We have struggled a bit against zones this year, but with the ultimate X and O's coach on our team we'll get if he can work his magic.There are those across the NBA who believe the best way to stop the Pistons is to use zone defenses against them.
There is plenty of evidence to support that theory, starting with the fourth quarter of a victory over Utah on March 13, when the Pistons were held without a field goal by the Jazz zone.
Since then, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Dallas, Sacramento and the Clippers utilized a zone to varying degrees of success.
Tonight's opponent, Toronto, will play zone almost exclusively.
"I am not concerned with our execution," said coach Larry Brown, who spent a large chunk of practice Saturday working on zone offense. "Basically, we've been too impatient and settling (for jump shots) too much."
Playing against zones also has adversely affected the Pistons' transition defense. The Sixers, Cavs, Kings and Clippers enjoyed a 71-37 edge in fast-break points, taking advantage of the Pistons' offensive impatience and poor floor balance.
"I don't think (playing against zones) is a weakness of ours," Chauncey Billups said. "We have a lot of shooters. All you have to do is make a couple of shots and believe me, they'll get out of that zone real quick."
Billups said the problem has been a lack of work against the zone. The Pistons haven't seen a lot of it until recently, and, since they don't play zone themselves, they don't work on it much in practice.
"I wouldn't say we're uncomfortable against it," he said. "But it is a little different. Teams play man-to-man so much, when they switch it up, it takes a minute to adjust to it."
Brown, who was accustomed to teams' playing special zones to guard Allen Iverson during his coaching stay in Philadelphia, has put in a series of plays he designed for Iverson. They work against zones or man-to-man.
"The key is to get the ball upcourt quickly so you have more time to work the offense," Billups said. "You have to swing the ball from side to side and try to find the gaps."