One man's honest opinion about sports in the Motor City, and beyond.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

E Nuff is E Nuff is E Nuff

Enough already. The Pistons will not lose a series due to lack of defensive effort. My honest opinion is that the Pistons will not lose a series period, but that is not my point. Throughout the entire season I had to listen to people whine about the Piston's defensive effort, and how they were falling in love with their offense... blah blah blah blah blah... Shut up. Don't want to hear it... anyone who thinks that is wrong.

First, why don't we take a look at who the best and worst defensive teams of the regular season were. I will use opponent's points per game (OPP) to determine this. Over 82 games, there is no better gauge for defense then how many points you were giving up every night...

As you can see, the Pistons, gave up the 3rd fewest points per game out of all 30 teams. Which is obviously a sign that they were not focused on defense, right? I mean... 3rd?(laughter) God, what an absolutely horrible defensive team... just pathetic.

All year long people seemed to be surprised by how good an offensive team the Pistons had become. I do not understand why. If you just glance at the roster their offensive talent will jump off the page at you. Chauncey, Rip, Teyshaun, Sheed, Dice... Five guys who are all extremely talented offensive players. Besides Dice (because he comes off the bench)... anyone of those guys, if willing, could have been turned into a "26 a night" guy... All you would have to do is make them take enough shots. The brilliance of the Piston offense is their balance. You never know who is going to plunge the dagger. Not to mention, they now have Tony Delk coming off the bench... He once scored 53 points in a game (not as a Piston)... And that is their 6th scoring option. The Pistons are, and have been, a great offensive team. Now, they are just utilizing it. Also, their offense never spins out of control, which is largely due to General Billups.

The key to everything is still having the ability to play great defense when they need to (and yes, they do know when they need to). Take a look at the Pistons regular season numbers against teams experts would include in the league's elite 5. As you can see, when needed, the Pistons are more than capable of playing extremely tough defense. Phoenix put up points, but so did the Pistons, and they won both games. Dallas blew them out in that first game, but I really believe that was a freak occasion. In the next game I think you see a score more indicative of how that series could go. The Pistons held them to 90 points. They beat Miami 3 of 4, and held them to an average under 90 (which is phenomenal). San Antonio played great defense against the Pistons... But, the Pistons played even better, and won both games. San Antonio averaged a meager 69 points against the Pistons this year. Just ridiculous.

Now, I know this Buck series has raised questions... but it shouldn't. Here is a look at all the playoff teams and where they stand in OPP.

The Pistons are 6th. Dallas, is the only team above them who could possibly pose any threat. The Pistons did not play spectacular defense against the Bucks... But what would have been the point. They knew the Bucks weren't going to stop them. They are too balanced. They have too much offensive fire power. So they won by scoring. Will they need to win a series with defense? Most likely. Should we be worried that they won't be able to "flip the switch"? Not me. They have been surprising people with that ability for too long. That "switch" is part of their arsenal... Seemingly they would rather beat you with their offense... But if they can't... They WILL beat you with their defense. Nuff Said.

Note: While the Pistons are "only" 6th in playoff defense... They are tied for 1st in offense.



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