On Tuesday, the Detroit Pistons beat the Orlando Magic fairly soundly. This was more notable than your average win against a lousy team, but only because it was their 41st game of the season, meaning the Pistons are at the halfway point of their season. Tomorrow, I shall look at how Detroit's players have done individually so far. Of course, by that point they will have played a game tonight, meaning they will have played 42 games. Hey, bigger sample size. However, for now, here's a look at how the Pistons have done as a team.
After a slow start, stemming in part from figuring out the rotation, a tough schedule, and having to realize they needed to unleash the glory of Andre Drummond, the Pistons have started to put up the results I was expecting this year. In fact, they've probably been a bit better. Detroit is currently 16-25. That leaves them currently 10th in the Eastern Conference, just a half game behind the 76ers, and they are within shouting distance of the playoffs. Admittedly, they are only better than three teams in the West, but that's neither here nor there, and the East is where Detroit has to compete. More pertinent to their performance, their point differential is close to even, as they are a mere 0.7 points behind breaking even, which isn't too shabby. That leaves them tied for seventh in the East with Milwaukee and ahead of Boston, who currently has the eighth seed.
Detroit is 12-11 at home, but they are a pathetic 4-14 on the road. Obviously, that's a bit of a concern. They are 13-11 in conference which means, if my very basic math is correct, they are 3-14 against the West. Good thing the NBA doesn't follow the NHL's lead and put Detroit in the West. The Pistons are also 7-3 in their last 10 games which, you know, is nice.
Now, it's time to look at the team statistics. I look at the stats that are adjusted for pace and opportunity, which are better at actually evaluating how a team is performing. The Pistons are tied for 25th in pace, which is no fun, but they don't have the roster to play much faster. They are tied for 17th in offensive efficiency and 14th in defensive efficiency. That's middle of the road but, for a rebuilding team, that works for me, especially on defense. They are tied for 10th in rebounding rate, which could increase with more minutes for Andre Drummond. Of course, more minute for Drummond would mean less for Greg Monroe and/or Jason Maxiell, and they've been rebounding well also. They are 20th in true shooting percentage. That's a bit of a concern.
So, based on record and statistical evaluation, the Pistons are a middle of the back team. This season, I can live with that. Maybe they can trade a couple of players for some young talent or draft picks, and then this offseason they should have good cap space, especially if they amnesty Charlie V. I'm starting to feel good about this team going forward. They are good enough to compete most of the time. At least, they can compete at home against teams from the Eastern Conference. Clearly, the arrow is pointing up for Detroit.