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I’m slightly worried about Jonas Jerebko’s view of himself

The Pistons have a president in Joe Dumars who’s committed to defense.

They have a coach in John Kuester who’s committed to defense.

And they have veterans like Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince who are committed to defense.

The top-down organizational devotion to defense is big part of the reason I think Dumars signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. I can’t believe Dumars thought those two had been good defenders. But I could see him thinking the Pistons’ system could overcome that.

Well, maybe the opposite has happened.

I’m more concerned with how he plays than what he says about how he plays, but Jonas Jerebko didn’t exactly thrill me at Pistons media day yesterday. Jerebko said he worked on “everything” this summer, but the two areas he named were ball-handling and his mid-range game.

With the the Pistons’ roster, how often will Jerebko need to handle the ball? How often will he need to shoot a mid-range jumper?

Jerebko played so much last season because he was a perfect role player. He hustled, defended and offensive rebounded. Trying to become a go-to player would not help the Pistons in the short-term (probably not in the long term, either). They already have enough players with that mindset.

Jerebko bulking up a little so he can better defend power forwards would help. Improving his 3-pointer so he can stretch the floor would help. Even trying to play center would have a chance to help, given how thin the Pistons’ frontcourt is.

But apparently that experiment is long over.

“I don’t see myself as a center,” Jerebko said.

Given how he played as a rookie last year, I’m pretty sure Jerebko works hard. I’m just not sure he worked smartly this offseason.

There is a big caveat to all this, though. Jerebko played for Sweden in European Championships this summer. Unless I’m underrating Joakim Kjellbom, Jerebko had to carry that team – and he did. He averaged 25 points and 12.3 rebounds in four games.

“It got me a lot more confident, to show myself that I can do it,” Jerebko said.

If an American played professionally overseas and refused to cater his game for an American national team at the expense of his professional team, American fans would revolt. I don’t have a problem with Jerebko working on his game in ways that would help Sweden more than the Pistons, especially because playing for his home country was more immediate.

I just hope he can still be a good role player for the Pistons, especially at power forward. This team needs more players who can accept a role. I hope they didn’t lose one such player over the summer.

Someone asked Jerebko whether he could average 25 and 10 here.

“I’m definitely not going to do that,” Jerebko said, “but I’m going to try.”

I just hope he doesn’t try too hard.

5 Comments

  • Sep 28, 20101:58 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    this doesn’t worry me too much. i trust this guy not to go too far outside his game. the only thing i remember from last season that worried me was his sweeping skyhook, a shot i saw him attempt a bunch and make once. it’s like, i’m sure that’s “his shot” (he even said as much in that chat), but it just never seemed to fall in games. but if he wanted to work on that shot, so be it. he earned the shots he took, even the bad ones.
     
    thing is, i don’t think it’s necessarily the best thing for him to bulk up too much. “if it ain’t broke…” and all that. maybe i would have liked to hear that he worked on his three point shooting, but i don’t think there’s anything wrong with what he said his offseason focus was. jonas as a better shooter and ballhandler is a good thing in itself.
     
    in a hardly-related matter, i play basketball as a hobby (and occasionally in organized rec leagues), and i’m sort of a jerebko type. i’m not very skilled, but i’m a hard worker, team player, and i take pride in my defense. when i’m working on my game, i focus on my weaknesses (which happen to be ballhandling and, to a lesser extent, shooting). but i stay within my game when i’m playing competitively. i’m not going to go crazy and take a bunch of shots, because i’m a garbage man and i know it. but it can’t hurt to work on those basic skills, and once the confidence comes, use them in-game. i have a feeling he’ll do the same.
     
    i think he gets unfairly marginalized as a “hustle guy” (whereas i am very fairly marginalized that way). he’s got a good stroke, even if it’s the slowest release since marcus camby. and i just plain trust him. also, if he ends up getting away from his game, he’ll sit. that might be the one advantage to having thirteen guys who are equally average; there’s always a maxiell waiting to step in and play his role. we’ll see if it becomes a problem.

  • Sep 28, 201010:33 am
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    this whole article is absurd. JJ needs to be a threat on the floor, especially if he is again paired with Ben Wallace. He needs to be able to put the ball on the floor, hit the mid range jumper, and the stationary three. it sounds like he worked on exactly those elements of his game that he needed to work on. I don’t see his emergence as an offensive threat taking anything away from his hustle, defense, and rebounding. Long term, JJ is probably a three in this league, though he will play the four this year. And a three has to be able to put the ball on the floor. Even at the four, his quickness and mobility gives him an advantage over the bigger players he will be matched with if he can put the ball on the floor.

    Your analysis makes no sense.

  • Sep 28, 201011:13 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @detroitpcb:

    I would say ‘makes no sense’ is a bit strong. It makes some sense. The overwhelming majority of good looks Jerebko had last season were from 15 feet and out. If he’s a threat to hit those open looks at a higher clip, it makes him more valuable to the Pistons. They need guys who can stretch the floor. They don’t have many — Ben Gordon if he gets his stroke back, Villanueva if he’s on. Prince, McGrady and Hamilton are so-so from distance. Daye can hit it, but it’s unlikely he’ll play much. If the Pistons could have Jerebko stretching the floor, he’d be much more valuable. I think that’s all Dan was saying.

    And being able to hit those shots consistently would do wonders for opening up opportunities for him to put it on the floor.

  • Sep 29, 201012:11 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    I feel the exact opposite, to be honest. I love what he said. I think we’d all do well to remember that Jonas is on the 2nd year of his rookie deal — and that deal doesn’t pay much, relative to other NBA salaries. In addition to fighting for a starting spot, he’s fighting for a contract, for his career.
     
    My opinion is that Jonas’ future is at SF, whether that be with the Pistons or somewhere else, and apparently, he does too. Obviously and appropriately, he worked on the pieces of his game that would make him a more viable SF in the NBA.
     
    It’s not his fault that Dumars put together one of the worst frontcourts in the league, and it’s silly to think that we should expect Jerebko to adapt the improvements he wants to make to his game (at least at this point in his career) around that disastrous frontcourt. Jonas wants a career in the NBA, and there’s no reason to fault him for that.
     
    In short, good on Jonas for working on the two parts of his game that are obviously the weakest.

  • Sep 29, 20101:57 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @brgulker:
    I agree with your take on him focusing on making himself better in the interest of his contract/career.
    I disagree that those two aspects you mentioned were his weakest. His jumper is broke. If he could shoot more reliably, that would make it easier for him to put it on the floor.

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