Despite nearly blowing a 14 point fourth quarter lead last night the Detroit Pistons defeated the Atlanta Hawks by one point to win their 6th game in 7 outings. Detroit would have won 7 in a row if it weren’t for their double OT loss in Atlanta the day after Christmas. Considering that Lawrence Frank’s team started 7-21 we need to ask if Detroit is for real.
Items in their favor include the team’s youth, offensive rebounding ability and interior defense. Overall Detroit is middle of the pack in the NBA in both offense and defense which is pretty good since Frank has two rookies, one second year and one third year player in his 7 man rotation. Rookie center Andre Drummond has been coach Frank’s standout player, in fact The NBA Geek informs us that the center leads all rookies in wins produced with 4.7.
In addition to Drummond’s terrific defense (3 blocks/36 mins), veteran Jason Maxiell is chipping in 2 blocks/36. The big guys are the reasons for Detroit’s defense holding opponents to the 8th lowest field goal percentage in the NBA.
Detroit has some weak spots offensively. The primary concern is third year big man Greg Monroe. As his FGA’s have increased his points/shot have steadily decreased from 1.4 in his rookie year to 1.3 last year to just 1.2 in 2013. Since becoming a focal point on offense his turnover rate has increased as well (6th most turns in NBA this year).
If the latest resurgence of Austin Daye is for real then this could be a boon for Monroe. Daye, still just 24 years old has been awesome in 5 games since Christmas (11 points/game on only 7 shots). His 62% three-point conversion rate is the best in the NBA this season (min. 20 attempts).
It’s still early but considering their young players likely improvements and their eastern conference schedule there is a good chance that the Detroit Pistons sneak into the playoffs this year.