Palace of Pistons Roundtable: Over or Under for Next Season

Reggie Jackson played in all 82 games last season, quite the feat for an injury-ravaged point guard. Can he do it again? (Raj Mehta/USATODAY Sports)

The NBA season is fast approaching and we are getting dangerously close to speculation time and full blown previews. Bur before we get to that, what about some over/unders? Will player X score more this year? Play more games? Have more 20-point games? Here are some of our staff writers and if they are taking the over or under.

Q: Reggie Jackson played a full 82 games last season, marked improvement over previous years.Obviously, with someone who has a history or health concerns, playing all games cannot be the expectation. Will he miss or less than eight games?

Ashley Gross: UNDER

After playing in all 82 games last season, which was a career first for Reggie Jackson…I just can’t see him missing more than four games. Last season, he was coming off two consecutive seasons where he was plagued with injuries and you could clearly see the physical toll it was starting to take on his body. Last season, he played well and seemed conditioned and started to have an extra bit of spring in his step – almost reminded us of the “Old Reggie Jackson” that arrived in Detroit back in 2015. Workout sessions on social media have showcased Jackson’s rejuvenated athletic ability. Watching him train and look healthy has Pistons fans salivating at the thought of what a healthy Reggie Jackson could mean for the Pistons this upcoming season if he can remain healthy. If the Pistons can get off to a great start and can clinch a playoff spot towards the end of the season, I can see the Pistons resting Reggie strictly for load management purposes. This is a contract year for Jackson – and with newly added backup PG in former NBA MVP Derrick Rose, Jackson’s focus on becoming a top lead guard in the East Conference, should be a high priority.  

Dylan Edenfield: OVER

I have a feeling the Pistons won’t rely on Reggie Jackson to play another fully healthy 82-game season. Even if he does stay even close to as healthy as he was in 2018, the Pistons should give him his fair share of rest given the much improved point guard depth. However, knowing Jackson’s lengthy injury history, another injury unfortunately wouldn’t be a surprise, either.

Jacob Rogers: UNDER

Reggie Jackson played all 82 regular season games and all four playoff games for the Pistons last season after playing in only a combined 97 games in the two seasons before that. With the addition of Derrick Rose, I expect Jackson to only play about 24-25 minutes per game. With that being said, I think that Jackson will in fact miss only eight games or less next season. If I had to put a number on how many games Jackson plays next year, I would say 75.

Blake Griffin is coming off a career season, but will he be able to improve upon it next year? Or, better yet, would it be better for the Pistons to rest him throughout the year? (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Q: Blake Griffin had a career year, one that garnered him All-NBA attention. What will his second full season entail, namely, what will be his points per game: over or under 24.5?

Ashley Gross: UNDER

Blake is amazing, but let’s be honest…he isn’t getting any younger. He is pushing 30, and while that is not a pause for concern, the Pistons shouldn’t want a repeat of last season. They need to try and ease off of requiring Blake to single-handedly win them games. The team’s front office did their due diligence and loaded up with acquiring some sneaky good, talented players during the NBA offseason. My favorite signings were the signing of Tony Snell and Derrick Rose. Both players are of starter quality talents and can finish games in 4th quarter stretches. Rose is a penetrator and still has elite athleticism at this stage in his career. Tony Snell is a solid defender and good shooter on the wing. Not to mention the expectation of 3rd-year player Luke Kennard finally taking over and becoming more of a consistent scorer presence, will only help Griffin’s scoring load. Blake can still score and earn another trip to an all-star game. But this time it’ll be because the Pistons will exhibit a more balanced scoring offense, and hopefully…a winning record.

Dylan Edenfield: UNDER

 The Pistons are better than they were last season, that’s obvious enough. After an entire season in which Blake Griffin put Detroit on his back just to get a back-end playoff spot, the All-NBA forward won’t need to do as much this season. Griffin is more than capable of averaging over 24.5 points per game, but the priority for Detroit this season should be keeping their star rested and healthy. With newcomers like D-Rose, Joe Johnson, and Markieff Morris to help get the ball in the hoop as well, the Pistons offensive attack looks to be much more spread out than last year. 

Jacob Rogers: UNDER

Blake Griffin is coming off of a career year where he averaged 24.5 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.2 percent from three. With the additions of Rose, Tony Snell, Markieff Morris and the maturation of Luke Kennard, I think Griffin will not be taking as many shots as he did last year. I fully expect him to be just as efficient from the floor, however I don’t think he will average as many points. In my opinion, Griffin will average around 22.6 points per game.

Q: Luke Kennard established himself as one of the go-to scorers on this Pistons squad. Will he score 20 points in a game more or less than 12 times this season?

Ashley Gross: OVER

I’M CALLING IT NOW……LUKE KENNARD WILL AVERAGE 20 PPG, OFF THE BENCH!!! Ok…maybe that was a bit of a stretch. But he will start to become a more consistent 20-point scorer. He is better suited to come off the bench anyway. As a sixth-man the offense will be more tailored-made for him to take control over the game with his playmaking and shot-creating ability. Even with the addition of Derrick Rose at the point guard position, his ability to get to the cup will only help take the defense’s eyes off of Luke and allow him to get easier looks at the basket. Another year of learning the game at the NBA level has only enhanced Luke’s craftiness as a player and another year of maturity will also factor into him to becoming a 20-point scorer, consistently. 

Dylan Edenfield: UNDER

Luke Kennard almost certainly will have multiple 20-point games this season as one of the team’s most reliable scorers. However, I don’t see Cool Hand Luke getting enough opportunity to have 12 of those games, despite the talent being there. The biggest thing holding Kennard back thus far in his career has been his lack of opportunity and, at times, a lack of confidence shooting the ball. With more chances to get shots up as either a starter or sixth man, Kennard could push for 12 20-point games. But unfortunately, I’m a bit pessimistic on the coaching staff letting the offense run through the talented scorer. 

Jacob Rogers: UNDER

Luke Kennard had six 20 point games for Detroit last season on 8.2 shots per game. With Kennard entering his third NBA season and becoming more of a rotational piece, I expect him to take about 12 shots per game. However, I think Kennard is going to more of a consistent 14 points a night rather than a bunch of 20 point performances. I expect Kennard to have eight to ten 20 point performances.

Dwane Casey will be tasked with improving the Pistons squad and get them over the hump, which could be measured in win totals. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Q: Detroit squeaked into the eighth seed last season and made the playoffs, but more was expected in a full year with Griffin. In this pivotal campaign, will the Pistons win more or fewer than 44 games?

Ashely: OVER…sort of

Ok so I’m cheating a little bit on this one, but I couldn’t really pick a specific number of games the team will win this upcoming season. The Pistons keep steadily getting better and better, with the makeup of players on their roster. The Pistons were already a 40-win team with last year’s squad. This year, with the additions of Rose, Snell, Morris and hopefully the arrival of younger talent in Svi, Sekou, and Thomas – I see this group of players adding to the win column. If I had to say a specific number, I would say they could potentially win up to 47 games. Now with the addition of former BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson, the Pistons will gain more leadership and maturity to this squad. His presence will bolster their roster and make their team deeper if he can remain on the team through training camp.  

Dwane Casey will be entering his third year with the team, and so that means players who have been here for over the last two-three years, are now more familiar with his system of playing basketball. There will now be chemistry and a basic understanding of what it is, that he is asking from his players in order to win games. The seeds that Casey has been planting within this team should now start flourishing and Detroit should expect to reap the benefits. The Pistons can be a scary-good team if they’re are willing to make the necessary sacrifices and play within their designed roles…then I don’t see why Detroit can’t make some noise in a weakened Eastern Conference.

Dylan Edenfield: OVER

Health is the biggest factor here, as three of Detroit’s top 5 players (Jackson, Rose, and Griffin) all have extensive injury history. A long-term ailment for any of them, especially Blake, could spell disaster for the Pistons. However, I’m high on the team’s medical staff, namely Arnie Kander, to make sure that players stay healthy, rested and ready to play. With health, the Pistons are a sure bet to win at least a few more games than last season with a much-improved roster, expected growth of Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard, and the continued All-Star levels of play from Blake and Andre Drummond.

Jacob Rogers: OVER

Detroit is coming off of a season where they won 41 games with an injury riddled team. With the team the Pistons put together this offseason, I expect Detroit to win a few more games than they did during the 2018-19 campaign. With the roster and coaching staff at hand, I fully expect Detroit to win between 44 and 48 games this season.

Q: The Pistons really struggled to be consistent from shooting beyond the 3-point line, something that will have to improve if they want to make some noise. Given the growth and additions this past offseason, will Detroit shoot better or worse than 36% from behind the arc?

Ashley Gross: OVER

Ok, now I know I said the Pistons should be over 36%, this year, but it won’t be by much. After taking a deep look at the roster, I counted these players as 3-point shooters. Luke, Blake, Reggie, Svi, Snell and maybe Galloway. For those of you that are reading this and saying, well what about Derrick Rose, he averaged 38% from three last season…

 …and to that I say, you’re right! BUT…that was one season and we can’t assume that Rose, who is considered, not a lethal outside shooter, has all of a sudden found the holy grail of 3-point marksmanship. Now the Pistons did acquire some other players who can hit the occasional three, so let’s see if they can become consistent. Thon Maker is viewed as a big who can shoot but he is inconsistent – Woods showed in New Orleans last season that he can dial it in from deep-range occasionally – same can be said for Markieff Morris…and Khyri showed us his range in Summer League play this summer.  Even the addition of Joe Johnson should help, granted he makes the team. But I would much rather see the Pistons take fewer three-point attempts but make more shots consistently, as opposed to taking several bad shot selections, as an echo of what their offense displayed last year.  

Dylan Edenfield: OVER

Today’s NBA is built for teams that have a plethora of efficient shooters. Unfortunately, efficient shooters from deep have been a hard commodity for the Pistons to find in the past, as they are usually near the top of the league in volume, but near the bottom in percentage. This year, things will be different, as Reggie, Blake, and Luke will hopefully  continue to be above-average shooters. Tony Snell, Rose, Johnson, and Morris will be key factors in determining if Detroit can hit that 36 percent mark, but have all shown they can knock down threes at some point. This league has become a three-point shooting one, and the Pistons finally seem to be catching up. 

Jacob Rogers: OVER

The Pistons shot 34.8 percent from three-point land last season. With the additions of Tony Snell and Joe Johnson, along with Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, the Pistons could easily be one of the premiere three-point shooting teams in the association. Detroit could easily shoot 36 percent from three this upcoming season, which would put them in the top-10 in the entire league. 

Featured Image by Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

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