The Detroit Pistons have set their starting lineup for the future with the addition of Tobias Harris, and the early outlook is very bright indeed.
The Detroit Pistons got the biggest haul of the NBA trade deadline in the form of Tobias Harris, and quickly integrated him into the starting lineup after Anthony Tolliver went down with a knee injury in the first game after the deadline against the New Orleans Pelicans.
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Without a doubt, the end game for Harris was for him to be a starter with Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris and Andre Drummond, but the injury accelerated the timetable. Although the Pistons’ results have been mixed since the trade deadline, with a 7-5 record over those 12 games, the squad’s outlook remains bright thanks to this young core.
Aside from Andre Drummond’s pending max contract offer this coming offseason, the Pistons’ core five-man unit is set for the foreseeable future. After Drummond is dealt with, the next Piston starter to come off the books is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at the end of next season when he’ll become a restricted free agent, and then Marcus Morris after the 2018-19 season.
That’s a lot of young guys under team control for a lot of years. While the Pistons’ debacle of and outing against the Washington Wizards on Monday night may make fans reconsider this fact, it’s very good for the future of the organization to have these young players under contract.
The Pistons lead the NBA with 22 games so far this season in which all five starters have scored in double digits, and while the majority of those games were with Ersan Ilyasova in the starting lineup instead of Harris, that’s a trend that should continue well into the future. With all due respect to Ilyasova, Harris is an upgrade at the position and his scoring punch is an improvement over what Ilyasova was able to offer.
If the previous starting lineup was able to put up balanced numbers across the board, the new and improved lineup can only be a step up.
The current Piston starting lineup of Jackson, KCP, Harris, Morris and Drummond has 443 possessions over 233 minutes under its belt (as of before Monday’s game) and are outscoring their opponents 113.2 to 106.7 points per 100 possessions, yielding a positive point differential of 6.5 points.
With some time and experience under their belt, this unit should continue to develop into one of the better young cores in the NBA.