Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

The mid-season shake up left Detroit barren in terms of good fantasy production as Drummond was the only one in 9-cat roto Top100 after the All-Star Weekend. Even freshly-acquired ex-star Blake Griffin looked at times like a border-line rotation player in that format. On the positive side was an emergence of Reggie Bullock as a legit starter and Ish Smith filled admirably a gaping hole created at PG by Reggie Jackson’s injury-plagued season. Overall it was a disappointing season which is why they fired head coach and GM Stan Van Gundy.

Changes in the offseason

Lost = Anthony Tolliver
Added = new head coach Dwane Casey, Glenn Robinson, Zaza Pachulia

Before previous season Casey’s preferred playing style for his team would be considered very different than Van Gundy’s but massive changes in Toronto blurred the lines what exactly is Casey’s coaching vision? That’s something to keep an eye on during the preseason.

Projected Depth Chart:

PG SG SF PF C
Reggie Jackson Reggie Bullock Stanley Johnson Blake Griffin Andre Drummond
Ish Smith Luke Kennard Glenn Robinson III Jon Leuer Zaza Pachulia
Jose Calderon Langston Galloway Reggie Bullock Henry Ellenson Henry Ellenson

Positional Battles: SG and SF

I assume last year’s solid play locked Reggie Bullock in a starting role but Pistons have 4 candidates to start at 2 positions so there are multiple possibilities who will be benched. Based on pedigree alone I think Stanley Johnson will begin the season as a starter but Luke Kennard or Glenn Robinson III have a good shot to replace him in November or December.

Fantasy Relevant in leagues with 12- to 15-teams:

Andre Drummond

52,3 FG%, 58 FT%, 0,28 3PM, 14,92 PTS, 16,08 REB, 1,71 AST, 1,43 STL, 1,71 BL, 2,28 TO

His 9-cat value made one of the biggest jumps last year because he went from bricking over 60% of his attempts from the free throw line to making them at that clip. This feat alone was impressive but he also almost tripled his assists thanks to expanded role on offense. With all those improvements he was able to play career-high minutes which helped him become a fantasy star.
What’s more, he was no longer forcing fantasy owners to punt FT% which widened his appeal in terms of strategies. But it’s worth noting he did get worse in this category after the all-star break so his form wasn’t fully stable [that’s why I assume some regression there] and his role changed with Blake in town so I assume he won’t be able to repeat similar average in assists either.

According to head coach Dwane Casey he will shoot threes this year so brace yourself for at least one additional improvement in his stat-line… and worse FG%.

Blake Griffin

45 FG%, 78,1 FT%, 1,99 3PM, 21,34 PTS, 7,23 REB, 6,03 AST, 0,63 STL, 0,31 BL, 2,75 TO

Last year Blake expanded his game behind the three point line [I assume this trend will continue] but he also had a career-low value in steals, FG% [including finishing at the rim] and turnovers which is a red flag for his future. But overall you know what to expect here – he will provide great 3 popcorn categories plus weak supporting ones no matter which team he’s currently on and he will probably miss a lot of games.

For more information about Blake Griffin’s outlook please read an in-depth post Is the end really near?.

Reggie Bullock

45,7 FG%, 78,5 FT%, 1,88 3PM, 10,15 PTS, 2,33 REB, 1,41 AST, 0,78 STL, 0,19 BL, 0,71 TO

He had a nice career year in 2017/18 but unfortunately it’s very hard not to assume it was a classic fool’s gold.
Because his shooting numbers were simply off the charts – he made above-the-break threes better than Stephen Curry, he made mid-range shots like prime Dirk Nowitzki and he finished at the rim like a good center. Let’s just say that does not sound sustainable.

Don’t get me wrong, thanks to last year’s performance he probably will get another chance and he will be a border-line role-player, just keep in mind inevitable regression to the mean because it’s really easy to get carried away with “and he will be better this year!” mantra.

Reggie Jackson

42 FG%, 86,1 FT%, 1,57 3PM, 15,83 PTS, 3,28 REB, 5,34 AST, 0,7 STL, 0,11 BL, 2,39 TO

Reggie Jackson’s ankle is “fully healed” which by default makes him a starting point guard worth discussing.
But unfortunately that doesn’t mean he will be any good. His fantasy value was heavily reliant on high usage rate which should be lower this year with Blake Griffin handling the ball more than anybody Reggie played with in Detroit. What’s more, his three-point shooting was not his strength so playing more off the ball probably won’t help him in any way. And I didn’t even mention his recent injury history… .

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
Luke Kennard, Glenn Robinson III, Ish Smith

Just don’t bother with:
Stanley Johnson
We have 3 full NBA seasons worth of information that he isn’t even close to a quality starter because of abysmal shooting percentages but for some reason [cough 8th pick in the draft cough] he will get another chance.

Don’t forget to check the rest of the Detroit Pistons fantasy basketball projections..

Posted in Teams preview