Detroit Pistons Award Ballot.
So everyone is doing their awards ballots, so I thought it would be kind of fun to do one for just the Pistons. I repeat, this is just for the Pistons. Obvoiusly some of these will be fairly obvious (guess who is rookie of the year?) but I thought it would be fun anyways. Obviously there will be no 1st or 2nd team lol. And if you feel differently about anything, then say so and make your case, the whole point of these sorts of things is to disagree.
Follow along on Basketball reference if you want.I am not going to bother to link to all the individual stats in the interest of time.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Andre Drummond.
This is the easiest decision here. Whether by the eye test or the advanced stats, Andre Drummond was the Pistons best player this season, and it was not even particularly close. There are of course all sorts of stats to throw out that say this, like how he lead the NBA in rebounding at 14.8 per game, but also going by the advanced stats, Andre Drummond is easily the best rebounder in the NBA. You could also talk about how he scored just over 16 points per game on top of the rebounding, you could talk about how he is tied for second in the ENTIRE NBA for defensive win shares. My favorite stat for Andre Drummond however, is this one. The Pistons are the 2nd best offensive rebounding team in the entire NBA, (OKC, courtesy of Enes Kanter destroying backup centers is ahead of the Pistons.) while at the same time, giving up the fewest fast break points in the whole NBA. This is essentially a basketball paradox. You are not supposed to be good at offensive rebounds and defending the fast break. This is purely Andre Drummond. Another thing to look at with his offensive rebounding is that he leads the NBA in 2nd chance points by a mile. (The difference between him and #2 Hassan Whiteside is the same as between Whiteside and #17 Nic Vucevic.) Which, essentially, means that his offensive rebounds are more valuable than most are, and those put backs are created totally by himself. They are bail outs, essentially when a guy gets the ball with the clock and has to just throw it up, and then hits it. On top of all of that, you must consider that Andre gets a lot of credit for the success of the Pistons second best player (Reggie Jackson) and you have the unquestionable MVP for the Pistons. Andre Drummond is the difference between the Pistons and the Magic.
Rookie of the year: Stanley Johnson (surprise!)
Given that he is one of 2 rookies, and the other rookie (Darrun Hilliard) very rarely broke into the rotation all season, it is fairly one sided. Stanley will be coming up more later but here it should be noted that even though he laid an egg down the stretch (most likely aided by still being a bit hurt) he gave real, valuable, minutes to a playoff team. Something that not many rookies are able to do, so any that are able to are impressive. (Shouts to the other ones who did it this season.) And FWIW, Darrun Hilliard did show some abilities as an offensive player when he did play and I'm actually pretty excited to see if he can crack the rotation over the next couple of years, but obviously there is no contest here. I just wanted to give a little shout to Hilliard that we see him, and we hope to see more of him over the next couple years.
Defensive Player(s) of the year: Andre Drummond and KCP. (With an honorable mention for Marcus Morris)
So this is a cop out, but I spent all day at work and in class flip flopping between the two and did not feel good leaving out either of them. Because on one hand, the stats show very clearly who the Pistons most important defensive player was, between an almost comical advantage in defensive win shares and defensive rating, Andre Drummond has had a big time defensive impact. Just watching this team all season, even though he is not a big man (I'll explain this in just a moment) so he may not have had as large a defensive impact as Drummond, and even though his inability to defend bigger wings did cause some very real issues in some matchups. There is no denying that KCP is a freaking wizard on defense, and as much as I have been critical of KCP's offense this season, I hope I have made it clear that he is so much freaking fun to watch play defense. And he took on the role of smothering opponent point guards all season, in an NBA that is full of awesome point guards. And that is why I am giving it to both of them, because they were both so good all season. Andre Drummond was not as good a rim protector as he usually has been, but he fouled less while contesting more shots, can switch onto literally anyone and smother them, (the occasional moments where he gets switched onto an opposing PG on the perimeter are some of my favorite) and even though he occasionally gets into some trouble with his swiping, he also gets a ton of steals. He was huge this season on defense. KCP is one of the most impressive perimeter defenders I have ever watched, and he regularly destroyed the souls of opposing guards with such total and absolute efficiency that it was scary. He was probably my favorite defensive player to watch all season. Greater Morris gets the honorable mention because even though I don't think he is in the same universe as KCP and Andre, he surprised me (and I think most everyone else) by being a really solid defensive player, and also had the unenviable task of having to take on all the big wings of the NBA, and he generally did a really good job. So I thought he deserved some recognition for that.
What's this about big men being more valuable defensively?
Think about how in baseball, shortstops are more valuable than a left fielder is. By virtue of being involved in many more defensive plays. This is why all of the top 10 in defensive wins shares, outside of Kawhi Leonard, are big men. (Centers or PF) There are a lot more plays where an opponent gets into the paint somehow and run into Andre while KCP stands in the corner watching his man than there are plays where KCP smothers someone while Andre stands looking on from the paint. And FWIW, I don't think win shares are a awesome stat. I'm not a big fan of any of the stats that combine different stats because they all try and give value to certain stats. But the basic point of that, bigs play a bigger role on defense than perimeter players does hold true. (Best example of this, the PGs of the top 5 defenses in the NBA this season where: Tony Parker, Jeff Teague, George Hill, Isaiah Thomas, and Steph Curry. George Hill is the only one of those who is really good defender.)
Coach of the year: SVG. Wait why am I doing this, there is only one coach.
6th m(e)n of the year: Brandon Jennings and, mostly, Stanley Johnson. (Honorable mention to Aron Baynes)
I had to include Jennings here. Even though he didn't play for long, the bench was so much better with him it was kind of sad actually. Without the boost he gave to the bench there is a good chance the Pistons are still fighting for their playoff spot. His ability to get out and run, and just create open shots for all the shooters on the bench was just huge. But he isn't on the team anymore, so mostly this goes to Stanley Johnson. On a bench that spent most of the season with literally no one other than Johnson who could create any offense, he has spent most of the season as the 2nd offensive option with bench mobs. (behind whoever the one starter was) While that is more of a comment on how poor the bench is than anything else, Stanley did do an ok job in the role. His facilitating was not all that good, averaging 1.6 assists and 1.6 turnovers. But just watching the games showed pretty clearly how important his creation was. And his pick and roll chemistry with Honorable mention Aron Baynes was a big deal too. Throw in on top of that, his ability to fit into the starters with 3 point shooting that was not totally horrid (many thought he would be a total non-shooter his first year or two) and good defense, and you have a really solid bench dude. Aron Baynes gets the honorable mention because while he was perhaps the most consistent bench contributed, he played almost 10 less minutes per game, and most of his production was created by someone else. But he absolutely deserves some recognition for his reliability all season long.
Most Improved Player: Greater Morris. (Honorable mentions to Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, KCP.)
This should have been KCP. Straight up. He made the big (and hardest) step on defense to being a truly dominant defensive player, he made some (small) steps as a scorer inside the arc by handling the ball a little bit more and going at the hoop occasionally. All he had to do was shoot like 34% from 3 (which is still not all that good) and it was his, but it never came around. He shot better later in the season, but will still finish the season (barring craziness in the last 2 games) below 31% from 3. Marcus Morris however, did eventually see his 3 point shooting come around and is now sitting at a nice 36.4% from deep. He has taken on a much larger role than ever before in his career, and he still managed to improve his efficiency as both a scorer and facilitator. Throw in that he ended up being a really important defensive player for the Pistons and I got to give him this one. Although it should be noted that a big part of this award (for better or worse) always ends up being what expectations where. So even though Drummond and Jackson made bigger strides in their numbers than Morris did, and KCP made strides certainly on par with Morris. It was kind of expected from those 3. I was really high on Marcus coming into the season, and I did not really think he would end up being this good.
What do you think? Give your own awards! Give your own reasons! The Pistons are already in the playoffs so the last couple games are stress free so let loose a bit with some pointless arguing! We all get smarter!