Just a few weeks ago, the Detroit Pistons were the No. 2 seed in the East and were one of the darlings of the early season. We thought the transformation would stick — Andre Drummond was hitting free throws, Tobias Harris had picked up his game, and Detroit was defending well. They looked like a top four seed in the East.
Since then, the Pistons have dropped 7 in a row.
The defense has remained decent, but the Pistons have the worst offense in the NBA in that time, scoring less than a point per possession and with a horrific team True Shooting Percentage of 49.6. After Tuesday’s loss to Denver where the Pistons scored just 85 points, a frustrated Stan Van Gundy called out his stars — Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and Reggie Jackson.
Van Gundy is right to be frustrated with his stars. Harris didn’t have one made basket from the field against Denver Tuesday, and Andre Drummond got outplayed by Mason Plumlee. That can’t happen if Detroit expects to win. In the last seven games, Stanley Johnson is shooting 25 percent (which is why he was coming off the bench Tuesday, Bradley 33.7 percent, and Ish Smith 36.1 percent, which is to say the issues are more widespread than just the stars. But Van Gundy is right, it all starts with them.
To be fair, Detroit also was in a tough stretch of games during this losing streak — Denver is a solid team (albeit they are without Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap) and they may be the worst team Detroit faced — but if the Pistons are a playoff team they are going to find some wins in there somewhere.
It’s just a slump and Detroit has plenty of time to turn things around. They face the Hawks next, that is a game the Pistons should win. But in the East right now playoff slots 6-9 are all tied at 14-13, with the Pistons being one of those teams. They are in a fight to make the playoffs now and need to turn the ship around sooner rather than later.