This season has been an all around disaster for the Detroit Pistons. Now that the team looks to move on from their star Center, how should the Pistons go about the rebuild?
This season, the Detroit Pistons have been as good on the offensive side of the game as they’ve ever been. Despite missing significant time from Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson, according to basketball-reference.com, this season’s Pistons team would have the ninth best offensive rating in team history (109.4). In each of those other eight seasons, the Pistons made the playoffs every single time. However, there’s a flip side to this season that didn’t exist during those others, which is the Pistons being dreadful on defense.
If Detroit kept up their current pace of points allowed per 100 possessions (112.1), it would be the second worst defensive Pistons team of all time, only behind the 1994-95 Pistons team that lost 54 games that season and was dead last in defense in the NBA.
So, what is to be done and where do the Pistons go from here? An Andre Drummond trade appears imminent, despite Drummond’s comments that he’d like to stay in Detroit, and Griffin already underwent season ending knee surgery.
If this team is going to tear it down, and it appears they will, then what is the blueprint for the rebuild? To me, trying to keep up with offenses in the current NBA is proving to be difficult for this team’s current roster construction.
The best “wing” defender on this team is Bruce Brown and I’ve warmed up significantly to Brown’s overall effort and progression, especially offensively, but he’s primarily guarding the ones and twos for the other team and not necessarily guys out on the wing. Our best options right now are Markieff Morris and Tony Snell, both of which are having decent offensive seasons, but they’re getting cooked on the defensive end with defensive ratings of 113 and 117 respectively.
Drummond by far is the best Pistons player on defense, currently with a defensive rating of 102. A future without him is going to need to address the glaring hole of defending the basket once he’s gone.
These steps I believe will bring the Pistons back to relevance as a playoff team and provide a solid foundation for contention.