The Ringer Talks about the Pistons New Death Lineup
The Death Lineup. If you don’t have one you aren’t good. Actually, not really, but it is good to be able to have five good players that form what NBA Twitter calls the “Death Lineup.”
Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer wrote about the Pistons “Death Lineup.”
Necessity is the mother of invention. The Pistons went to this lineup in the final six minutes of Game 4 of their first-round series against the Cavs, after playing these players together for less than a minute in the regular season. It was pure five-out basketball, with five players on the 3-point line, all of whom had range out to the arc and could score off the dribble. The Cavs were scrambling and out of sorts on defense, needing shot-making heroics from LeBron and Kyrie Irving, as well as a miss at the buzzer from Jackson, to escape with a –98 win.
There’s no way to play help defense against a team that can attack from all five spots on the floor. Everyone has to stay in front of their man, and that’s difficult when facing three different combo forwards (Harris, Morris, and Johnson), all 6-foot-7 and up, who can exploit a mismatch shooting from the perimeter or off the bounce. There’s nowhere to hide a conventional big man, and very few teams around the NBA have that many big and athletic wing defenders on their roster. The Pistons offense is still built around pick-and-rolls with Andre Drummond, but this lineup maximizes their scoring options.
The key to making it work defensively is the length and athleticism of Jackson (6-foot-3 with a wingspan near 7 feet) and Caldwell-Pope (6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan). They can pressure the ball and prevent easy entry passes into the post, and they can switch on bigger players and contest their shots. Switching goes both ways; it’s not enough to have big men who can guard on the perimeter. It’s just as important to have guards who can hold their own in the paint.
The Pistons have an interesting unit here, as Tjarks mentioned above. It is a mix of a true point guard and shooting guard along with three combo forwards. The lineup that Tjarks goes in depth on above is, Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson, Marcus Morris, and Tobias Harris. Detroit would lose a lot of height and rim protection in this lineup, with Stanley Johnson basically replacing Andre Drummond in the lineup, but Johnson is a player that can shoot and score off the dribble.
Would you like to see the Pistons use this lineup throughout the 2016-2017 season?
You can read the entire column by The Ringer here.
Featured Image via: The Ringer