With Pistons healing, Dwane Casey has to keep 'burn out' in mind
Detroit — Bruce Brown. Luke Kennard. Langston Galloway.
By most accounts, that would be a strong second unit for the Pistons, with a mix of experience, youth, defense and 3-point shooting.
Because of the spate of injuries that has decimated the Pistons’ lineup, that has become three-fifths of the starting lineup for the past couple of games. Brown started 57 games last season but he moved to the bench when Kennard joined the starting group, to add some scoring punch after Reggie Jackson’s back injury.
Brown returned to the starting unit to join Kennard and Galloway as the latest addition on Wednesday, after Tony Snell suffered a left hip flexor injury. It’s been mix-or-match puzzle pieces to determine a starting lineup for coach Dwane Casey, as he’s tried to find the right mix of players, just trying to bide time until a couple of starters return.
That would re-establish some normalcy, but after the 4-10 start by the Pistons, just getting a regular rotation would be an improvement. With the Pistons’ recent losing streak, the immediate answer would seem to be changing the starting lineup and giving other players a chance to contribute.
The problem is that there have been so many injuries that many of the permutations have been tried already.
“We’ve done that and changed the lineup. We’re in a situation now where out of necessity, we have a certain group in and it’s killed our second unit because now our second unit is starting,” Casey said. “We still have to look at it. I would say our starts haven’t been the problem; it’s been third quarters.
“We have to look at the minutes of certain guys. There’s always a special magical number that a guy plays in the first half, where in the second half, no matter what you do, it’s downhill and he kind of burns out.”
Although Andre Drummond has posted career-high numbers in many offensive and defensive categories, one other career-high number has been troubling: fouls.
His 4.3 fouls per game troubling, as he’s fouled out of three games and has had five fouls in three more games. Much of it can be attributed to his over-aggression in trying to get steals or make big plays.
Casey said there’s a fine line between being aggressive on defense and being smart in situations that will keep Drummond on the court.
“You have to be smarter with fouls. On a couple, he had a dribble-handoff and pivoted in and that’s one of the first he had this year with that turnover,” Casey said. “(He has to be) smarter with those because we need him in the game — all the numbers show it. When he’s on the floor, we’re a better offensive team and defensive team.
“If he takes himself out of the game, that doesn’t mean not play hard but he has to continue to compete and play hard and show his hands and not get offensive fouls with pivoting.”
Pistons at Bucks
Tipoff: 8 Saturday, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
Outlook: The Pistons get their first look at the Bucks, who swept them out of the playoffs last season. The Bucks (12-3) are on a six-game win streak and have the best record in the Eastern Conference.