Marcus Morris‘ hot start for the Pistons is a product of coach Stan Van Gundy encouraging his starting small forward to take mid-range jumpers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Van Gundy told Morris to work on his mid-range game after acquiring him from the Suns in July and Morris has responded by averaging a team-high 19.3 points during the team’s 3-0 start. “Marcus is a guy we can go to and isolate and can shoot a high percentage on mid-range jumpers,” Van Gundy told Langlois. “Across the league, it’s not a high-percentage shot. We know that. But everything is based on individuals. It’s not based on a league-wide average. The league-wide average on those shots might be 37 percent, but Marcus is shooting 52 percent.”
In other Pistons news:
- Ersan Ilyasova is having his minutes monitored closely by the coaching staff, David Mayo of MLive.com reports. The power forward who was acquired from the Bucks during the offseason, is averaging 26.0 minutes, less than any other starter. “I’m concerned with him,” Van Gundy told the team’s beat reporters. “He plays at a real high pace and intensity level. He had a long summer. I am somewhat conscious of not over-playing him needlessly.” Ilyasova played for the Turkish national team during the offseason.
- Center Andre Drummond became the first Piston in nearly six years to win the league’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week award, Mayo notes in a separate story. Drummond had double-doubles in each of the first three games, including a 20-point, 20-rebound outing against the Bulls.
- Rookie forward Stanley Johnson will likely develop into an ideal complement to the team’s core duo of Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson, Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com opines. Johnson has the defensive prowess to match up with division’s top wing players and his offensive game is more suited to the NBA, Pandian adds. “College basketball is a lot different with the rules,” Johnson told Pandian. “I think the NBA game is a help for me because when I drive to the basket there is not three or four defenders at the rim, there is only one. This makes my reads a lot easier and it makes attacking the basket a lot easier.”
- The Pistons’ quick start has reserve power forward Anthony Tolliver feeling bullish about the team’s prospects this season, as he told Ric Bucher in an Sirius XM Radio interview (Twitter link). “I just don’t see us not making the playoffs,” Tolliver boasted in the interview.