The Detroit Pistons are showing signs of life despite losing six of their first eight games.
It began with a 128-114 victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors Sunday night, which provided a glimpse of the Pistons’ potential. Detroit followed up with a competitive 110-108 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks a night later. It is a small sample size, but this young Pistons team has shown it can compete with the league’s top teams.
In order for the Pistons to continue their upward climb Coach Dwane Casey must put out his best line up. He continues to tinker with it. Now it’s time to help the man out. Sometime, he does things with no rhyme or reason. Casey throws things against the wall to see what sticks.
Here are the Pistons’ best and worst lineup combinations so far this season.
(Note: To qualify for this list, the lineup combination must have been utilized in at least four games this season. We are already working with small sample sizes as is.)
The state of the starting lineup for the Detroit Pistons
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanović and Isaiah Stewart
This unit scores plenty but gives up too many points. This should not be a surprise because Cunningham and Ivey are natural scorers, who can create their own shots. Bey has shown potential as a self-creator and spot-up shooter and Bogdanović is one of the best shooters in the league. On the flip side, Bogdanović and Bey are also two of this team’s worst defensive players, and Ivey is going through the growing pains of a rookie trying to defend NBA players.
This lineup posts an offensive rating of 115.5. It’s not the best of Detroit’s lineup combinations but far from the worst. This group shoots 45 percent from the floor and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc.
With a defensive rating of 125.9, this lineup is among the worst Detroit has utilized in at least four games this season. This group averages a -4.7 box plus/minus as well.
This starting group is not bad. Over the past two games, it has performed well. All five starters scored in double-digits, including four with 20-plus points against the Warriors. Casey will continue giving this unit time to gel together.
However, it would not be a surprise if Casey experimented with the starting lineup once Duren, Alec Burks and Marvin Bagley III return from injury. Casey could split up Bey and Bogdanović to improve the starting unit’s defense.
One of the Detroit Pistons’ top defensive lineups is also its worst offensively
Cory Joseph, Killian Hayes, Hamidou Diallo, Isaiah Livers and Jalen Duren
This unit features two of the team’s top defenders and its leading shot blocker. So, it is not surprising that this is one of the Pistons’ best defensive groups.
It has defensive rating of 92, the best defensive rating of any lineup combination to play in four or more games. With a total of 23 minutes played in five games, it is the second most utilized lineup after the starting five. This lineup allows only 0.4 opponent second-chance and one fast break point per game.
Offensively, this lineup is abysmal. With a 72.9 offensive rating, it ranks last among lineup combinations used in at least four games. With Joseph, Hayes, Diallo, Livers and Duren on the court, the Pistons shot 34.2 percent from the floor and 20 percent from beyond the arc. This lineup averages a -2.2 plus/minus. Per 100 possessions, it is a -26.1 point differential.
This lineup brings it on the defensive end, but that benefit is negated by the nonexistent offense.
This is the Pistons’ best lineup this season based on statistics
Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanović and Jalen Duren
From an offensive and defensive standpoint, this lineup combination for the Pistons is the best Casey has put on the court.
In four games, this group boasts an offensive rating of 129.4. It shoots 75 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc. This group also averages a +1.8 box plus/minus. Per 100 possessions, it boasts a +52.9 point differential.
This lineup has a defensive rating of 93.8, the second-lowest mark among lineups to appear in at least four games for Detroit this season.
While this lineup is statistically possibly Detroit’s best, it is not utilized very often. This group averages just 1.7 minutes per game together. It is a small sample size, that’s shy it is impossible to say that this is Detroit’s best lineup combination.
With Duren’s ankle injury, it could be a few games before this lineup sees the court again. With more time together on the court, this lineup could prove either to be the real deal or a mirage.
(Featured Image Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports)