In his second year, Andre Drummond is already one of the best big men in the NBA.
He is also one of the most misused.
The Pistons are a better team when they get the ball to Andre Drummond. Detroit is 15-15 when Drummond scores 10 or more points, 2-8 when he scored less than 10. Granted Drummond gets a bunch of out back points from offensive rebounds but is just as effective when he gets the dish. Drummond has a career 60% field goal percentage. By far the highest on the team.
To further illustrate this, the Pistons are 7-7 when Brandon Jennings has 10 or more assists. 10-16 when he has less than 10.
Flawed Offensive Game Plan
In the Pistons current offense Drummond averages just 9 shots per game. Compare that to Brandon Jennings (20 shots) and Josh Smith (19) and the reason for the Pistons offensive struggles become more clear. Clearly Maurice Cheeks is running his offense through Smith and Jennings.
The problem with this strategy is that Jennings and Smith are the teams worst shooters. They often lead the team in scoring but only because of the number shots more than doubles that of the higher percentage shooters like Andre Drummond. Every errant shot by Smith or Jennings constitutes a missed opportunity to score. Getting the ball down low helps the Pistons maximize those scoring opportunities with high percentage shots from a high percentage shooter.
The Detroit Pistons offense is at its best when they are creating points in the paint. Unfortunately, they lack a true point guard that is willing to assist the Drummond in the post up game.
Old School Approach
We aren’t breaking new ground here. Its old school, hard hat basketball. By controlling the paint and the boards you have a better chance to win. Feeding Andre Drummond (and Monroe that matter) the ball on the offensive end will increase points in the paint and open up more opportunities on the perimeter.
The Pistons offense often stalls in the second half because of the guard failure to dish the ball down low. The team get behind and tries to dig themselves out of trouble with perimeter shooting instead of grinding back by hammering the boards and playing defense. The results of this are reflected in their 17-23 record.
No doubt the basketball heads occupying the offices at the Palace already know this. So why is Maurice Cheeks continuing to employ a failing offensive strategy? There can only be two reasons…….and neither of them are good.
1. Cheeks believes that Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith will eventually become 60% field goal shooters despite the overwhelming statistical evidence that they will never shoot better than 46%.
2. Cheeks is coaching his players to get the ball to the Bigs and they just aren’t listening.
The solution to the Pistons offensive problem is simple. Get Drummond and Monroe the ball on offense and the team will score more points.
Reasonable basketball people can disagree about the how to fix the Pistons. But everyone can agree that the current plan isn’t working and a change needs to happen if the Pistons plan to make the playoffs.