Detroit Pistons: 3 early-season surprises in 2018-19

(Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2. The Pistons can’t shoot

It’s no surprise that Casey has the Pistons shooting more 3-pointers this season (33.8 per game) than the team attempted last season (28.9) under former coach Stan Van Gundy. Casey said that’s what he was going to do in Detroit, and that’s what he did at his previous job in Toronto.

What is surprising is that the Pistons are putting up so many bricks.

Detroit is tied for last place in the NBA in 3-point accuracy through Saturday’s schedule, connecting on 32.6 percent of its long-range shots. Last season, the Pistons ranked fifth in the league in 3-point accuracy, making 37.3 percent beyond the arc.

One obvious factor is that the Pistons let Anthony Tolliver go in free agency over the summer. Tolliver was Detroit’s most prolific 3-point shooter last season, making a team-high 159 at a very good clip of 43.6 percent. Detroit also traded Tobias Harris last season as part of the Griffin deal. Even though he only played 48 games for them, Harris finished third on the Pistons in 3-pointers (113) and made 40.9 percent of his tries.

Luke Kennard is still with Detroit, but the 2017 lottery pick — who shot 41.5 percent on 3-pointers last season and ranked fourth on the team in 3-point makes — is only hitting 32.5 percent this season. Kennard has also missed more than half of Detroit’s games due to injuries.

Reggie Bullock has also failed to find the net as efficiently as he used to. Bullock finished second in the NBA in 3-point shooting last season, making 44.5 percent of his attempts. This season he’s taking and making more 3s per game, but his accuracy has dipped to 39.7 percent.

Long story short, Detroit’s best shooters aren’t shooting a lot and/or aren’t making a lot, and some of their worst shooters are shooting a lot.

Reggie Jackson, for example, ranks second on the team in 3-point attempts. He’s a career 32.2 percent shooter from that range and is making 33.7 percent of his attempts this season. Stanley Johnson is a career 29.5 percent shooter who is making 29.2 percent of his 3s this season. He ranks fifth on the team in 3-point attempts.

Griffin leads the team in 3-point makes and attempts, and he’s hitting 36.5 percent of those looks. That’s respectable for a power forward, but still not great.

The Pistons added some players in the offseason who were expected to bring more shooting to the table, but so far they have struggled. Glenn Robinson III is hitting only 29.7 percent of his 3s, while Jose Calderon is making just 17.6 percent.

Is this a problem that can be fixed sooner than later?

Trading for another shooter or two is always an option. Given the current roster, however, it seems Casey is determined to just let them fight through their struggles with the hope that shots will start to fall and confidence will improve.