We’re only four games into the season, so new head coach Monty Williams is still tinkering with lineups for the Detroit Pistons.
It hasn’t helped that Detroit is missing three rotation players, including Bojan Bogdanovic and Monte Morris, who were expected to play impact roles for the Pistons.
The most commonly used lineup has been the starting five for all four games, Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren, a group that has played 56 minutes together total.
They have an offensive rating of just 94.3 and a defensive rating of 112.3, so they’ve been a net negative this season even though this group has set the tone defensively. You’d expect the offense to struggle with no proven long-range shooters on the floor. The lacking of spacing has also contributed to the turnovers, especially for Cade Cunningham, who is being asked to do a lot and doesn’t have much space to do it, which has led to him leading the NBA in turnovers through four games.
So far, Monty Williams has been reluctant to shake things up, as getting Bojan Bogdanovic back will help solve some of the team’s offensive problems. You can’t overreact to lineup numbers this early in the season, but one group is standing out on both ends.
The best Detroit Pistons lineups on offense and defense
The way-too-early numbers suggest that Monty Williams may eventually have to make a move in the starting lineup, as he has one five-man group that is killing it on both ends.
Just looking strictly at lineups that have played at least 15 minutes together, the group consisting of Cade Cunningham, Alec Burks, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren has been the best, with a 140 offensive rating and a 71 defensive rating for an incredible 69.7 net rating.
When you switch out Killian Hayes for Alec Burks, you get a much better offensive team and lose little on defense, in fact, the team has been better.
This lineup has only played 15 minutes together and has been buoyed by Alec Burks’ red-hot shooting to start the season. He’s made nearly 54 percent of his 3-point shots so far, a number that obviously won’t hold up over the course of the year.
I also don’t think Killian Hayes is going to shoot 31 percent for the season, especially considering that once Monte Morris comes back, he could lose his spot in the rotation or at least see reduced minutes.
But it’s pretty clear what adding another shooter to the starting five can do for this team, which is what will likely happen when Bojan Bogdanovic returns and Killian Hayes heads for the bench. This is not a diss to Killian, who has been very good defensively and has made plays for the Pistons even though he’s not scoring.
The exciting news is that the Pistons’ bench has been very good and they’ve managed to start 2-2 even though two of their starters are shooting 31 and 32 percent from the field.
This is a tiny sample size so has to be taken with a massive grain of salt, but the Detroit Pistons look like they are going to be in great shape when they are back to full strength.