A dive into the Detroit Pistons’ ugly bench numbers

Cory Joseph #18 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Cory Joseph #18 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

After two consecutive losses in back-to-back nights, one glaring weakness in the Detroit Pistons’ roster is visible.

In the last two games, Detroit’s bench unit has been out scored 124-51.

The Pistons were without Isaiah Livers, the forward expected to be a primary bench option this season, and Alec Burks and Marvin Bagley III have also been out, we’ve not seen the full bench unit yet.

But Detroit hasn’t gotten enough production out of its secondary unit. Against Indiana yesterday, Livers made his debut, scoring eight points.

Nonetheless, the Pistons’ bench was out scored 60-29 in a 124-115 loss to the Pacers.

Indiana’s bench was bolstered by their rookie lottery pick Benedict Mathurin, who was selected right after Jaden Ivey in the NBA Draft this past summer. Mathurin, along with center Goga Bitadze, led the Pacers off the bench with 27 and 14 points, respectively.

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As Detroit awaits the season debut of MBIII and Burks, and eases Livers back into the rotation, they’ll likely have to look elsewhere for scoring production outside of their starting lineup.

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Killian Hayes, Hamidou Diallo, and Corey Joseph are the three guards seeing rotational minutes off the bench.

Jalen Duren should develop into a solid front court presence for Detroit’s second unit this year if he doesn’t play his way into the starting five eventually.

However, in a game where all of Detroit’s starters scored in double figures, the Pistons will have to be more reliant on the aforementioned players to generate more offense.

In the first three games, the Pistons’ bench unit ranks 28th in the NBA in field goal percentage (37.2%), last in  free throw percentage (42.1%), and 22nd in points per game (27.0).

While it’s still incredibly early, there’s reason for concern considering how productive Detroit’s second unit was last season.

Last year, the Pistons bench ranked in the top ten in points per game (38.9), minutes (18.8),  and assists (8.8). The bench also led the NBA in free throws per game at 6.7.

Simply put, the Pistons’ secondary rotation was a steady source of offense throughout the course of last season.

As Detroit looks to take another step forward this year, they’ll need a similar output from a bench core that’s certainly capable of putting boards on the board.

It’s only been three games, but this will be an important aspect to monitor moving forward.

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