Pistons news: Jalen Duren and some big problems for Detroit

Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Last night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies could end up being a key date in the history of the Detroit Pistons.

It was the first start for rookie Jalen Duren, who worked his way into the starting lineup after coming off the bench in his first 24 appearances.

It was a move that needed to be made, as Marvin Bagley III is far too inconsistent and doesn’t offer the rim protection the Pistons need to try and improve their 29th ranked defense, though MBIII did have four blocks last night.

Duren didn’t disappoint in his first go as a starter, logging a double/double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. He looked like a much better fit with Isaiah Stewart, who has been red-hot of late from long range, hitting over 44 percent in his last 15 games.

This is no longer a small sample size, and after going 3-of-6 last night, Beef Stew is shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range on the season. He and Duren look like the front court of the future and MBIII is far better coming off the bench, when he can just be a scorer and not have to defend the other team’s best big.

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But the Detroit Pistons new starting front court did run into some big problems last night.

Detroit Pistons: Points and the paint and fouls

Detroit’s newest starting front court didn’t fare much better when it came to stopping points in the paint. The Pistons are 29th in the NBA in points in the paint allowed this season, and didn’t help their case last night.

The Grizzlies are 2nd in the NBA in PITP, so it wasn’t surprising that they ate against the Pistons, but last night was ridiculous, as Memphis scored an unbelievable 68 points in the paint, 28 more than the Detroit if you were wondering why they lost the game.

This isn’t all on the bigs of course, as the Pistons’ guards and wings need to stop dribble penetration and keep the opposing guards out of lane, which they did not last night, allowing Ja Morant to carve them up for 12 assists.

The Detroit Pistons don’t block many shots, but they are also not getting good point of attack defense on the perimeter, two things that have to change before this team can really be competitive.

The Pistons also hacked away last night, committing 29 fouls that led to 32 free throws for the Grizzlies. The fact that Memphis only made 17 of them is the only reason this final score wasn’t more lopsided.

It was great to see Duren get his first start and I have a feeling it’s a spot he is not going to relinquish this season. Duren is soaring up the rookie rankings and will have a shot at the All-Rookie team with increased minutes.

But the Detroit Pistons have to do something about their defense, which is giving up way too many points in the paint with plenty of blame to go around.

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