NBA rookies have set the record for most total rebounds in a single game as Kevin Garnett did last night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Last year was the first time that two rookies started in consecutive games, and this happened to be the Pistons versus the Lakers. The series was a heated rivalry between two teams that have been rivals since their days in the big leagues, so there were expectations on both sides of the court. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 24 points but missed the biggest shot of the game in the first quarter when he drove right into the boards and tried to block A.C. Green’s missed layup with a bone elbow sprain.
In preparing for this season’s NBA playoff run, Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy has his team using a great strategy. First, they are doing everything they can to take care of the upcoming series against the Philadelphia 76ers. They’ve been known to load up on offensive rebounds and make extra passes to their bench players, which is a good way to spread out their defense. The idea is that the multiple smaller players can help out on the defensive end and prevent big shots from the opposing bench players. Here are some things that the Detroit Pistons coaching staff will do to set up their team for success in the playoffs:
The biggest key to the NBA playoff run last year was the fact that the Detroit Pistons was extremely deep, and they always had a number one option at point guard. This year’s NBA rookie of the year is Ben Wallace, and he should be ready for an even bigger role on the national teams as a result of his play during the exhibition games with Canada and Mexico. The Pistons need Wallace to guard opponents two or three years ahead of his time, because the younger players of today just don’t know how to guard opposing two-guards, and even one or two three-guards at that. If Wallace can take charge of guarding these guys now, then he’ll be ready for prime time against the better national teams.
Second, the Pistons need a big center who can rebound, block shots, and play defense. Without a strong center who can rebound like a true center, the team will struggle to stay in games late in the fourth quarter – as they did last year when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Now, Drummond has to be more productive around the rim, which will allow him to get the rebounds that he needs to be a dominant force on the defensive end, but he has to realize that it won’t be easy. Drummond might be able to score 20 a night, but he has to have rebounded on his side of the floor if he wants to continue playing at a high level.
Third, the Pistons need a leader who can score, play defense, rebound, and block shots. It will be interesting to see how much time Drummond can spend playing big minutes with the second unit this season. He needs to assume more minutes with the starters to see how he matches up against some top-tier centers in the league. One possible scenario is that he competes with DeRozan for time at the center, which would be an ideal match for the two big men. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
The Pistons need all of these things in place if they want to contend in the Eastern Conference. They have enough talent to win the division, but they could use some reinforcements as well. This summer, the team should add a big man who can rebound, block shots, and play defense. They also need a true center who can do everything else that they need to in the NBA. The Pistons are loaded with talent, so it will be interesting to see how they perform this season.