It is no secret that the Detroit Pistons are dominating the paint on the offensive end of the floor this season. They currently lead the league in points in the paint. They have scored over half of their points inside the painted area, which is also good for tops in the league. The Pistons are the NBA’s most prolific team on the offensive glass as well with an offensive rebounding percentage above 30. So why don’t the Pistons have a better record?
You would think a team that is dominating the interior as well as the Pistons have this season would have a winning record. Instead, Detroit is struggling to reach .500 because they aren’t a very balanced team. The reason they are scoring so many points in the paint is because they have to. They do not possess enough outside shooting to win many games from the perimeter so getting the ball deep is their main priority on offense.
While this is obviously a great weakness, Detroit’s front office has to be feeling good about their future if they can acquire some outside scoring threats. It seems like a simple task, but it might be tougher than you would imagine. After all, there is a reason why good shooters who don’t excel in another area of the game stick around the league – there is an unquenchable demand for reliable shooters. The Pistons have some tradable assets to use this season, and they could find themselves with some money to spend this upcoming offseason as well. They will need to address their problems on the wing if they want to ascend from the middle of the pack.
Regardless, one has to be impressed at how well the Pistons have been able to score down low this season. They obviously do not have much else to rely on offensively, and this is a popular argument against their gaudy numbers. This argument only makes their performance even more impressive though. Opposing defenses know Detroit has few ways to score the ball other than bulldozing their way to the rim, and yet they are still successful doing so.
After signing Josh Smith, the popular argument was that the Pistons’ lack of shooters would make it too easy for defenses to pack the paint and completely shut down their offense. So far this season, Detroit has done a spectacular job of proving this notion wrong. Teams are packing the paint, but the Pistons are still scoring on them. If they can add a couple of legitimate shooters to the team, they could develop a high-powered offense. If not, they will likely be stuck hovering around an even record. If they can add a couple of legitimate shooters to the team, they could develop a high-powered offense and take the next big step toward becoming a contender again.