3 Big Trends For The Detroit Pistons Big 3

The Pistons are 10 games into the season, which is still early but it is far enough in to identify trends that may or may not continue. All three of the Pistons big three are trending the right way in big ways that are central to the Pistons success so far and for continued success.

Andre Drummond's 75% From the Line

This is bizarre. If you are watching basketball for the first time it would be unimaginable that this guy is literally the worst free throw shooter in history. Everything about this says that it is something that is sustainable, he looks like a fully capable free throw shooter, the only thing that makes it unbelievable is that it is crazy to think that someone could improve that drastically in anything.

If it keeps up though, it is borderline revolutionary for Andre and the Pistons as a team. A lot of people immediately focus on how this means that opposing teams cannot foul Andre to take him out of games at the end, but although that is nice it isn't the biggest improvement.

The most basic improvement is that from a simple numbers perspective, there will no longer be several possessions per game lit on fire by the Pistons per game. Drummond's true shooting percentage has already made a huge jump from last year, 59% this year compared to just 51.8% last year, and it is largely based on his free throw improvements.

The biggest improvement beyond the basic numbers is that Andre can start to play offense around the hoop with a ton more confidence, the game against the Bucks was a perfect example of it. Andre had become so terrified of shooting free throws that he was terrified of getting fouled which resulted in him doing things that no guy his size should really be doing in the paint. He took those awful, fading, hooks in the post, he took floaters in the paint, and generally tried to avoid contact and/or playing too physical in an effort to keep from shooting free throws. Simply put, when you have a guy who is as big and strong as Andre, it is hugely detrimental to his game when he is afraid to use his strength.

Against the Bucks, he was going up strong and even welcomed contact at the hoop while he went through defenders instead of around them. When he does that he suddenly is trading floaters, tough layups, and hooks, for dunks which force opponents the choice between allowing an open dunk or sending him to the line. It will not happen overnight, it takes time to get rid of bad habits, but as the season goes on and he continues to gain confidence in himself at the line he will welcome more and more contact which means going right to the hoop more which makes him much more difficult to guard. 

Tobias Harris as a legitimate three-point threat

Tobias Harris is not going to keep up his current pace of 45.6% from deep on the season on 6.1 attempts, but there is definitely something there that wasn't there before from Tobias. Harris, a career 33.9% three-point shooter, has always been a guy who can shoot some threes, but not really a three-point shooter. This is particularly problematic with the current Pistons team, where drawing power forwards out of the paint is integral in opening up the paint for Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond to get the juiciest actions out of the pick and roll. Tobias is still a very good player, but there was a bit of a fit issue between him and the Pistons other two best players. Tobias has never been the sort to make his teammates better, and he isn't a good enough ball handler or passer to be as high volume a ball handler as Reggie Jackson. In essence, it meant that on plays that didn't focus on Tobias getting looks in the midrange or into the paint, it was probably better to just have a guy like Anthony Tolliver out there because he spaced the floor better.

So far this season though, it seems apparent that there was a real emphasis on making Harris a full-on threat from deep. He is shooting career-high attempts by a huge margin and he is taking tons more pull-up shots and shots with guys in his grill.