Pistons depth chart

A team is only as strong as its parts. And those parts have to fit together. In this series, I take a look at each team’s roster and see how I think they should fit together, and why.

Detroit Pistons

PG Jackson, Smith, Galloway

SG Kennard, Bradley, Montero

SF Harris, Johnson, Gbinije

PF Tolliver, Leuer, Bullock

Drummond, Marjanovic, Moreland

Bradley isn’t starting. Yep, he’s better than Kennard, but he can’t fit next to Reggie Jackson as he’s an effective second option, which is taken up by Drummond. Bradley can come off the bench for an offensive and defensive spark, and still play around 28 minutes per game. Jackson is being paid too much to be on the bench, so in a battle between him and Bradley, Jackson gets the start. Kennard is a good complement to Jackson as he doesn’t need the ball to be effective – he’s a great shooter, which boosts an offense itself as it spaces the floor. He too can post up smaller guards, and is a good passer.

At power forward, Tolliver gets the start. While having  Stanley Johnson on the bench might seem stupid as he is younger and better in a vacuum, but Tolliver is a perfect fit next to Drummond. Drummond is a limited rim protector – Tolliver can help with that. Drummond also needs space to work down low, so Tolliver can space the floor for him as a good three point shooter. 

Harris can be a first option in the half court coming off curls, where his mid range game a la Carmelo Anthony and strong finishing at the rim can be hard to stop. He also has potential as a floor general, he plays a bit like Grant Hill.

Reggie Jackson can be the third option and have a comeback season after a forgetful one last year. He’s best in the pick and roll and posting up smaller guards.

Here’s a play I drew up with the Basketball app on Google Play:

The idea is to get Harris a mid range shot off a Drummond pin down. Harris can shoot or pass to a sealing Drummond. If that’s not on, then Harris can dribble hand off to Kennard/Jackson where she can shoot or drive on the left side of the court. If that’s not on Harris sets a screen for Kennard/Jackson to get an open three, and if that fails get a pick and roll with Drummond on the strong side. If neither Jackson or Drummond can get open, Tolliver slides across for a three. If there’s time left and Tolliver doesn’t have a shot, Harris cuts across the mid range to get a low post opportunity. All players get the ball in their best spots.

Back to the depth chart, and the bench mob will be fast paced, with the aim to get Johnson the ball on the wing where he can attack close outs, Bradley off of screens, Smith and Leuer on fast breaks, and Marjanovic off deep post catches.

I have this team narrowly missing the playoffs, as Harris is a relatively weak first option and Drummond and Jackson are too limited to take over, but Drummond is still only 24, so the future is still bright.

Here’s the minutes breakdown of what I expect each player to average over the season:

Jackson (28 mpg)

Kennard (18mpg)

Harris (32mpg)

Tolliver (17mpg)

Drummond (32mpg)

Smith (16mpg)

Bradley (28 mpg)

Johnson (26mpg)

Leuer (14 mpg)

Marjanovic (18 mpg)

Galloway (6 mpg)

Montero (6 mpg)

Gbinije (5mpg)

Bullock (12 mpg)

Moreland (8mpg)

Ellenson (12 mpg)

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or tweeting at me at @bskinnreports

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