Moving into the forwards, rookie Ausar Thompson had his most difficult month to date. As Jaden Ivey was bounced around into and then out of the starting lineup, Ausar was often on the other side. As opposed to starting 14 of their 15 games in November, Ausar started just six games in December. His numbers dropped extensively and his offensive weaknesses became a huge liability. It’s not all his fault, however. Ausar’s game is best paired with NBA caliber shooters, something this roster is lacking. Once relegated to a bench role, Thompson’s other numbers unfortunately dropped as well.
The Pistons did get a spark on the offensive side in the month of December as Bojan Bogdanovic was able to return from injury. We’ll compare his December numbers to his stats from last year as he wasn’t able to play in November. He is performing essentially exactly as he did last season. His three- point attempts are slightly up, but his percentage is slightly down, from 41 to 39 percent. Additionally, his points per game are a point and a half less than last year, but still is at 20.3 per game. Regardless of progression or regression, adding an offensive player such as Bogey makes this team leaps and bounds better than they were in November.
Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers have been both used in strange, unique ways. Marvin Bagley, although battling through back spasms for most of the month, actually performed well. He averaged almost 11 points per game in December, but Monty decided to move away from the big man out of Duke towards the end of the month for unknown reasons. Livers, similar to Alec Burks, has vastly underperformed this season. Granted, he did begin to see some shots fall as the month went on, but he must truly embody what Monty Williams is all about because he continued to see more and more minutes even though he averaged just 2.9 points and 17 percent shooting from deep in December.
One surprise in this group was that of Kevin Knox. Detroit found themselves extremely thin at the 4/5 a few times in the month of December, more on that in a minute, and Knox performed valiantly. When Bagely was not able to go, Kevin slid in well and held his own. Unfortunately for Knox, similar to Marvin Bagley, Monty Williams seems to prefer Isaiah Livers.
Finally, Joe Harris only saw the court in three games throughout December, continuing his case for worst offseason acquisition of the year.