The Detroit Pistons shot 53.3 percent from the floor last night. They made 46.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Detroit outrebounded Utah and had more assists. The Pistons got 31 points from Cade Cunningham, 36 from Bojan Bogdanovic, 27 from Alec Burks and another big double-double from Jalen Duren.
But they still lost the game.
Despite scoring 148 points, a franchise record in a loss, despite leading by double digits (the Pistons have lost seven games in which they led by double digits this season) and despite some big individual efforts, the Pistons still lost the game because they are not built to win.
The Detroit Pistons defense is atrocious
For all of the talk about building around defense this season, the Pistons play precious little of it. To be fair, they are not built to play defense.
They only have one plus defender on the roster, Ausar Thompson, and he is barely playing, logging just 11 minutes last night in the loss even though the Pistons could not get a stop.
Several of their defenders, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks and Isaiah Livers, are well below average, which offsets any positives they provide on the other end, except in the case of Livers, as he doesn't provide those either.
So it didn't much matter that the Pistons scored 148 points, as their defense was so bad that you knew they'd lose as soon as they missed a few shots. That's the problem with playing no defense: It puts too much pressure on your offense to score every time down the floor or risk the other team going on a big run.
The Pistons are currently 26th in the NBA in points allowed per game at 122.6, which is four points worse than last year. They are 28th in defensive efficiency and 28th in opponent's field goal percentage, with worse numbers than last season when they were the worst defense in the league.
The Pistons have not improved defensively and have actually gotten worse, which didn't seem possible.
Monty Williams called this a "learning experience" after the game, and I am sure it was. Unfortunately, the Pistons have been learning the hard way all season that if you don't play any defense, you have little chance to win no matter how well you shoot the ball.
It's clear this roster is not built to win as currently constructed. The Pistons need to play the only defender they have more, to find ways to get Ausar Thompson minutes even though he has shot poorly from 3-point range. Here's an idea, get him the ball somewhere else! Let him make plays, run pick-and-roll and get to the rim! This isn't that complicated, the kid can finish around the rim when he gets there, so find ways to get him moving with the ball instead of standing in the corner.
In addition to playing their only good defender, which seems like a no-brainer, the Pistons need to add defense to this roster. They need *gasp* players who can defend AND shoot, not one or the other or neither.
If this all seems like common sense that's because it is. The Pistons aren't built to win, even on their best night.