USA TODAY Sports
Luigi Datome was supposed to be the answer to the Pistons' outside shooting struggles.
The Pistons were strong in the paint offensively with Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith, but they lacked the perimeter shooting to truly open up their offense.
At 32.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc as a team, they ranked ahead of only the Philadelphia 76ers. Only three Pistons—Jonas Jerebko, Josh Harrellson and Kyle Singler—shot above the 36 percent league average.
The front office tried to address their poor outside shooting last offseason, but most of their acquisitions didn't pan out in that area. Brandon Jennings shot 33.7 percent, down from 37.5 percent in 2012-13. Dumars thought Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be a "great three-point shooter," but he shot just 31.9 percent. And Chauncey Billups shot 29.2 percent, the second-lowest mark of his 17-year career.
Those weren't even their biggest busts.
Luigi Datome was signed as a free agent from Italy in the offseason, and he was expected to make an immediate impact as a long-range shooter.
"[The Pistons] knew that Datome possesses one clearly translatable NBA skill: He can knock down shots," Brett Koremenos said on Grantland. "Datome should prove to be capable of handling the rigors of a higher level of competition, and could wind up being an extremely valuable role player."
That never happened.
After missing training camp and preseason with an injury, he struggled to find a role on the team, playing just seven minutes per game for the season. And when he did play he made just 7-of-39 threes, good for 17.9 percent. He proved overseas he can really shoot the ball, but he never got the opportunity as a rookie.
Smith, on the other hand, has never been a three-point shooter—he shot above 30 percent from behind the arc in only one season. But in moving to small forward full time in Detroit, he suddenly believed shooting the long ball was part of his job decision. He shot a career-high 3.4 threes per game, making just 26.4 percent of them.
In total, Smith attempted 264 threes on the season. In NBA history, only once has a player attempted at least 250 threes and made a lower percentage than Smith did in 2013-14: Antoine Walker in 1999-00 (he made 25.6 percent).
The new Pistons GM will need to find at least one more shooter, either in the draft or free agency. The new coach will need to implement an offense that gets its shooters open looks and keep Smith away from the perimeter.