Pistons aren’t woeful on the road (relatively), but their offense sure is

Firstly, when researching this post, I found a rather remarkable stat: the Pistons are one of three teams that haven’t beaten a team with a winning record this season. The others are the Kings, and thanks to the Trail Blazers’ loss to the Spurs last night, the Wizards. Game on, Sacramento and Washington.

Anyway, on to the crux of the post.

The Free Press ran an article yesterday headlined “Pistons woeful on road trips with 2-12 record.” Yes, that’s true, but it’s a little misleading.

The Pistons aren’t a bad road team. They’re a bad team.

Detroit is 5-6 (.455) at home, and 2-12 (.143) on the road. That drop of .312 ranks as 10th most in the league,* hardly a huge problem. Really, the Pistons are only slightly worse than expected on the road.

*The Wizards (6-4 at home, 0-12 on the road) rank first, and the Knicks (6-5 at home, 10-4 on the road) rank last.

But Perry Farrell’s article also included a spot-on point: the Pistons’ offense is remarkably worse on the road than at home. The Pistons average 102 points per game at The Palace of Auburn Hills and only 88.4 on the road.

Pace can’t explain this one. Detroit’s pace falls from 88.6 to 88.5 from home to road, but that’s not nearly significant enough to account for the points-per-game drop. The Pistons offensive rating drops from 111.9 to 99.1 from home to road.

In other words, they go from what would match the Suns for the best offensive rating this season to what would be the worst offensive-rating season since the Bulls and Raptors seven years ago.

And the extremeness of this road deficiency really lies only with the Pistons’ offense. For comparison, their defensive rating falls from 114.1 to 110.4 from home to road – or if you’re not a fan of advanced stats, from 104 to 98.4.

Farrell tried to find the root of the problem:

When asked about the scoring disparity between home and road games, Tayshaun Prince said: “Really? I didn’t know that. I don’t know why.”

Richard Hamilton said the same, as did Rodney Stuckey.

As did I, as did I.

Any ideas?

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