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Lessons for the Pistons’ rookies

ESPN’s David Thorpe has given the league’s best rookies players to watch and learn from. For Jonas Jerebko, Thorpe recommends Jerebko take a page out of Ron Artest’s book:

It might seem like an odd pairing, but it will make perfect sense. Jerebko has the stuff to be a real pain in the butt to go up against — all arms and elbows and a red-hot engine that never stops. Great teams always seem to have one guy who fires up his own team while punishing opponents with both mental and physical play.

Artest is not the player he once was (I’d want Jerebko to pull out some classic game film of Artest and maybe even get into some ’90s Dennis Rodman footage), but he’ll show Jerebko enough to help him reach another level on defense and the boards. No, I don’t want Jerebko to look at Artest’s shot selection — just his ability to get under the skin of his opponents using his length, physicality and bone-crushing attitude.

If you have Insider, I recommend you see what Thorpe wrote about other rookies. It’s a really fascinating piece.

But it made me wonder who the Pistons’ other rookies should emulate. I had no easy time thinking of answers (share your ideas in the comments), but this is what I came up with:

Austin Daye – Shane Battier

Like Daye, Battier isn’t that athletic. But unlike Daye, Battier is a premier defender. Battier is also tough, a trait I haven’t seen from Daye .

Being an elite athlete is usually a good first step to becoming a good defender. But as Battier has shown, there are other approaches. Battier is one of the league’s smartest players and relishes in learning opponents’ tendencies.

By all indications, Daye is very bright, too. I think he could handle the type of scouting Shane Battier does. That would mean less attention to his offense, but I’m OK with that.

If he wants to become more than a role player (and he’s not even there yet), Daye needs to learn how to defend and show some grit.

DaJuan Summers – LeBron James

Obviously, Summers will never approach James’ level. But there’s still a lot he could learn from the King.

The Pistons like Summers because of his combination of size, speed and agility. But he doesn’t always know how to control that and can look like a runaway train at times.

James is also big and fast, but he has great control of where he’s going. He knows how to shift his weight to keep balance at all times.

If Summers improves in that regard, it will help his offense defense.


  • Mar 25, 20109:28 pm
    by koz


    How about Laimbeer? Seems like that would be a good model for Jerebko as far as defense, toughness, passion, etc.

    • Mar 29, 201011:57 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Koz, Laimbeer definitely makes sense, but in sticking with Thorpe’s theme, I wanted to use current players.

  • Mar 26, 201011:15 am
    by LEVI


    in the early 2000′s i heard bill walton say of dirk nowitzki “his feet just won’t play defense”. in limited play this season, i have seen similar problems with austin daye. the little success he does have with defense and rebounding can usually be atributed to his superior length. also similar to dirk, austin daye has amazing shooting and ball handling skill for his size, six feet eleven inches. i believe that daye should concentrate on offense, focusing on improving his turnaround jumpshot from the mid post or foul line extended, just like dirk.

    • Mar 29, 201012:00 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Levi, I think Nowitzki has improved a great deal on defense. If he can do it, I believe Daye can, too.

  • Mar 26, 20101:01 pm
    by brgulker


    Daye should study Tay. I know that seems absurdly obvious, but it’s true. Not just Tay’s game, but Tay’s workout habits — how is Tay able to get so much strength out of a small frame?

    • Mar 29, 201012:02 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      I think that’s a great point, brgulker. Tayshaun plays a lot stronger than he looks. I honestly don’t know why that, but I think the answer effects whom Daye should study.

      If Prince knows tricks to play strong than he actually is, he’d be a great role model.

      But if Prince is just stronger than he appears, Daye should study Ben Wallace. After all, nobody could provide a better example of how to bulk up.

  • Mar 26, 20107:03 pm
    by Brady


    I think Battier is a good one for Daye to look at, but offensivly, what about Rashard Lewis? I know that’s who he always gets compared to, but Lewis is one of the best shooter-low post players around when he feels like playing.
    Artest’s intensity and stuff is a good thing for JJ to learn, but I think Arnie said this, Dennis Rodman. Obviously you don’t want any attidude/offensive tips, but JJ already rebounds at a pretty nice rate and with some Rodman rebounding technique to go with some Artest defense could create a great player.
    For Summers I’m leaning towards Carmello. LeBron is just so athletic he doesn’t always have to be the sharpest in other aspects (although he normally is). Carmello isn’t the best athlete, but he can use his size/strength and score in a multitude of ways

    • Mar 29, 201012:08 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Brady, I think Lewis would be a decent example. But I purposely chose a defensive player for Daye. And Lewis has become a lot more reliant on 3-pointers than I’d like Daye to be. It’s not a habit I want the Pistons rookie to pick up.

      I think Jerebko will need to improve his rebounding positioning next year, so Rodman tape could come in handy. Jerebko gets a lot of rebounds this year simply because his effort. Next year, opponents will be more concerned about keeping him off the glass.

      I’m not sure how much watching Anthony would help Summers. Anthony is a good shooter, but there are better players to learn that skill from. And he can drive to the basket very well, but other players set a better example of how to do that, too. Anthony is the complete package offensively, but I don’t think it would be a ton of benefit to Summers to tell him, “Go watch Melo, and play offense like he does.” Summers might reach that point, but right now he should just work on a limited number of skills. That will get him in the rotation.

  • Mar 28, 201011:55 am
    by Dave


    DaJuan Summers — Brandon Bass — learn how to use that lovely midrange jump shot and quickness offensively to it’s best effect and how to survive as an undersized power forward defensively.
    Austin Daye — Kevin Durant — in terms of how Durant gets his shot attempts, how he uses his length to his advantage and gets so many high percentage looks over the top of the defense. Also, how Durant draws fouls.
    Jonas Jerebko — Robert Horry — the versatility defensively based around his quickness and mobility along with a well-rounded offensive game. Add a three point shot to become a stretch four type.

    • Mar 29, 201012:12 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      In two year, I’ll really like that Brandon Bass call for Summers. But the Pistons see him as a small forward/ shooting guard right now. I’d rather him work at those positions and get in the rotation before trying to become more versatile. But I agree, he has the skill set that could make him a Bass-like four.

      I think Durant makes a lot of sense for Daye offensively. But as I said above, I purposely picked a defensive player.

      I like Horry a lot for Jerebko. That’s an intriguing one.

  • Mar 30, 20108:18 am
    by koz


    Austin Daye should study both Tim Duncan and Rasheed Wallace. Learn how to post up, pick and pop. defend with length, position for rebounding from Duncan, getting off shots inside from Duncan, and the midrange turn-around from Rasheed.

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