3-on-3: Talking Detroit Pistons’ move downtown and potential roster changes

Nov 11, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Detroit Pistons point guard Ish Smith (14) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons are heading downtown. The team is struggling. Could roster moves be made? We discuss all of that in this season’s first edition of 3-on-3.

There are changes brewing for the Detroit Pistons off the court. Could their be changes on the court?

Let’s discuss in one of PistonPowered’s most classic segments, 3-on-3.

1. What’s been the biggest problem for the Pistons so far this season?

Braden Shackelford: Easy–their point guard play. Ish smith has been the least threatening offensive player on the court. He doesn’t shoot many outside shots and as a result, defenses are clamping down in the paint. Even worse, when he does get into the lane, he can’t finish at all in traffic. Most of the time his penetration leads to him over dribbling and back at the top of the key.

Duncan Smith: The Pistons’ problems stem from Ish Smith’s inability to space the floor as the primary ball handler. Because he can’t shoot from the perimeter with any kind of dependability, defenses can go under on the pick and roll and squeeze off any room for Drummond to operate. Considering the fact that the Pistons’ roster has been constructed to run through the pick and roll, a point guard who can’t run it reliably is a major problem.

Brandon Marlow: The biggest problem for the Pistons so far has been their inconsistency when playing on the road. They’ve looked solid in almost every single game at home so far this season, but as soon as they hit the round everything becomes a mess. This is an aspect that needs to be addressed immediately as there is no way the Pistons will be able to make the playoffs if they can only play well when at The Palace. Perhaps their road record will right itself once Reggie Jackson returns, as last season they were a solid 18-23 when travelling.

Apr 22, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) drives to the basket as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) defends during the fourth quarter in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

2. I know it’s early–and I know Jackson will be back soon–but should the Pistons consider making some roster moves?

Shackelford: It’s not too early to start considering, but it is too early to make a move. If Jackson comes back and the Pistons still epitomize mediocrity than absolutely. But before any moves are made, I’d like to see what this team looks like at full strength. I’d also like to see Van Gundy utilize his diverse roster and mix things up based on matchup.

Smith: No. It’s time to just try to weather the storm. I think if they can remain with a game or two of .500 by the time Reggie Jackson returns, they’re going to be fine and they’ll win in the mid-to-high 40s. It’s not time to mortgage the future or compromise the present in order to save a few games while waiting for Jackson to come back. If there are complications upon his return, that’s a different story.

Marlow: I think the Pistons should entertain making a couple of moves if things don’t significantly improve once Reggie Jackson improves. In particular, I’d like to see Stan Van Gundy explore trades for Aron Baynes and potentially Stanley Johnson. While it might be jumping the gun with Johnson and Van Gundy seems to love him, I think the Pistons could find themselves a much better fit for the role Johnson is currently playing. Baynes has also been quite disappointing this season outside of the one game he started in Andre Drummond’s absence. A trade would allow Boban Marjanovic to stop into the backup role and finally play some consistent minutes for the first time in his career, while also potentially giving the Pistons’ bench more depth with whoever they bring in.

Nov 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; A general view of the new Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red WIngs shared venue Little Caesars Arena from Cass Tech High School. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

3. The Pistons are headed downtown to join the Red Wings in Little Caesars Arena. What do you think of the move?

Shackelford: As someone who hardly ever gets to go see a game live I hate it. The location means nothing to me. But you know what does mean something to me? The Palace. My entire rooting life, the Pistons have been at the Palace. It’s where the great “goin to work” team dominated, won a championship, and had the most epic brawl in NBA history (not saying that’s a good thing, but memorable).

I love the Palace. I love the name. I love the memories. Most of all it’s just sad because it’s the end of an area. That said, the Pistons are set up for a bright future. Maybe the new arena brings a new age of greatness for the team.

Smith: I have many complicated emotions on the topic. I love the Palace, most of my favorite sports memories have occurred there or at least with the team that called that building home. It’s just a building, but it feels like a place with the kind of history that it boasts should have a better fate than being demolished and the land sold to Chrysler or some Auburn Hills corporation for R&D purposes. That said, without any true understanding of the financial impact Little Caesars Arena will have on the Midtown and downtown Detroit area, I’m thrilled at the idea of having the Pistons downtown and part of a world-class entertainment core right in the heart of the city. I’m skeptical of the business interests (more so of the Illitches involvement in using $600 million-plus in public funding for an arena, less so of Gores for taking advantage of a golden opportunity presented him), but i’m excited at what it’s going to mean for fans who live in the city.

Marlow: The Little Caesars Arena move is ultimately the right decision. I have such fond memories of The Palace and I love that it’s the only NBA arena that hasn’t sold away the rights to name it, but the Pistons belong in Detroit and with the new arena being built it’s the right time to make the move. The Pistons have had dreadful attendance numbers recently, in part thanks to the location of The Palace, so hopefully moving back into Detroit will mean even greater support for the team.
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