Detroit Pistons: This Season Exposed Need For Toughness
The Detroit Pistons have struggled all season with toughness. Please don’t confuse that with effort, playing hard or anything to do with taking plays off. They’ve been outmatched and overpowered by teams with size despite their best efforts to “compete every night”. That goal, set by the players, was derailed by injuries, lack of chemistry and the variance of rookie development.
Despite the team taking a step back this season, the road ahead has to be more clear for Troy Weaver. Trading Saddiq Bey signaled there’s definitely “a plan” this free agency as Bojan Bogdanovic told HoopsHype.
That’s good news to hear, but one glaring weakness is the need for more toughness. It may be on Troy Weaver’s radar already.
“We’ve been at a disadvantage size-wise,” Weaver said. “If we can’t rebound and play at the rim, we don’t have a chance.” Weaver acknowledged performances against teams like the 76ers and Celtics has influenced his vision for the teams future. They have bigs that play a more physical brand of basketball and won games due to grabbing an extra rebound, or being able to play through contact and missed calls.
Even though Weaver sees a need for improvement, none of it matters if the current team leaders don’t buy in. “It’s not on the coaches it’s on us,” Isaiah Stewart said. “We know what to do, we just have to execute.”
Coach Dwane Casey said it’s more about consistency as the young team is learning to play the right way. Defensive toughness has been a constant refrain of his, while preaching patience with such a young team.
Weaver said the trade for 7 footer James Wiseman presented an opportunity to add a player who had the potential to contribute right away. When paired with Marvin Bagley they combined for five blocks against the Portland Trailblazers, before Wiseman fouled out.
All season the Detroit Pistons have spoken of their desire to play two big men at the same time. They believed it would help improve toughness, rebounding and more, and it was their plan the entire time. They started the season with Marvin Bagley, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and the hopes of playing two of them at the same time in many situations. But injuries forced them to keep the bigs separated in case of foul trouble, and delaying our look at the Pistons ‘big’ lineup.
Wiseman and Bagley haven’t been perfect on defense, but have presented some positives on both ends of the court. Over the last five games the Pistons have a 112.9 defensive rating, compared to 118.4 average on the season. During that stretch James Wiseman has averaged 11 points on 60% shooting, 8.4 rebounds and one bock per game. Marvin Bagley has been even more impressive with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during the same time frame.
This offseason will be critical for the Pistons and taking the next step in the restoration. They will have another high draft pick and money to spend this free agency. Fans on social media have clamored for names such as Cam Johnson, John Collins, Grant Williams and others to expedite the Pistons search for toughness.
Who do you think the Pistons should target either via draft or free agency to help bolster their toughness?
What’s Next for the Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons face Washington, Tuesday, March 7th at 7:00 PM.
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