Soon after Glenn Robinson III signed with the Pistons as a free agent, the speculation began as to whether he’d contend for the starting role that Stanley Johnson seemed to have cemented.
A sluggish start and some poor shooting have hastened the change, with Robinson getting his first start on Monday against the Heat. He responded with 16 points and gave the starting group a new look with his athleticism and knack for attacking the basket.
Robinson said it wasn’t a big adjustment to go from playing with the second group to getting more minutes with Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, who get the majority of the touches when they’re in the game.
“It’s most important to me in that starting group to know we want to get the ball in to Andre and Blake — they’ve been doing a great job all season with that,” Robinson said Wednesday. “The most important thing is my ability to run and help them out on the defensive end and be able to shoot.
“Gaining that chemistry with that first unit will work out.”
The switch didn’t result in a victory against the Heat, but the eye test showed some improvement in the offensive flow and the defense had to pay more attention to Robinson, who is more of an offensive threat than Johnson.
The Pistons got another boost, with the return of shooting guard Reggie Bullock, who missed the previous two games because of a sprained ankle. With Bullock and Robinson, the Pistons might have their most balanced wing group, with the ability to hit 40 percent on 3-pointers, attack the rim with off-ball cuts and steady defense.
“They’re two mature, veteran players who understand what we’re doing,” coach Dwane Casey said.
Casey maintained that the change wasn’t as much about anything that Johnson did wrong. Rather, Casey was looking to shake up the starting group and get out of the scoring lulls that have plagued them in the early part of the season.
With both Bullock and Robinson, the Pistons may have their best offensive combination.