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John Schuhmann

Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe was one of the few bright spots for the Pistons in 2010-11.
J. Dennis/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images

StatsCube: Pistons look for fresh start, continuity


Posted Dec 2 2011 7:17AM

To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.

It's been a precipitous fall for the Detroit Pistons, from six straight trips to the conference finals from 2003-08 to 107 combined losses over the last two seasons. Though Detroit won three more games than it did the year before, the 2010-11 season was an ugly one, headlined by a player revolt against coach John Kuester.

They've still got a couple of holdovers from their championship squad, but the Pistons are looking for a fresh start with new owner Tom Gores, new coach Lawrence Frank and some young lottery talent.

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2010-11 BASICS
Record: 30-52
Pace: 91.6 (28)
Offense: 104.6 (15)
Defense: 109.0 (28)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

The Pistons were actually an above-average offensive team last season and the sixth most improved offensive team in the league, scoring 2.2 more points per 100 possessions than they did the season before, when they ranked 21st offensively. In 2010-11, they ranked sixth in 3-point percentage, fifth in turnover rate, and 12 in offensive rebounding percentage.

The Pistons' offense started the season slow, but improved in every month of the season. It was the league's 20th best offense before the All-Star break and the seventh-best offense after the break.

Pistons' efficiency by month
Month W L OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
October 0 3 100.2 15 104.6 19 -4.4 22
November 6 9 101.9 25 108.2 25 -6.3 26
December 5 10 102.2 19 106.7 24 -4.5 22
January 6 9 103.7 21 108.9 25 -5.2 26
February 5 8 106.8 13 110.4 29 -3.6 21
March 4 9 106.9 12 112.7 30 -5.8 24
April 4 4 110.5 1 108.9 24 +1.6 12

If the Pistons were anywhere near decent defensively, they would have challenged for a playoff spot. But of course, they were awful there.

The one thing the Pistons did relatively well defensively was force turnovers, ranking 10th in that category. But they ranked 23rd in defensive rebounding percentage, 18th in opponent free throw rate and dead last in opponent effective field goal percentage.

Playing perimeter players like Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye at power forward, the Detroit defense was at its worst near the basket. It ranked 14th in defending 3-point shots, but 30th in defending the restricted area (and 2-point shots overall).

These Pistons had three players from the 2004 championship team, a squad that played ridiculously good defense. But when those three players, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace, were on the floor together in 2010-11, the Pistons' defense was ridiculously bad, allowing 112 points per 100 possessions over 521 minutes.

Potent point

With a mark of 41.3 percent in 2009-10, Rodney Stuckey was last in effective field goal percentage among the 175 players who took at least 500 shots. Last season, he improved to 45.5 percent.

Stuckey still wasn't all that efficient, but the Pistons scored 107 points per 100 possessions with him playing, a rate equivalent to a top-10 offense. When he was on the bench, Detroit scored just 102 points per 100 possessions, a rate equivalent to a bottom-eight offense.

The Pistons drafted a point guard, Brandon Knight, with the No. 8 pick in the Draft, and Stuckey is a restricted free agent. If he's back in Detroit, the four-year veteran will have a reduced role. But he was one of the team's bright spots in a dark season.

Big man of the future

The Pistons' brightest spot was the play of rookie Greg Monroe. Monroe ranked seventh in the league in total offensive rebounds with 248 and 11th in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 13.1 percent of available offensive boards when he was on the floor.

Monroe was a big reason for the Pistons' offensive improvement after the All-Star break. They went to him more often and he was more efficient when he got the ball.

Greg Monroe's offensive numbers
Timeframe FGM FGA FG% Usage Rate OffRtg TS% ASTRatio TORatio +/-
Pre All-Star 165 312 52.9% 13.4% 101.6 54.7% 10.3 11.14 -137
Post All-Star 138 238 58.0% 16.0% 109.9 61.3% 15.4 7.72 +1
Usage Rate = Possessions of team's possessions used when on the floor
OffRtg = Team's points per 100 possessions when on the floor
TS% = True shooting percentage = Points / (2*(FGM + (0.44*FTA)))
ASTRatio = Assists per 100 possessions used
TORatio = Turnovers per 100 possessions used

Monroe now must improve his range. He shot 278-for-442 (63 percent) from inside the restricted area and just 25-for-108 (23 percent) outside it.

Unfamiliar faces

In the NBA, success leads to continuity and continuity to success. But last season, the Pistons had neither success nor continuity. Their most-used lineup played just 173 minutes together (the equivalent of about 3 games), making it the least-used, most-used lineup in the league.

Fewest minutes played by most-used lineup
Team Lineup GP MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Detroit Stuckey, Hamilton, Prince, Maxiell, Wallace 14 173 86.8 102.6 113.2 -10.6 -32
Sacramento Udrih, Thornton, Garcia, Cousins, Dalembert 14 177 99.0 102.8 103.7 -1.0 -9
Cleveland Williams, Gibson, Parker, Jamison, Varejao 14 233 93.7 98.5 98.0 +0.4 +12
Washington Wall, Young, Lewis, Blatche, McGee 19 255 96.6 106.0 101.5 +4.5 +30
New Jersey Harris, Morrow, Outlaw, Humphries, Lopez 27 258 88.6 100.5 111.6 -11.1 -63

Only one Pistons lineup played in more than 15 games together, and that was a lineup that played just 71 total minutes in 23 games.

New coach, new focus

Kuester came to Detroit with a reputation for being able to coach offense, having helped the Cleveland Cavaliers improve that department as an assistant. But obviously, Kuester fell short when it came to getting his players to defend.

Frank comes to Detroit with a defensive reputation, having coached top-10 defenses in New Jersey and (as an assistant last season) in Boston. The Nets regressed overall in Frank's tenure, but even when they began the 2009-10 season with 16 straight losses under Frank, they were an above-average defensive team. They were just awful on the other end of the floor.

Nets' efficiency under Lawrence Frank
Season W L PCT Pace RK OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank
2003-04* 25 15 0.625 91.2 20 100.7 14 95.9 4
2004-05 42 40 0.512 91.7 21 98.3 27 100.4 7
2005-06 49 33 0.598 92.0 20 101.5 22 99.8 3
2006-07 41 41 0.500 93.6 16 103.7 15 103.5 14
2007-08 34 48 0.415 93.9 16 101.4 25 106.6 21
2008-09 34 48 0.415 92.3 22 105.4 14 108.2 23
2009-10* 0 16 0.000 94.6 19 90.1 30 102.2 12
* Numbers and rankings are for time period Frank was head coach

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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