Before the Pistons’ loss to the Clippers yesterday, I answered a few questions in a panel for ClipperBlog, including one about Detroit’s defensive issues:
Given their personnel, why have the Pistons struggled so much defensively?
Dan Feldman, Piston Powered, (@PistonPowered): The biggest letdown, based strictly on defensive ability relative to defensive output, has been Josh Smith. Miscast as a small forward, he’s struggled to chase quicker players around screens on the perimeter. Rodney Stuckey has underwhelmed too, sometimes relaxing on defense as he focuses on scoring during a contract year. Otherwise, the defensive problems have mostly been expected. Andre Drummond has high defensive potential, but he hasn’t mastered the finer points of help-side rotations. Brandon Jennings is only occasionally interested in defending, and even an engaged Jennings is just a so-so defender at best. Greg Monroe showed flashes of defensive improvement earlier in the year, but he’s regressed back to his typical subpar level. And with Maurice Cheeks in his first with the Pistons, confusion is still common.
If you read my game grades, you know I don’t blame the Pistons’ defensive problems totally on the players. But there are player-related issues, too.