The Detroit Pistons are showing this season that an NBA team is about more than just the names on the roster. Despite a major upgrade in talent, the Piston’s have struggled to a 4-7 record this season. So far the doubts about how this roster would mesh seem justified. Why exactly has the team played so poorly though? It starts with a major commitment to a player many thought would sign elsewhere.
This offseason the Pistons made a splash when they signed free agent Josh Smith to a four year 54 million dollar contract. This move puzzled many analysts because with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond already in the mix, Josh Smith would have to play major minutes at small forward where he is not a very efficient offensive player. I thought perhaps Drummond would come off the bench and Smith could play power forward but Detroit is starting all three players so far this season. With Drummond and Monroe clogging the paint Josh Smith has spent too much time on the perimeter. Everyone knows he is a poor jump shooter, and in his return to Atlanta last night fans were actually cheering whenever they saw him rising up for an ill advised jump shot. This has led to Smith having a career low in field goal percentage this year and he is also shooting more three pointers than ever before. I still believe Josh Smith is a good player, but when he is used like this he becomes a real liability on offense. Ideally he is cutting to the hoop and attacking the rim off the dribble but the Detroit offense frankly doesn’t have a lot of movement. In the game against Atlanta the offense was reduced to a series of isolation plays for Monroe and Smith with some bad shots by Brandon Jennings mixed in. Needless to say that is not a winning formula. Continue reading