In our series of season outlooks for the players on the 2017-18 Detroit Pistons roster, we’ll run through expectations for each. Next up is Stanley Johnson.Of all the Detroit Pistons who had seasons they won’t remember fondly, Stanley Johnson might be near the top of the list. After an inspiring rookie season, he hit the summer circuit last year with a re-worked jump shot and the promise of an Orlando Summer League in which he was consistently the best player on the floor in spite of coaching restrictions hindering the use of his right hand. He tore up summer league, the Drew League, Drake’s OVO league and just about every competition he found himself in, but when training camp began everything started off poorly. Johnson missed time due to foot pain from his shoes, and his stubborn tendencies clashed with Stan Van Gundy and the duo struggled to get on the same page most of the season. Johnson didn’t see 20-plus minutes of playing time for the fourth time until December 11th, by which time he had already had three DNP-CD’s and a one-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules. In spite of this, and the fact that somehow his shot ended up more broken than in his rookie season (he had an effective field goal percentage of 42.8 in his rookie season and it dropped to 41.5 percent last year), the Pistons were generally better when he was on the floor than off. Some of that is due to the fact that much of his playing time came against second units, but he had great chemistry with Ish Smith, Tobias Harris and Aron Baynes and his defense was generally excellent. This quartet (which earned the nickname of “Voltron”, coined by Rod Beard of the Detroit News) thrived all season, but particularly in February when they led all non-Golden State Warriors four-man combos in the NBA in net rating with a glittering +25.9. The only better four-man unit that month was Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Johnson’s performance will be vital to the Pistons this season. With the trade of Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics for Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson has been forced up the pecking order in the forward rotation. Instead of backing up Kentavious Caldwell-Pope last season out of position at shooting guard, where 45 percent of his minutes were played, he’ll be playing in his more natural small forward spot, with the possibility of some small-ball power forward minutes. In some starting lineup projections, Johnson would start for the Detroit Pistons at the three, cheap jerseys authentic although Stan Van Gundy may take a more patient approach installing him into the starting lineup. Without a doubt, he is much better positioned to make an impact playing his physical style of defense this season. In addition, an offensive approach that is more focused on cutting off ball and slashing to the rim than spotting up can only benefit him, and playing at the three will aid that.
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