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

Hawks 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, with a breakdown of what stats I expect each player to reach.

Atlanta Hawks

(Note: I originally posted this without knowing that forward Jeremy Evans had been waived. This is a revised post as a result.)

PG Schroder, Delaney, Cook

SG Bazemore, Belinelli, Dorsey

SF Prince, Brussino, Bembry

PF Collins, Ilyasova, Babbitt

C Muscala, Plumlee, Dedmon

Taurean Prince is the go-to guy offensively – he’s got a solid shot and handle, but most of all is aggressive and hyper athletic enough to dunk on anyone. He’s ideal in dribble handoffs to attack an unbalanced defender, or even pick and rolls. John Collins is the next offensive option, where he can flash an old school mid range game a la Karl Malone with his great athleticism providing a dual threat. Schroder is the third option, where he can iso and run pick and rolls. I don’t like point guards as my primary option as they shouldnt be shoot-first (unless they have a point forward like Green is to Curry in golden State), as they have to defend the most talented position in the league every night, and get their quota of points off of fast breaks. Muscala and Bazemore can space the floor, defend and rebound. 

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

The play is designed to get Prince an open three or attack of a close out off the first floppy screen. If this fails, Collins seals off under the basket. If hes defended well, the ball swings to the other side, where Bazemore has the shoot or attack option. If this fails, Muscala does the same on the other side (it’s awesome having four shooters!). Schroder cuts baseline off a Prince pick, and whips around for a screen and roll with Collins. All five guys touch the ball, and all five guys have opportunities in their best spots.

Back to the depth chart, and the vets on the team get the nod. I originally posted this article with a young second string group in mind, but I figure the Hawks are paying Plumlee’s so much that they have to fit him in the rotation. Fellow veterans in Ilyasova, Babbitt and Belinelli complement him well with great shooting. Delaney is a score first guard, so he can provide an offensive punch. the bench mob is young, with Dorsey and Bembry the primary ball handlers. 

The third string guys are good enough to step up and replace injured starters if need be (my philosophy is to keep units together, so it’s often better to fill an injured starters spot with a 3rd stringer to keep the second string unit intact). Dedmon is the only veteran, but falls out of the main rotation as Muscala and Plumlee are better fits with the current roster, however he can still come in and play 10 minutes a game of hustle and defense, and can replace injured starters with aplomb. The other 3rd stringers are young and can develop behind the vets.

I think this team will get a top three pick in next year’s draft, as they’re too young and deficient in go-to talent to win more than 25 games. However, Coach Bud has a track history of success with lesser known guys (like the Hawks number one seed team a few years back) so they could surprise some people in the weak East.

I would expect these stat lines from each top 5 player on the roster:

Schroder (32mpg): 16 PPG, 3rpg, 6apg, 2spg.

Bazemore(28 mpg): 12ppg, 3rpg, 2apg, 1spg

Prince (25mpg): 14ppg, 6rpg, 2apg, 1spg

Collins (23mpg): 13ppg, 8rpg, 2apg.

Muscala (18mpg): 8ppg, 3rpg.

I think this team will go 21- 61 (my full standing predictions for the league are here) so they’re well set up to take a top pick in next year’s draft. They should take a good look at Michael Porter, who could be like Dominique Wilkins with his size and athletic ability at the 3. I’d also move Ilyasova for a second round pick at the trade deadline, and potentially bundle those picks to move up into the first round.

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