The Pistons likely will look to get Greg Monroe (10) and Andre Drummond more looks in the post going forward. (Clarence Tabb Jr / Detroit News)
Auburn Hills — It wasn’t a foreign sight, seeing Andre Drummond with an early post-up opportunity, but since Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks once bristled at the age-old notion of big men touching the ball to get them engaged, it’s a slight change in philosophy.
Drummond got the ball on the block in a set play, being guarded by Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes, on the first possession of the game.
He didn’t convert it but given his matchup with the perimeter-oriented Hawes, Cheeks said it was by design to ensure Drummond would be on high alert.
“I know he was going to be guarding Hawes and trying to get out to a guy who could shoot the ball a bit,” Cheeks said. “I wanted him to touch the ball offensively as opposed to trying to guard somebody on the perimeter, which he’s not used to doing.”
Drummond’s post game is ever-developing, likely at the kindergarten stage relative to where it could be by the time he reaches his mid-20’s, but the touch certainly didn’t hurt as he led the Pistons with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and more importantly, five blocked shots in Saturday’s blowout win.
“I wanted him to touch the ball,” Cheeks reiterated.
Greg Monroe also got more post touches than usual, often spinning away from the double teams as opposed to opening himself up for turnovers as he scored 21 and added 12 rebounds with four steals and three assists.
“We posted the ball early, we talked about utilizing our length inside,” Cheeks said. “Putting the ball in Greg’s hands and Andre’s hands. If they get doubled, kick it out for open shots.”
Since it’s no secret about the Pistons’ lack of shooters, that’s likely the way things will, and perhaps should, go from this point on, if they are to solidify themselves as a playoff team.
Considering the Pistons’ big men as a whole have seemed to be more of a detriment than advantage, turning that around could be the key to the season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s our best but it’s definitely the game we like to play,” Drummond said. “Not taking jump shots but pounding the ball inside, trying to draw fouls.”
Considering the next two opponents are the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, two teams who can’t combat the Pistons’ size but present other matchup issues to varying degrees, it’ll be a change for the near future.
The Heat are last in rebounding and the Magic are 22nd. Of course, LeBron James tends to negate such statistical weaknesses, but the Pistons would be wise to use their inherent advantages.
“Andre was very active offensively, rebounding,” Cheeks said. “Greg and Josh (Smith), it’s a big strong suit of our game. We have to get better at defensive rebounding. Offensive rebounding is a knack and Andre has that knack pretty well. We just have to get better defensively.”
Pistons G Rodney Stuckey missed the second half of Saturday’s game with dizzyness, having played just nine minutes. In the locker room afterward, he said he would be good for tonight’s game.
Pistons at Heat
Tip-off: 7:30 Monday night, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
Outlook: The Pistons defeated the Heat in Miami, 107-97, on Dec. 3. ... Heat F LeBron James is averaging 26.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond is averaging 14.5 points and 16 rebounds in two meetings against the Heat this season.