On January 29th Blake Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons. A move that sent shock waves through the NBA and altered the Pistons future.
Detroit won five games in a row and were headed up the Eastern Conference standings. Following three straight losses people wonder if they will even make the playoffs. Griffin brought star power to Detroit, not what they needed, consistency.
The Pistons need find something they are lacking, a rotation. Head coach Stan Van Gundy has his players he likes to play, and it tends to ten deep. The problem is rooted in the way he plays them, which is inconsistent.
Starting at the point guard position, it has become a mess since Reggie Jackson went down with an injury many weeks ago. Ish Smith gets the start, but his backup is changing every night. It started with Langston Galloway, moved to Dwight Buycks, and now has landed on Jameer Nelson.
Van Gundy is not sticking with a guy and giving him a fair shake. He is playing one guy one night, and then putting in someone else the next. Sometimes a coach needs to forget the matchups, and trust talent. Van Gundy can only hope these point guard problems do not persist when Jackson returns.
The front court inconsistencies need to be solved if the Pistons want to make playoffs. Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, combine to make the most talented front court duo in the league. The problem is Van Gundy has not figured out how to play them yet.
At first, Drummond played only the first half of the quarter, before being taken out. This was done to give allow the offense to run through Griffin for a few minutes. Drummond would then be reinserted for Griffin with a couple minutes remaining in the quarter.
Van Gundy then decided to reverse the roles of Drummond and Griffin. The two are still on the court together in the crucial moments, it is the other minutes that need to be figured out.
Ironically the most consistent part of the Pistons lineup has been Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson. One player who was lucky to be resigned, and the other fans wanted to trade. Bullock has been one of the hottest shooters in the league since he was inserted into the starting lineup. Johnson has found offensive consistency to mix in with his next level defense.
The problem is the offense does not run through Bullock and Johnson, it runs Griffin and Drummond. Before Griffin arrived, every play was designed with Drummond in mind. Now with Griffin on the court, plays are designed with him mind.
The Pistons are not in panic mode, that is not allowed to kick in until after the all-star game. Van Gundy and the team deserve some time to gel as a unit and find the consistency they need. Unfortunately, they will not get as much given they are still three games out of a playoff spot.
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