After signing Josh Smith and trading for Brandon Jennings heading into the 2013-14 NBA season, there were many people with many strong and differentiating opinions about how the Detroit Pistons would fare this season. Though the fate of this team couldn’t be agreed upon, there was some common ground among a lot people.
One of the things that most people seemed to agree on was the fact that the Pistons could be a great defensive team. Jennings is probably only an average defender, but adding Smith, an elite and versatile defender, to a team that boasts young big men that can defend like Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe was a viable threat.
However, the defense of the Pistons has been anything but promising to start the season and that putrid defense was out in full force on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. On their way to losing by a score of 114-99, the Pistons allowed the Lakers to shoot 52.2 percent from the floor, shoot 40 percent from three, keep pace with them in terms of rebounding, and only forced them into 13 turnovers.
Though the Pistons’ offense has been solid at times, despite times of questionable shot-selection, their defense has been a huge problem this season. Detroit is currently last in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 107.4 points per 100 possessions. Moreover, the Pistons rank in the bottom-half of the league in rebounding percentage, which shouldn’t happen to a team with a frontcourt like theirs.
Coming into the year, people wondered if this team could score well enough to utilize good defense. Now the story seems to be if the Pistons will be able to defend well enough to not waste offensive effort. Perhaps they need to shake up their rotation or even trade one of their bigs to add mobility to their lineup. Whatever they choose to do, though, it’s clear that what they’ve got going now isn’t working on the defensive end.