Melanie Do ‘23, Entertainment Editor
When taking into account all of the issues the Detroit Pistons have right now, one that has become blatantly obvious as the 2022-23 NBA season progresses is that this team is selfish.
So far, the Pistons have struggled to gain even 25 assists per game as a team and are now ranked 27th in the NBA in this regard. Moreover, the team does not make any substantial moves to help on defense, does not hustle and does not have any foreman or “glue guy” type players who are willing to yield themselves on defense or make the extra pass in order to get a better shot.
Two out of the three top scorers in the starting lineup—Bojan Bogdanovic and Jaden Ivey—are isolation players who often play as if they are the only ones on the court when handling the ball. In a game against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 23, 2022, Ivey had set up many such plays as he brought up poor shots again and again, driving into defenders and in general, playing “me first” basketball on his way to 4-of-15 shooting.
When it comes to younger players, you can somewhat forgive them for being unaware of the nuances of team play, but the Pistons’ bench veterans are even worse. As of now, the Pistons’ bench can only manage to average 22.6 assists per game, as the top team for assists this season—the Golden State Warriors have 29.1. On top of that, the veteran players’ performance is just more or less the same thing—careless isolation shots, zero ball movement and lack of communication on defense.
As for the Pistons’ offense, Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley III, Alec Burks and Kevin Knox are players who hardly ever pass, often holding the ball which lead to them ultimately taking a bunch of difficult shots as they struggle to beat anyone off the dribble. Alongside the missing synergy, this group has a bad habit of taking more shots than they can actually make.
Moral of the story is that the Detroit Pistons are not a fun team to watch. They seldom function as an actual team, but rather just an assemblage of players who happen to be wearing the same uniform. So, who is to blame for this mess?
While there is more than enough blame to go around for the Pistons’ total lack of team play, part of it can be pinned on Troy Weaver, the general manager of the Pistons, for putting together a roster full of one-dimensional isolation scorers and failing to bag a single veteran player who can hold their own on defense.
Part of it is also attributed to Cade Cunningham’s injury, as he was the glue holding the whole team together. Out of every player on the Pistons’ roster, he would be most likely to hold his teammates more accountable for their poor performances, but let’s face it, they were not good when he was on the court either.
The finger can also be pointed at coach Dwane Casey as his team has declined defensively due to his inability to find the right combination of players who can or will solidify as a unit.
Apologies for all of the negativity, but I was expecting the Pistons to at least play hard, scrappy and selfless basketball this season, but so far, that has not happened. This is a renovating year for the Pistons, but what exactly are they renovating? Not only is the “team” not really a team, but there also needs to be a major shift in culture if they are going to improve and recover as a franchise.
This is not just about talent, but the Pistons have to find some generous players who are willing and proud to do the little things such as playing defense, making the extra pass and overall, playing like they care. Altruistic team play has been the base of every successful Detroit team, and this is not it. When the offseason comes around, Weaver needs to make it his priority to tweak the roster accordingly in order to make the Pistons look and act more like a team.