Detroit Pistons: Why Don’t They Bring Their “A” Game on the Road?

Dating back to the 2011-12 season, the Detroit Pistons have been a solid home team and a horrible road team. They play well at home and look like the next team to make the jump back to the playoffs, before going on the road and looking like they’ve just been assembled that morning. Why can’t they win on the road?

After starting 0-8, the Pistons are 5-5 over their last 10 games. They’ve won their last four games at home and lost their last four on the road. Their home and away splits look more like a typo than the real thing. Check out the last two seasons:

2011-12 Shooting Percentages (FG/FT/3P)

Home: 44.9 / 35.1 / 74.5
Road:  42.7 / 34.1 / 75.8

2012-13 Shooting Percentages (FG/FT/3P)

Home: 48.9 / 44.8 / 71.4
Road:  41.1 / 32.8 / 73.9

To have averages with that much separation, it has to be more than just one player bringing everyone down. So if it isn’t an aberration, is it simple youth and nerves?

That theory doesn’t hold much weight because of the veteran presence of Tayshaun Prince and Corey Maggette. These are well-traveled players who know what it takes to win on the road in the NBA.

The real problem lies in their style of play. They aren’t a team who is built to come from behind. Too often, they get behind on the road and have to chance their play in order to get back into games.

They’ve played 11 games on the road and have trailed at halftime in eight of those games. They lost every single one of them. Being a front-runner is fine, but if you average being outscored in every quarter, when will you have opportunities to get in front?

Greg Monroe is the Pistons best player, but he’s been setting the example for this inconsistency. At home, he shoots 54.8 percent. On the road, he plummets to 41.6 percent. Could it be the coaching staff refusing to change the game plan?

According to SynergySports, Monroe is most successful when he’s put in situations where he’s moving, such as when he’s cutting and when he’s the screener in the pick-and-roll. He shoots 57.1 percent and scores 1.15 points per possession in the pick-and-roll and 64.1 percent with 1.17 points per possession as the cutter.

However, he’s only put into those positions 18.3 percent of the time (pick-and-roll) and 13.9 percent of the time (cutter). His most frequent offensive situation is the post-up, where he spends 24.2 percent of his possessions. He shoots just 37.1 percent with .63 points per possession when he posts up.

On the road, teams need to pay attention to all the little details. The Pistons coaching staff seems to ignore them, and it’s caught up to them. If they want to return to the playoffs, they need to put together more wins on the road. It certainly looks like the coaches aren’t doing their part.

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Tags: Greg Monroe NBA