Monty Williams implements stress test of Pistons’ discipline

Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons argues with referee Jacyn Goble (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images,)
Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons argues with referee Jacyn Goble (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images,) /

Monty Williams is testing the Detroit Pistons in practice right away.

Yesterday, it was reported that Williams was putting his team through some things in practice to see if they could keep their cool under pressure.

It was a stress test of sorts, a way to challenge their discipline, which has been an issue. The Detroit Pistons were often undisciplined last season, giving up easy points, which is a recipe for disaster for a young team that already had a hard time getting stops.

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There are two areas in particular where they need to improve and one that they can build upon for this season.

Detroit Pistons: Too many technical fouls

The Detroit Pistons were tied for the third-most technical fouls per game last season, which is unacceptable for a young roster trying to earn respect in the NBA. Ironically, it was their veteran, Bojan Bogdanovic, who led the team with 10 techs, while rookie Jaden Ivey was second with six.

The Pistons spent way too much time complaining to the refs, which is not only a way to give up easy points on technical free-throws, but can disrupt the flow of the game, get players ejected and is no way for a young team to be winning favorable whistles.

There are times when a technical foul is warranted, but I am certain Monty Williams, who is no stranger to getting T’d up himself, would much rather take them himself than risk one of his players.

The Detroit Pistons have to stay cool when calls don’t go their way, and don’t want to get the rep of a team that is always complaining.

The Detroit Pistons foul too much

Technicals weren’t the only types of fouls the Pistons were racking up last season, as they were 1st in the league in fouls per game. Part of this is that they had weak defenders on the perimeter that were getting blown by on a regular basis and had to use fouls to bail themselves out.

Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes and James Wiseman were the biggest offenders last season and often put the Pistons in the penalty early in quarters. This not only gives the other team easy points at the line, but changed how Detroit played defense, as they couldn’t be as aggressive. The Pistons gave up the second-most points in the paint in the NBA last season and this is part of the reason why. You can’t aggressively pursue blocks when you are in foul trouble and the other team is already in the bonus.

This speaks to their lack of defensive positioning, late rotations and not moving feet laterally on the perimeter, which are the things that often lead to fouls. It’s good to see Monty Williams has recognized this issue and knows that discipline is a big part of defense.

Something to build on

The Pistons committed a ton of fouls last season, but they also drew plenty of their own. Detroit drew the fourth-most fouls in the NBA last season, which is something they can build on.

Cade Cunningham should get more favorable whistles in his third season and his increased strength should help him fight through contact for more foul calls.

Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren often have athletic advantages that should get them to the line. Now they just have to start making them, as the Pistons were just 21st in free-throw percentage, hitting a mediocre 77.1 percent as a team. So they got to the line but were leaving too many of those freebies on the board, which is often the difference in close games.

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