As far as I’m aware, the Detroit Pistons are not one of those franchises that employs a number of stat guys, and have assigned the assistant coaches and even the trainers (God bless them) to keep track of statistics.
If the Pistons were to heed the advice that the numbers provide after 82 games and 3,936 minutes, they’d draft a defensive-minded center at #8 and never look back, only hesitating if PG Kyrie Irving or SF Derrick Williams were still on the board (they won’t be).
- The Pistons finished as the third worst defensive team in the NBA last year, finishing only above the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. That’s right, we barely beat out a squad that starts defensive stalwarts Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. The defensive rating is a statistic that estimates the amount of points surrendered per 100 possessions, controlling for pace and including free throws, and the had a DRtg of 111.7. The season before under Kuester, they were at 111.4. To add some perspective, the 2004 championship team had a DRtg of 95.4, and the teams that made the Eastern Conference Finals (or more) for the next four seasons averaged 102.85 points surrendered per 100 possessions, according to basketball-reference.com.
- Detroit can’t excel defensively when there isn’t a defensive anchor or stopper in the entire roster. In fact, the Pistons scored the fifth-lowest amount of points in the paint and allowed the third highest efficiency rate for opponents in the paint. They ended the season tied for last place with the Golden State Warriors in the Deff, which is the Efficiency Recap – Opponent’s Efficiency Recap, meaning that overall the Pistons were overmatched in the paint on almost a nightly basis according to hoopsstats.com This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, as Charlie Villanueva has turned into almost an exclusive three-point shooter (as Rasheed Wallace did later in his career) who is not adept at man or team defense, Jonas Jerebko was injured for the entire season, we tried to play Austin Daye in the post (bust), Ben Wallace was held out of many games, Jason Maxiell misses dunks, and Chris Wilcox didn’t get a chance to shine until the season was all but wrapped up.
- A good way to be out-powered in the paint is by losing the rebounding battle, which the Pistons often did, amassing a league low 38.62 rebounds a game according to NBA.com, and finishing in the bottom six in rebounding differential (so we can’t really blame it on our having the slowest pace around). Beyond Greg Monroe, a nightly double-double threat, we didn’t have any rebounders capable of grabbing ten a game, with Ben Wallace’s 6.5 and Chris Wilcox’s 4.8 not being nearly enough support.
- When you trot out a lineup of poor rebounders, your only chance of preventing easy buckets is if you can block shots, or at least change shots with the threat of a rejection. Also according to NBA.com, the Pistons recorded the fewest blocks in the league last season, with 4 a game and a bottom eight differential, which can be explained away by our perimeter-oriented offense as it is harder to block a jumpshot than a layup.
- The Pistons graded out as having a bottom seven front-court overall and the third worst relative to their opponents. As the Pistons already have Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, and some combination of Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye at the PF position, the remedy to our frontcourt ailment must come in the form of a 5-man.