I've been bothered by the criticisms (even my own) regarding Josh Smith's fit here. People cite the poor outside shooting and the ill advised shots that Smith takes. They match that up with the Pistons struggles and how opponents pack the paint against them and say it won't work. It's an oversimplification of the situation and if you do that you might miss out on subtler reason for the Pistons problems and the opportunities that adding Smith brings. I may be totally wrong and play Don Quixote vs. national sports media but hey, what else is there to talk about. Stretching the floor With the popularity of hashtagging small ball and Dwight Howard's center and four 3pt shooters to give him room strategy, people like to talk about stretching the floor. In the context of Monroe/Smith/Drummond, the issue is not spreading the floor - there is no real argument against it - but how much spread is needed and how much is actually given by the defense. In modern NBA defenses, you have a concept called overloading the strong side. It takes advantage of the zone defense rules to force the offense to pass up on its 1st option and go with a lesser option. The advantage of a stretch four is that it forces defenses to over commit when the ball is swung to the weakside or from inside out. Stretching the floor is a means to an end. The end is to compromise the defense. This is true at all levels of basketball. There are many ways to achieve this: overloading one side, movement, screens and movement. Monroe can score regularly against just about anyone but he struggles mightily against athletic double teams. In this clip against the Kings, you can see the overload principle on defense. Prince shoots 43% behind the arc but his man gives him 5-8 feet of space. Maxiell's man doubles because Monroe is the leading scorer and Maxiell gets barely 7 pts a game. The doubleteam would come regardless of where Maxiell was standing. After getting blocked, the Kings reset and man the 4 corners of the paint. Hardly stretching the floor but its enough space. You don't need vast plains of open space to be successful but the Pistons' lack of perimeter scoring meant that they had to work extra hard cracking defenses. You can however create seams in the defense from the mid-range. Size + Speed Part of the reason why you don't need loads of space is because the big 3 are well, really big. And fast. In the Kings clip above, if you replace Maxiell with Smith, you have all the opening he needs to drive the lane and dunk. Sac's two biggest guys are on Monroe. You could even replace Drummond in that spot. Maxiell is fast but he needs to be cutting for the same thing to happen. Its a slight distinction but it makes all the difference. Smith can put the ball on the floor. Its time consuming to put out but there's a ton of clips with Smith scoring inside with 4 other defenders in the paint. With the size and speed of these guys, you just need to get the defense out of position. Predictability One of really frustrating things about the Pistons is how predictable they were. The team was potent when there was motion but too often the only motion out there was a high screen followed by a single cutter. Everyone should be on the move. Having only one guy average over 15ppg made it pretty predictable as to who you wanted to contain. My hope is to get this pretty well fleshed out with examples and breakdowns. It'll be a long term project.