Yesterday, I looked at how the Detroit Pistons had done as a team through the first 41 games of the season. Then, last night the Pistons dropped a close game to the Bulls on the road. Neither of those things are surprising, since the Pistons have been awful on the road this season, and since they haven't beaten the Bulls in many moons. Now, here is a look at the individual performances of Detroit's players so far, now through 42 games.
Nobody is really carrying the Pistons in scoring, and this team isn't scoring a ton either. Greg Monroe tops the team with 15.3 ppg, with Brandon Knight second at 13.9 ppg. Both Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey are also averaging double digit points. Stuckey has improved since moving to the bench and becoming the sixth man, and even so he averages more minutes than anybody aside from Monroe, Prince, and Knight, although he still only has a .384 field goal percentage, and he's struggled a lot from beyond the arc, even though he is shooting almost three three-pointers per game.
Monroe also leads the team in rebounds, averaging 9.1 per game. Monroe still has room to grow as a player, and the development of Andre Drummond will help, but it seems less and less likely Monroe will develop into a 20-10 player. However, a 15-9 player is plenty good, especially if Monroe can get a bit better at defense. Everybody's hero Drummond is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game, in 20 minutes a night, and Jason Maxiell is at 6.2 rpg. All three of these gentlemen are averaging at least two offensive rebounds per game as well.
This team still lacks a distributor. Knight leads the team with 4.4 assists per game. I know he's quite young, and still somewhat raw, but he feels more like a shooting guard, which he can likely excel at. He has a .407 FG%, and he's making 37.8% of his threes, even though he attempts 4.6 per game. Monroe is averaging over a steal per game, and 3.3 assists per game, for what it's worth. Drummond is blocking 1.62 shots per game, and Maxiell is just behind at 1.52.
Now, on to Player Efficiency Rating. Remember, PER works on a per minute basis, so playing less doesn't hurt, and it doesn't take defense into account. Thus, both Will Bynum and Charlie Villanueva are over the 15.00 that is considered league average. Nobody can deny that Charlie V can shoot. He just can't do anything else. Khris Middleton's PER is also very good. He's played 12 minutes total.
It's really all about Monroe and Drummond, the cornerstones of this team, along with Knight. Monroe has a 18.53 PER, which is quite good. He's currently ranked 50th in the entire NBA. Drummond, on the other hand is at 22.96. That's 11th. He is very efficient and remember this doesn't take defense into account. He's fifth in the league in rebound rate as well.
Look, we all love Drummond. His ceiling is so high. I thought Monroe was a steal. I thought Knight was a steal. Drummond looks like he will be a STEAL. He's only 19, he's still raw, and he's already doing so much. Are there concerns? Sure. He's still only making 41.8% of his free throws. Still, right now he seems like a young Dwight Howard.
I also went over to Basketball Reference to look at the Win Shares of the Pistons. Drummond actually tops the team at 3.7, with Monroe second at 3.0. Interestingly, Drummond has the offensive edge, while Monroe has the defensive edge. Well, Monroe has had some bad shooting games to be sure. Neither of them are high in the overall rankings, but in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, Drummond is sixth in the league. Let's all get really excited!
Detroit has a few players to build around. Young, talented players who could become all-stars. They also have a few players that are alright, and perhaps could provide some depth, and they don't really have anybody who is all that bad really. However, the key will be what, if anything, they can get by trading somebody like, say, Prince, who isn't part of this team's future. If they want to trade guys like Prince, that is. I hope they do. Being middle of the road may be an improvement for the Pistons, but the goal is to be a title contender. There is a long way to go for Detroit on that front.