Detroit Pistons' New Energy Or Just The Dead Cat Bounce?
Loyer also made some wise decisions in his play calls, letting one play set up the next. For example, early in the second quarter, Detroit runs this nice little back screen combo:
On the very next possession, Bynum wisely assumed the backside defenders would be more alert to this action. While the Pistons run the same play, note how previously Jeff Ayres had stayed glued to Drummond:
One of the biggest knocks against Cheeks' offense was how it completely failed to account for the Pistons rather odd combination of personnel. Many of his sets asked Smith to simply stand in the corner and watch. Considering Smith is on pace for possibly the worst high volume 3 point shooting season in league history, and this stationary corner location did not allow him best use of his ball-handling and passing skills, this was not wise. However, as shown above, the increased ball and player movement allows Smith to employ his talents more usefully than bricking 20 footers.
On the other hand, Detroit's most efficient post up player is Stuckey, a combo guard. Why not use him as a de facto post player in certain lineup combinations? This is exactly what Loyer did at times. Sharing the floor with Monroe, Bynum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jonas Jerebko (employed as a stretch 4), the Pistons ran horns with Stuckey as one of the posts. These plays were successful both with Stuckey as a scorer:
It is too early to say if Loyer will turn the Pistons' disappointing season around sufficiently to remove the "interim" from his title, since the roster is still horridly unbalanced. In truth, the half-court offensive execution waned in the second half after the Pistons built a big league and San Antonio played multiple possessions of zone. However, the early returns from Monday night can be nothing but encouraging for Pistons fans. While the pieces in place remain an uneasy fit, there appears to be someone in charge who will at least attempt to rearrange those pieces into a semblance of a functioning offense.