The Detroit Pistons scored 106 points against the Portland Trail Blazers last night, five points below their season average which is 24th in the NBA.
They were one of the few teams that didn’t have an offensive explosion last night, as we saw several individuals go off, including Donovan Mitchell, who dropped 71 points for Cleveland. If you were wondering if that trade worked out for the Cavaliers, it did.
LeBron James added a 42 point game, Joel Embiid dropped 42, DeMar DeRozan went for 44 and Klay Thompson put in 54 while knocking down 10 from long range. And that was just last night.
We’ve been seeing individual and team scoring performances unlike anything we’ve seen since the days of Wilt Chamberlain, with players going off for 50+ points an incredible 13 times already this season, and it is not half over.
The NBA is on pace to be near the record for 50 point games, and is crushing it if you take away the time Wilt Chamberlain personally scored 50+ points 30 times in a single season.
But it’s not just individual performances, team scoring is up all around the league. We’re in the midst of an offensive explosion but it has largely missed the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit Pistons missing the offensive explosion
It should first be noted that the Detroit Pistons’ offense has been much better than last season, so this wave of offense hasn’t completely passed them by. It’s their defense that has been historically bad, so you could live with this offense if they were a top-10 defensive team, but they aren’t even close.
But even though the offense has improved from last season (a very low bar to clear), it is still not keeping pace with the rest of the league.
According to Basketball Insiders, the league has the highest offensive rating (111.3) in its history and is also shooting the highest free-throw percentage (78%) and has the highest effective field goal percentage (54%) we’ve ever seen.
The Detroit Pistons are doing their best to lower those numbers, as they are one of eight teams in the league with an offensive rating that is lower than the league average. While teams like the Boston Celtics have an offensive rating of 118 per game, the Pistons are just below league average at 111.2, near the bottom of the league.
Their free-throw percentage is also below the league average and their 51.5 percent effective field goal percentage, which is the lowest in the NBA, is nearly three percentage points lower than the league average.
The Pistons have only had a player score 30 or more points four times this season and three of them were by Bojan Bogdanovic, with the other from Cade Cunningham before he got hurt.
We’ve never seen offense like this in the NBA, and it seems like new scoring marks are being set just about every night. But it’s still brick city in Detroit, whose offense has not improved with inflation, putting them in a scoring recession.