-Star Gordon Hayward just minutes into the first game of the season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are scuffling as they try to fit new pieces into their system, while awaiting the return of some star players who are hanging around on the injury list. The Washington Wizards have just lost John Wall for who knows how long. The Milwaukee Bucks are still awaiting the return of Jabari Parker, and the Toronto Raptors, well, they’re the Toronto Raptors – who knows?
This creates an opening for the scorching hot Pistons.
But what makes them appear so different from last year, when they only made one very noticeable upgrade. Moving on from Marcus Morris and acquiring Avery Bradley was huge. While never the sexy name in Defensive Player of the Year talks, Avery Bradley may very well be the best wing defender in the entire league. Bradley may make Morris a forgotten name of last year’s Pistons roster, he does not make up for the loss of guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Yes, between the two, who wouldn’t want Avery Bradley, but when you add Morris into the equation, a simple one-for-two shouldn’t make the Pistons a threat, should it?
To access how legitimate this overnight sensation Pistons team is, diving straight into the numbers may just give us the answer we are looking for.
From an offensive perspective, they are doing quite a bit better than the tenth place Eastern Conference team they were last season. They are ninth in offensive rating, which may seem neat, but looking deeper into their offence, it doesn’t seem very maintainable. The Pistons currently sit 17th in points per game, 25th in pace in a league where you can be flat out burnt for a slow style of offence, are 13th in field goal percentage and 15th in three-point percentage.
Things do in fact look better on the defensive side of the ball for the pistons. Sitting pretty at eighth in the league for points per game, they are still only 14th in defensive efficiency. And it only gets worse from there. The Pistons are in the bottom third for highest allowed three-point percentage and the bottom third for overall opponent’s field goal percentage. Even with the big Andre Drummond roaming the paint, the Pistons are 25th in the league in rebounding and have a negative net rebounding rating.
While being one of the best teams and not turning the ball over, the Pistons as a whole have quite a number of flaws and their early season record nor their win against the Warriors should convince anyone otherwise.
At the end of the day, the Pistons may very well crack the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but everyone knows that that doesn’t mean much. The Pistons do have some nice players. Every team does. But with the inability of effeciently moving the ball, rebounding the ball well, or being tremendous on at least one side of the floor, the Pistons will come to a point where they will begin to stumble and when that does come – their fall from grace will quickly follow.