Exploring Detroit’s Shocking Recent ATS Success

The Pistons have covered five of their last seven games after dumping their best players

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  • Not much was expected of the Detroit Pistons after they traded Andre Drummond and bought out the contracts of Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris. These transactions removed three of Detroit’s most experienced players from the roster. Surprisingly, the Pistons have played better in the aftermath of these moves. After starting the season 21-33 ATS, the Pistons have covered five of their last seven games.

  • Christian Wood has recently emerged as a potential future building block for the Pistons. In the first 52 games of his season, Wood averaged 10.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. In the last seven games, Wood has averaged 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game with increased usage and minutes.

  • The Pistons have transitioned to a more perimeter-oriented offense following the Drummond trade. In the first 56 games of the Pistons’ season, Detroit averaged 11.6 made three-point field goals per game. In the last seven games, the Pistons have averaged 15.1 made three-point field goals per game.

  • However, the reality is that even with their improved play recently, the Pistons remain a terrible team. One reason why the Pistons have covered five of their last seven games is that they have fallen behind by so much that their opponents have relaxed and allowed the Pistons to come back for backdoor covers. Detroit trailed by at least 14 points at some point in six of these seven contests.

The Fire Sale Leads To A Potential Building Block

On February 6th, the Detroit Pistons traded their starting center Andrew Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Brandon Knight, John Henson, and a 2023 second-round draft pick. Two weeks later, the Pistons would buyout the contracts of Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris. The Pistons’ win-loss record on the season is 20-43 and they are effectively out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Basketball analysts mocked the Pistons for trading Drummond in what amounted to a salary dump. But sports bettors who have recently backed the Pistons ATS are the ones getting the final laugh. The Pistons have covered five of their last seven games after starting the season 21-33 ATS.

Much of the credit for the Pistons’ recent string of ATS success goes to Christian Wood, a 24-year old 6’10 power forward out of UNLV. No team selected Wood in the 2015 NBA Draft. He played on four different NBA teams in three seasons before being claimed off waivers by the Pistons last summer. The departure of Detroit’s veterans has led to more playing time for Wood. He has certainly taken advantage of the opportunity and appears to be a potential future building block for the Pistons. In the first 52 games of his season, Wood averaged 10.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. In his last seven games, Wood has effectively doubled his offensive output by averaging 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

A More Modern Offense

At the start of the season, the Pistons’ three best players were arguably Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Derrick Rose. While these three veterans certainly have their strengths, their offensive skill sets are better suited for a bygone NBA era. With Drummond, Griffin, and Rose as their primary offensive catalysts, the Pistons ranked in the bottom half of the NBA in terms of three-point shooting. In their first 56 games, Detroit averaged only 11.6 three-point field goals per game. Drummond is now gone and Griffin went on injured reserve in December. 

Without their projected starting frontcourt from the start of the season, the Pistons have transitioned to a more modern offense based on three-point shooting. Detroit’s better shooters, such as Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, are being featured more prominently in the offense. In their last seven games, the Pistons have hit 15.1 three-point field goals per game.

Fool’s Gold

The Pistons are an eclectic mix of veterans trying to get their next contract and young players looking to prove themselves. The Pistons have played relatively well recently but they still do not have enough talent to compete with most teams in the NBA. It may be fool’s gold for bettors to put too much stock in the Pistons’ limited run of ATS success.

Ironically, the Pistons owe some of their recent ATS success to how far they fall behind their opponents. The Pistons have trailed their adversaries by at least 14 points at some point in six of their last seven games. These big deficits have made it easier for the Pistons to execute backdoor covers for their backers as the Pistons’ opponents have naturally relaxed after they have built comfortable leads against Detroit.

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