Pistons reassess defensive endeavor after loss

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) defends a shot by Magic forward Jeff Green (34) in the fourth quarter.

Auburn Hills — Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wasn’t angry with the defense overall; it was just the lack of effort that didn’t sit well with him.

The Pistons have had their share of success defensively, especially at home, but didn’t play like the same team that had come off a three-game road sweep last week.

Last weekend’s home loss to the Magic showed the Pistons still have plenty of room for improvement on defense — and the consistency of that effort might be at the top of that list. Orlando shot 73 percent and scored 35 in the second quarter, and never trailed in the second half.

“I don’t mind them getting those shots but well over half of them were not contested or lightly contested,” Van Gundy said. “We just didn’t make anything difficult on them. It wasn’t the shots that they were getting as much as the effort we put in to challenge those shots.”

Monday’s practice focused on the more obvious defensive lapses and finding ways to close the loop in communication and go more in depth in trying to explain the defensive concepts.

Reggie Jackson made his debut and some of the adjustments came with adding a new player to the rotation, but Van Gundy said there shouldn’t be that much of a change with just injecting a new player.

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“I don’t think our offense was that much of a problem, and I don’t think we should have to acclimate defensively,” Van Gundy said. “Our offensive numbers weren’t outstanding but certainly good enough to win. We shot 45 percent and 37 percent from (3-point range). We didn’t have an abnormal amount of turnovers. Defensively, we weren’t good enough and that was the whole game.”

The Pistons didn’t have good bench play from backup shooting guard Darrun Hilliard, and Stanley Johnson played two minutes, which is becoming a position of diminishing returns.

While Van Gundy said Johnson has been struggling with his overall practice habits, he was happy with Johnson’s practice Monday, calling it “one of his best practices in a long, long time, so that was encouraging.”

Van Gundy said he wants to stick with Hilliard a few more games before trying other options, but said rookie Michael Gbinije has played well in practice and could be a possibility.

“We’ll have to see as we go,” Van Gundy said. “The real focus is can we get all of those guys playing better?”

Game on

The Pistons unveiled an interactive video game called “One-On-One with the Detroit Pistons.”

It utilizes live-action video and provides a chance to challenge Jackson, Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tobias Harris.

The game is available on mobile and desktop platforms at pistons.com/1on1.