The Detroit Pistons could lead next stage of NBA evolution

Jalen Duren #0 of the Detroit Pistons and Jaden Ivey #23 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Jalen Duren #0 of the Detroit Pistons and Jaden Ivey #23 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

It’s no secret that the NBA has shifted toward prolific offense. The rules favor offense and demand an elite level of focus and discipline for effective defense. As the Detroit Pistons look to find their identity through their personnel, should they go against the grain in order to play to their strengths?

The most successful teams defend every possession every night. That hasn’t changed and never will. In recent years, teams like Boston, Milwaukee, and Golden State maintained their offensive identities, but when their defense wavered, they fell short.

Scoring can carry a team through the regular season and help a team gain a strong playoff position. It may be cliché, but offense wins games; defense wins championships.

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The Detroit Pistons have exceptional defenders in Isaiah Stewart, Ausar Thompson, and Killian Hayes. Marcus Sasser, Monte Morris, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, and Isaiah Livers are all strong defenders who play great team defense, and Cade Cunningham has the length and intelligence to be an excellent defender.

Offensively, the Pistons are obviously behind the curve. The addition of Joe Harris and Monte Morris should help shooting, and the roster looks to be more balanced going into next year than it was last season. Combine that with player development, and I expect the Pistons to compete offensively. I don’t, however, expect them to be a top offensive team.

They could be a top defensive team.

The Pistons have the personnel, youth, length, and athleticism to compete defensively every night. As teams take advantage of the rule changes to post astronomical numbers, the team that’s willing to defend every possession at a high level will be the team that dominates in the next stage of the NBA’s evolution.

The Detroit Pistons are too young and too raw to go into next season with domination as the goal. With defense on their minds, they can play to their strengths, their personnel, and, perhaps, their future.

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