Detroit Pistons’ Offensive Woes Causing Losses


The Detroit Pistons’ success has been one of the great surprises during this young NBA season, but their offensive struggles are causing them to lose some winnable games.

After an exciting comeback win in Portland on Sunday, the Pistons have lost their last two games to the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, bringing their record to 5-3. Though the Pistons have showed promise of being a good team this season, they have some things to figure out.

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Elite rebounding and stretches of excellent team defense have allowed this team to steal some wins to this point, but the lack of efficient scoring has been too much to overcome as of late.

On the offensive end, the team has shot at a mediocre rate from the floor, ranking in the bottom tenth of the NBA. Many players are fighting through shooting slumps, and have to lean heavily on Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson to create offense for them. Although there are multiple players on the roster who are effective scorers, many of them thrive in catch-and-shoot situations and are not efficient in creating their own offense.

While Drummond’s post game has improved each season he has been in the league, he still has a long way to go to become an elite threat from the post. Drummond does not feature an array of moves in the post, and gets most of his points through pick-and-rolls, offensive put backs, and his new-and-improved hook shot.

Nov 11, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) controls the ball between Sacramento Kings center

Kosta Koufos

(41) and forward

DeMarcus Cousins

(15) during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Detroit Pistons 101-92. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Although he does see some double teams in the post, teams are not making it a priority to stop him down low. If he were able to command more double teams, the array of three-point shooters Stan Van Gundy has surrounded him with would be able to get more clean looks from outside. Drummond will have to continue to work to improve his post game and decision making out of a double team.

Jackson has been the focal point of the offense, working off pick-and-rolls and getting to the paint, things he does an elite level. However, he has a tendency to over dribble, causing the offense to stagnate at times because of a lack of movement off the ball.

Jackson needs to improve on setting his teammates up for open looks; either off a drive and kick or from plays called from the bench. Teams with the best offenses in the league, such as the Warriors or San Antonio Spurs are known for great ball movement and getting everyone involved.

Van Gundy’s offensive scheme features a lot of pick-and-rolls and three-point shots off of the drive, so this would be a different concept to add to the Pistons’ scheme.

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The Pistons team also needs a release valve to go to when Jackson and Drummond are having trouble getting their shots to fall.

Marcus Morris filled this role early in the season, but he has cooled off as of late, seeing drops in his shooting percentages and point totals. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has shown flashes throughout his career of being able to create his own offense, but is still struggling to do this consistently.

Someone in the starting lineup or off the bench will need to step their game up if the team wants to go back to their winning ways of this young 2015-16 NBA season.