Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. There’s not a whole lot to like about the first two games of this western road trip, but who has impressed you most for the Pistons?
Dan Feldman: Andre Drummond. After a little lull, this has been the Drummond I hoped to see this season. He had 16 points, 16 rebounds, two steals and a block against Portland and then followed with 16 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks against Golden State. I’m not convinced this a turning point rather than a randomly positive spell, but for now, I’ll take bursts of brilliance from Drummond.
Jameson Draper: Drummond. He’s been killing it on the boards and playing relatively well on offense. There’s not much to discuss about his game other than that he’s a budding star, and he seems to be making small improvements with each game. He’s been really fun to watch.
Tim Thielke: Is there any answer besides Drummond? In the two games he has 32 points, 30 boards (15 of them offensive), four blocks, five steals, zero turnovers and hit 16-of-19 shots. If the Pistons had won those games, Drummond would probably have won Eastern Conference Player of the Week, something no current Piston but Rodney Stuckey has ever done.
2. Brandon Jennings was supposed to be trying to evolve into a true point guard. Early in this road trip, he’s been quite the opposite — is this a concern going forward for the now-struggling Pistons?
Dan Feldman: No more so than it was before. I never believed Jennings would magically transform into more of a passer, but I thought — and still do — his talent upgrade would help. Hopefully, Jennings find a happier medium, but the Pistons have much bigger fish to fry — mainly patching the holes in their defense.
Jameson Draper: I don’t think it’s an issue. I don’t know about everyone else, but I really like what Jennings is doing. He’s slowly breaking out of his former shell, averaging a career high in assists thus far. He’s spreading the ball around and shooting at a relatively efficient rate. I’d like to see him become a little bit more of a point guard, but I like what we have seen so far.
Tim Thielke: Yes, Jennings plays with some very efficient scorers in Greg Monroe and Drummond. He should make opponents pay when they focus on stopping those two, but he has been calling his own number far too often when that hasn’t been the case.
3. Josh Smith’s lackluster stretch reached a possible breaking point last night when Maurice Cheeks kept him glued to the bench for much of the massacre at Golden State. How do you think he rebounds these last two games?
Dan Feldman: I like Josh Smith‘s attitude. I doubt he’s fazed. There are few, if any, questions about his effort. For better or worse, I bet he goes back to being the same Smith he’s been his whole career, including so far with the Pistons.
Jameson Draper: He needs to quietly dominate. In the first half against Portland, I really liked what I saw from Smith. He was 4-5 from the field, distributing and playing stellar defense. That was the last good thing I’ve seen out of him. Hopefully in their next games, Smith can go under the radar and play some solid basketball.
Tim Thielke: Smith had a couple bad games. It happens to everyone. But he probably won’t spend much time in the next two games matched up with DeMarcus Cousins or Pau Gasol. Smith should dominate anyone else in those games.