The Pistons lost three of four, including a home loss to the lowly 76ers and a hard-fought win over the lower Mavericks, then called a team meeting.
A 31-point loss to the Bulls.
“Team meeting, my a—,” Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy is right. Talk is cheap.
But the specific issues at play here are also worth digging into.
The team meeting seemed to focus on a lack of ball movement since Reggie Jackson‘s return from injury. Those offensive frustrations have carried over the defense, where effort has waned.
So, Jackson played the entire first quarter and didn’t shoot against Chicago – and the Pistons got outscored 35-19 in the period.
A lot of play calls were to get the ball moving, so getting it to another side and then just never got back to me.
We talked about how we needed to play defense, how the ball needed and how, I guess, ball movement promoted defense. So, I just tried to do my part by promoting ball movement. Unfortunately, we just didn’t do anything on the defensive end.
That wasn’t us. That was him. That wasn’t us. That was him.
This wasn’t Jackson taking what the defense gave him. He repeatedly dumped the ball off early in the shot clock and let someone else initiate the attack. For a team that predicated its offense around the Jackson-Andre Drummond pick-and-roll, it wasn’t a smart way to play.
This looked like Jackson rebelling against his griping teammates.
Jackson hasn’t looked fully healthy yet, and I think that’s the biggest reason for Detroit’s struggles with him. But nobody is showing much patience. Van Gundy vowed lineup changes for Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies.
Maybe this all self-corrects once Jackson rediscovers his burst off the dribble. In the meantime, the Pistons have to withstand this slump without pointing fingers to the point of long-term destruction.