Stewart and Burks come to play
One final similarity in Detroit’s wins this season is the play of Isaiah Stewart and Alec Burks. The obvious opinion would be that when Cade Cunningham or Jaden Ivey plays well, Detroit wins, right? Surprisingly, all four wins were actually fueled by Isaiah Stewart and Alec Burks rather than Cade and Ivey.
In two of Detroit’s wins, Stewart ended the night with the highest plus/minus on the court. In the other two, it was Alec Burks. While plus/minus is often disputed, it still gives a decent idea of who played well. Stewart was a starter in three of the four wins this year, but Burks has come off the bench in each one.
Putting it all together
So what does this mean for Detroit? How do they extract what they did well in their wins, and replicate it? Likely the easiest thing for the Pistons to enforce on a nightly basis is crashing the boards. Specifically on offense, if Detroit controls the rebounding battle, their odds of winning increase tremendously. This keeps their offense alive for a second chance.
Which leads us to the second similarity that Detroit must attempt to replicate more often. Their offensive efficiency must be above that of their opponent and far better than it has been this year. Because of their below average defense, Detroit’s offense must pick up the slack to give them a fighting chance. Their offensive efficiency rating has to be at least the league average, if not better. This may seem like an obvious point of emphasis, but the fact still remains that if Detroit’s offense is efficient, they steal a game.
Finally, and likely the most important similarity in the Piston’s wins and losses this year, Isaiah Stewart and Alec Burks have to be heavily involved in the rotation. The two of them have driven this team to each of Detroit’s wins this year, and their impact can’t be overstated.
With that being said, however, I think that it is actually less about Stewart and Burks, and more so positional importance. When Isaiah Stewart is playing well, Detroit has a smaller five and/or a serviceable stretch big. That is a glaring need for this roster, and when they get production from this position, it clearly leads to wins.
For Burks, his recent success as a scorer and from deep are directly related to Detroit wins. On a nightly basis, you can expect Cade to likely average over 20 points per night, but having another lights out scorer from anywhere on the court is the difference between a win or loss. Whether Detroit utilizes these two in a bigger way to create more wins, or they go out and get players at the deadline, this is the largest driving force for Detroit moving forward.