Full Court Review: Pistons off to a great start

James Ghimire, Sports Editor

Last season in the NBA was disappointing for the Detroit Pistons, with Detroit finishing tenth in the Eastern Conference at 37-45 after making the playoffs the year before. However, this year, they’ve turned it around. Now third in the Eastern Conference, they are notably tied with the San Antonio Spurs and a game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Detroit has become better this year by keeping their top ten points per game defense intact while improving their offense enough to take advantage of their point prevention.

Their offense has gotten better mainly because their two top players, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, have improved drastically. Drummond has improved his passing game. He’s assisted 15 percent of Detroit’s shots while he’s on the floor, tripling his career mark. While his turnovers have increased as a result, the positive outweighs the negative.

At the same time, the far more noticeable improvement that Drummond has made in his free throw shooting, a severe issue for him for most of his career. Before this season, he had been a notoriously poor free throw shooter, converting on 38.7 percent just from the free throw line. This season, he’s worked it all the way up to 60 percent, an astronomical improvement from previous years.

In addition to this, Drummond has also kept doing what he does best. He leads the league in rebounds by a comfortable margin, leading the league in offensive boards and overall rebounds. His rebounding allows Detroit to play more spread out due to his presence, and on offense he can help with second chance points.

Reggie Jackson has also surged back into prominence after an off year, coming back from a torn ACL. His playmaking ability off the pick and roll with Drummond is the basis of their offense, with Jackson able to either finish through the teeth of the defense or pass it for an easy score.

Since he has this much versatility off the pick, teams will sometimes crowd him on the drive, which sets up a pass to an open man for an uncontested shot.

The Pistons have been playing much better basketball by building on the foundation that their defense gives them and having an offense to take advantage of opposing teams scoring less. Playing at the slow, pound it out pace that Detroit has hung their hat on since the bad boys era, they’ve shown that they can impose their will even in this increasingly run-n-gun fast paced NBA.

James Ghimire is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.