Record: 7-23 | Streak: Won two | Off. Eff.: 101.8 (26th ▲)| Def. Eff.: 107.0 (20th ▲)
The Pistons enter the final week of 2014 and the first week of 2015 on what is, surprisingly, their third two-game winning streak of the season. They're also the team's two most impressive wins of the year, having thoroughly beaten the Pacers and crushed the Cavaliers. For the first time of the year, in my opinion, there is actually a positive vibe around the team. It's certainly no guarantee that the good feelings are going to last, but it looks like the removal of Josh Smith from the roster has pointed the team in the right direction for the time being. The offense is moving much more effectively, having scored 119 points against the league's 6th-ranked defense and broken the franchise record for made three-pointers in the win over Cleveland.
Jodie Meeks is a big part of that offensive improvement, having scored in double figures in three consecutive games now. Meeks has a 16.9 PER and 57.0 TS% through his 8 games (small sample, no doubt), offering stability at the SG position. Meeks' return also appears to have had a positive effect on the play of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who no longer is forced to log obscene minutes as the only true SG on the roster. Since Meeks' return, KCP has only played more than 30 minutes in one game, a noticeable feature for a player who had topped 35 minutes eight times in Detroit's first 22 games. Playing reduced minutes, KCP is averaging 13 PPG on 44% shooting, including 43% shooting from behind the arc. While KCP's raw production of 13 PPG isn't much of an increase on his 12.6 PPG for the season, when you consider his reduced minutes, it's much more evident that the return of Meeks has been good for the sophomore SG. Sustaining the improved efficiency is now the key, both to Caldwell-Pope's development and the Pistons' success.
Click "Read More" for a preview of Detroit's games this week...