Detroit Pistons: Can Stanley Johnson fit in Dwane Casey’s new system?

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 4: Stanley Johnson
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 4: Stanley Johnson /

Stanley Johnson will be entering the final year of his contract with the Detroit Pistons. Will he fit into Dwane Casey’s new system?

In 2015, Stanley Johnson was the eighth overall selection by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA draft. After having three disappointing seasons, there’s a new regime in charge in Detroit.

He was drafted to be a centerpiece to a Pistons team that was on the rise. Instead, he was a bit of project piece. The years that followed were frustrating for a lot of fans to watch.

That’s not completely on Johnson, however.

Under former head coach Stan Van Gundy, it never seemed like there was a place for Johnson in his system. He wasn’t used to reach his full potential.

Detroit Pistons misuse of Stanley Johnson

Last season, Johnson averaged eight points and three rebounds a game. He assumed the starting role for 50 of the 69 games that he played in.

Under former head coach Stan Van Gundy, it never seemed like there was a place for Johnson in his system. He wasn’t used to reach his full potential.

He was placed out on the floor among many guys that can’t shoot from the outside. Neither can Johnson and it’s been proven over the course of the last three seasons. Yet, Johnson’s three-point rate increased in each of his three seasons with the Detroit Pistons.

This has caused him to post a negative offensive win share output in each of those seasons. Essentially, Van Gundy was expecting a guy who isn’t a shooter to be a spot-up shooter on the floor with a bunch of guys that can’t shoot outside of Reggie Bullock.

There’s something wrong with that method. Once Johnson would go cold and frustration was clear, Van Gundy would pull him from the game. These are NBA players, but those types of actions have a play on someone’s confidence.

Can he thrive in a new system?

Dwane Casey has openly spoke about how he wants to place an emphasis on shooting from the outside and attack the rim offensively. There’s a place where Johnson can thrive in that system.

Johnson came out of college with the ability to suffocated an opposing defense with attacking the basket and squeezing everyone into the paint. He even showed signs of that in Detroit at times.

This video above should be a blueprint of what to do with Stanley Johnson. He started the game by being aggressive and attacking the rim. As the game goes on, Johnson then branches out and begins to do more on both sides of the ball. That’s soley because of confidence. It’s visible.

If Casey can find a way to get him on the floor with a few shooters around him, Johnson could take a next step with his game offensively.

With a coaching staff letting him play freely and confidently, there is an opportunity there to improve his shooting. The answer is he can thrive in Casey’s system under the right circumstances.

Casey and others on his staff have spoken very highly of Stanley Johnson. A lot of it comes back to confidence. Here’s what assistant D.J. Bakker had to say about the matter.

"“I think he could be better than a league-average shooter. Coach Casey, one of his greatest strengths is giving players confidence and belief in themselves. With shooting, confidence is the most important attribute. More important than form or anything like that, it’s the confidence and the belief that, A, my coach wants me to shoot it and, B, when I shoot it I believe it’s going to go in.”"

Overall, there are no more excuses for Johnson. He’ll likely be on the floor with the likes of Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, and other great shooters.

Johnson will also be playing under a coach that is known for his ability to develop talent. It’s now or never.