The Projected Starting Lineup’s Roles

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 28: Andre Drummond
AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 28: Andre Drummond /

The Detroit Pistons starting lineup has a couple different forms it could take, and here we’ll go over what the roles in those offenses are.

The Detroit Pistons had a mediocre offense last year. They were 25th in the league with a 103.3 offensive rating. However, they addressed many of their weaknesses this off-season.

Reggie Jackson suffered a heavy fall in performance last year, to beat the dead horse a little more. But much of that can be placed on his knee injury, and the rush to get him back to the court. With more time to prepare and a rehabilitation focused off-season, we could see his revival this year.

Like in the 2015-16 season, one way or the other, Jackson will be the most important player on the offensive end. His pairing with Andre Drummond is what led them to the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. He’ll be the primary ball handler, and most likely the first scoring option while running the pick and roll with Drummond.

Adding Avery Bradley, arguably the best on-ball defender in the league, will do wonders at the two for the Detroit Pistons. While being the best defender on the Eastern Conference first seed, he was the second leading scorer as well. We should see his scoring take a small jump this year as well, as his role will expand on a worse team.

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With the starting lineup on the court, we’ll likely see Bradley take up a secondary ball handling role. Off the ball, we’ll mainly see him scoring off of cuts and kick outs. He’s a good spot-up shooter as well, with an effective field goal percentage of 52.1 off the catch and shoot.

The forward spots are where things get interesting. There are two options at who will start at the three, and it’s partially dependent on who starts at the four spot. The two different starters for the three are Tobias Harris or Stanley Johnson.

If Harris were to start at the three, we’d most likely see some iso ball when he got the rock. Harris is an extremely efficient scorer with a deadly mid-range game, but he can stop ball movement to get his looks. But he proved to be the team’s best scorer with an injured Jackson and a lack-luster Drummond, so expect to see him get more touches.

The other option at the three is Johnson. And stating it quickly and bluntly, he should be the fifth option on any offense unless he shows incredible improvement on his offense. His use on the offense should be ball movement and getting open looks from cuts. The upside he brings is on the defensive end, and would be why he starts.

The four spot is another complicated decision, and is dependent on whether Johnson is starting or not. If he is, we should see Harris start at the four. If Harris is the three instead, we’ll see Jon Leuer here. Both have their upsides.

If Harris starts here, we’ll see a lot of the same as we would if he was at the three. The main difference on offense would be his speed. If we see him matched up against the larger fours, he’ll have the speed to blow by them off the dribble, which means more drives for him.

However, if we have Leuer here instead, the four will be the fifth option on offense. This doesn’t mean he’s on the same level as Johnson, his offense is actually better when he’s at his best. We’ll see his scoring off of kick outs and cuts. And he can knock threes down efficiently, so this is a valid option, but Leuer’s defense is much worse than Johnson’s.

Andre Drummond is the only logical option at the 5, barring injury. Drummond had a bad year, along with the rest of the team, last season. But his nose surgery should help his breathing and conditioning, as he lost 30 lbs this off-season.

Drummond’s scoring should come off pick and rolls and put backs. That should be it, as he proved his post game was incredibly inefficient. We could see great things year from a new and improved Drummond.

Next: Stanley Johnson speaks about struggles and versatility

Overall, assuming they mesh, the Detroit Pistons new offense should be considerably better this year. Not only should the offense be more versatile, the Pistons could push to be one of the better defenses in the league with Bradley and Johnson. This new year should be one to look forward to.