The Detroit Pistons Chronic “Shooting Guard-Itis”

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons talks with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons talks with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope /

The Detroit Pistons have eased the pain of their chronic inability to lock down the shooting guard spot, but for how long? Will this treatment be the cure?

One of the most frightening injuries in the NBA is knee tendinitis: see Dwyane Wade and more relevant to fans of the Detroit Pistons, Reggie Jackson. The trepidation doesn’t come from any kind of debilitating pain, but rather an ominous foreshadowing of future future set-backs.

Similarly foreboding to an athlete’s knee tendinitis has been the Detroit Pistons’ shooting guard-itis. Since 2008-2009, Richard Hamilton’s last objectively good season for Detroit, both Pistons team architects, Stan Van Gundy and Joe Dumars, have unquestionably had the quirky ailment.


Shooting Guard-itis is the inability to maintain positional competence at the shooting-guard position over a pro-longed period of time. Positional competence can be defined as having a player who meets a certain threshold of defending, cutting, shooting, and play-making.

Related Story: Pistons trade Marcus Morris for Avery Bradley

Some common causes of shooting guard-itis are:

  • Failed free agents through injury or ineptitude (Ben Gordon, Jodie Meeks, Tracy McGrady(!)).
  • Poor trade acquisitions (acquiring Allen Iverson-not a point guard).
  • Poor trade departures (sending away Brandon Knight and a former second round pick, one who happens to be a top-three shooting guard in the East known as Khris Middleton).
  • Rich Paul (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s agent who is betting on Brooklyn failing to sign Otto Porter and heavily paying his client).


Some signs and symptoms of shooting guard-itis include some but not necessarily all of the following:

  • Lack of consistent shooting.
  • Lack of defense.
  • Cutting ineptitude.
  • Lack of play-making.

When to see a doctor

Symptoms can be treated by drafting a Danny Green-esque player (looking at you KCP), but when in a standoff with Brooklyn and Rich Paul it is time for further evaluation from a qualified doctor.

Prescription for the Detroit Pistons

Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower weren’t going to continue paying premiums for a middling team, especially staring at a luxury tax. If reports are accurate and KCP turned down $80 million over five years, he was no longer possible cure to the Pistons’ chronic illness. Instead, the doctor prescribed a trade of Marcus Morris for Avery Bradley and a second round pick.

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Over the past two years Bradley shot better than 38 percent from three (consistent shooting). He comes from a fluid, Brad Stevens-style, offensive system (cutting aptitude). He is a former first team all-NBA defensive player (defensive prowess); however he’s not a great play maker averaging just 2.1 assists/game over the past two seasons. That’s okay though. Remember, shooting guard-itis is about positional competence over time. If it wasn’t, every NBA franchise except the Warriors, Wizards, and Timberwolves would have it.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects of the Avery Bradley prescription include excessive games missed. Since KCP entered the league he has missed just 14 games. Over that same period Bradley has missed 60 games, not including the postseason games he has missed.

This prescription lasts one year

Avery Bradley is up for extension after this coming season. Barring injury or an unprecedented drop off of a promising player entering his prime, he will demand more than what KCP was offered.

Doctor’s Notes:

The diagnosis of the Detroit Pistons with shooting guard-itis isn’t an indictment on KCP. He was a solid consistent player who SVG and Pistons fans really liked. He played solid defense and got better offensively every year.

KCP rather encapsulates Detroit’s disease. Because of things Detroit couldn’t control: Brooklyn’s burning pockets, a shrewd agent, and a poor team season due to knee-tendinitis (get well soon Reggie) that scared Gores and Van Gundy away from the luxury tax, their shooting guard-itis has once again reared its ugly face.

Next: Pistons youngsters should benefit from Morris - Bradley trade

Hopefully Avery Bradley will provide the Detroit Pistons the immediate relief for the disease they so crave.

But be alert, Pistons fans. This disease will return.