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Austin Daye appears likely to start Detroit Pistons’ season opener

Last Thursday, Pistons coach John Kuester addressed some of his preseason lineups. Chris Iott of MLive:

How long will the experiment last?

"Through the weekend," he said.

The weekend has come and gone, and Austin Daye is still starting. He started the Pistons’ win over the Wizards last night and had 10 points and four rebounds in 29 minutes.

I think this is Daye’s job to lose. And with only one more game before the preseason opener, he probably doesn’t have time to relinquish it.

Stuckey probably a starter, too, but maybe less likely

Daye’s chief competition, Charlie Villanueva and Greg Monroe, also played against the Wizards, so that makes Daye’s start pretty meaningful.

We didn’t learn quite as much about Stuckey’s starting prospects, because Will Bynum sat out with a sore right hamstring. With 34 points on 18 shots and seven assists, Stuckey certainly played well enough to start.

But that doesn’t mean everything. Iott on last night’s pregame conversation with Kuester:

Kuester downplayed the importance of starting, then brought up — without prompting — how well point guard Rodney Stuckey played Saturday night. Stuckey came off the bench for 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 97-94 loss to the Bobcats.

“Starting the game is not always finishing the game and playing quality minutes,” Kuester said. “We saw something in the Charlotte game with Stuckey coming off the bench. He had a wonderful game.”

I still think Stuckey starts. He wants to be a leader, and that’s tougher to do coming off the bench. Starting carries prestige and respect.

For what it’s worth, Stuckey said the right things to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

"If I’ve got to come off the bench, I’ll come off the bench," Stuckey said after his best game of the exhibition season.

"I ain’t tripping; whatever it takes to make this team win. If they need me to come off the bench, I’ll do it."

I think there’s about an 85 percent chance Stuckey starts the opener. But what a crazy world where it’s more likely – let’s say 90 percent – Daye is a starter.

62 Comments

  • Oct 21, 20101:33 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    Also, its debatable that this years draft pick is more important than unloading Rip.  have a look at next season’s FA crop for the C position.  Between studs like M. Gasol & Al Horford, or value like Tyson Chandler, you can make a case that it’s more important that Detroit be a participant in next summers FA market.

  • Oct 21, 20101:47 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    @alan
     
    The Nuggets said their #1 priority is to stay under the luxury tax. Their #2 would be to replace Melo, which Kirilenko would have done, but Rip won’t. Rip is a 2-guard. Denver has two decent 2-guards right now. They have no need for Rip even if he was paid $1 per year. If the Nuggets found a player to replace Melo it’s possible that they don’t go into rebuild mode, because they still have JR Smith and Martin’s expiring deals to trade. There is still no guarantee the Nuggets go into rebuild mode. They have a ton of tradeable assets. They could turn it around pretty quickly if they found the right deals. Rip makes no sense for them. None. Prince would make more sense for them, but how do we deal them Prince and benefit?
     
    Rip is going to be impossible to move. I’m telling you he is not good anymore. The most worrisome thing I’ve seen looking at Rip’s stats is that he is taking more and more jump shots every year. I’ll give you a run down courtesy of 82 games: 06 – 74% of his shots were jump shots; 07 – 81%; 08 – 84%; 09 – 90% of his shots were jump shots. His fg% in those seasons went from 47%, 48%, 44%, and last year 41%. He’s taking too many jump shots. He’s not getting inside for easy buckets anymore, presumably because age and an increasing aversion to physical play is a factor. Meaning Rip is gone. He’s not coming back. He’s strictly a jump shooter at this point. And his fg% is hurting because of it. He’s going to be sooooooo hard to move in a trade.

  • Oct 21, 20103:01 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    my bad, alan. still, i don’t think there’s a chance denver takes on rip’s contract, regardless of anything he and chauncey did six years ago.
     
    unlike a lot of discussion points around here, there is some wiggle room for debate about whether or not the pistons need rip gone or a solid draft pick. personally i choose the pick. as you saw this summer and last, free agency is a big gamble. after another losing season, the pistons have a ways to climb back to the respectability. i don’t know if anyone would come here by choice right now. if i was a basketball player i sure wouldn’t the team had one thing going for it, a winning tradition, and that’s a memory right now. you’d be hard pressed to find a better example of a team that “plays the wrong way” right now.
     
    if it were up to me, i’d get value for stuckey and tayshaun instead, collect some draft picks and move on. all the centers you named are RESTRICTED free agents anyways, and at this point i’m not convinced the pistons can be competitive enough in the near future to hand any of them big enough contracts to pull them away from their current teams (if that’s even possible), with the exception of gasol, who is by far the least likely available of the three. no coach, no point play, we have nothing to offer anyone.
     
    sorry about skimming the bit where you explained that we’d just be unloading rip, but i was more concerned with some of the other problems. like the fact that denver would never take him. so it’s basically moot. but even if it weren’t, this team needs good draft picks BAD. unloading rip speeds things up and helps us for the next three years; draft picks help us in a wider time frame, and that’s what we need right now.

  • Oct 21, 20105:00 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    @Nuetes
    Rip is in decline, no question.  He never goes to the whole anymore and it appears “easy” for defenders to stay in front of him.  Still, he rarely went there in the first place and, even on jumpshots, he still gets to the FT line.  The issue with Rip on Detroit (IMO) is that he needs double-screens to be effective.  We only have two guys on the whole team that set screens and I’m sure we’ll agree that we can’t put Wallace and Maxiel on the court together.  So, Detroit can only offer him a single screen to run around.  Rip can still be effective on the floor on a team that offers double screens.  Unfortunately, the best teams that come to mind are BOS and SAS and they’re pretty set with SGs in Allen and Manu.  Maybe if one of those guys get hurt, I dunno. 

    On the Denver front, I’m reading similarly except that they do not want to go into rebuild at all.  Outside of Denver, people are saying Billups is the next to go but I would be SHOCKED if he were traded.  They’ll keep him and rebuild around him.  Between Afflalo and Rip they could share time at 2-guard and 3-spot and they’d also mix in Galinari (from my proposed trade) and Harrington at the 3 and 4-spot.  Maybe this is all a stretch but I don’t believe any contract is impossible to move.  I mean, it seems that GMs are always taking on bad deals – PHX took on Turkledoo

    @Laser
    Al Horford & Marc Gasol & Greg Oden (ugh!) are RFAs and longshots
    UFAs include Chandler, Nene (ETO), Joel Pryzbilla – these guys would help us immediately and wouldn’t take years to develop like a draft pick.  Also, as bad as we may be this season we could wind up with a lottery pick near the back.  I think we’ll agree don’t want a #10 pick and be forced to take a wing.  I think there’s more safety in playing the FA market.  Players still want a paycheck and will follow the $$.  Also, they still have respect for Joe Dumars – even you got to admitt that!  lol

  • [...] strengths and weaknesses for the Expected Scoring profile. That’s why I was so surprised to read this morning that Daye may have won the starting power forward job for the Pistons. This is not surprising because of his potential, which is considerable, but because it [...]

  • Oct 21, 201011:34 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    @alan: nobody, and i mean NOBODY starts a rebuild around a 34-year old. you’ll never be taken seriously talking like that. he’s on the decline, everyone who watches him play on the reg says he’s lost a step and his future is at the two.
     
    also, free agency would be the biggest risk we could ever take right now. the ONLY selling points this team ever had (and they’re intertwined) are our reputation/tradition and joe dumars. and in case you’ve only been skimming my posts like i did your last one, BOTH of these now rank somewhere below the city’s own ambiance. so here’s hoping we can find a nice young big man who can’t resist the draw of burned out buildings, foreclosed homes, crack houses, etc. best of luck with that.
     
    for another thing, there isn’t a big man in the world who would sign here for the MLE can NOT provide the kind of help we need. and the MLE is all we have to spend. in fact, it’s the minimum amount of money any team could offer, and there are at least two dozen more desirable destinations right now. we don’t need a 30 year old big man who’s got 2-3 good years left, because WE ARE GOING TO STINK FOR THOSE 2-3 YEARS no matter who we sign. what this team needs are rookies, because we’re not going to have a competitive team for a long time. any of chandler, nene or pryz would be an instant upgrade, but they’d add a handful of wins. all they’d do was ENSURE we landed no better than a #10 pick yet not be good enough to make the playoffs. why doesn’t anyone seem to understand this?
     
    any big man who will help this team WHEN IT’S READY TO BE GOOD again will have to be in his early-mid twenties right about now. we can’t just plug in a 30 year old and be “good” right now. i’ll take my chances with some young draftees who can grow with the team and help it grow into a contender. a band-aid only keeps us wallowing in mediocrity by keeping us in limbo somewhere between the best non-playoff team and the worst non-lottery team.

  • Oct 22, 20106:42 am
    by Alan

    Reply

    @Laser,
    It seems you are committed to the notion that Detroit can only become a better team by winning a high lottery pick.  I’m not going to fight you here but we’ll have to agree to disagree.  Of course a top 3 pick brings a lot to the table but I don’t believe in getting worse in order to get better.  I mean, who has this strategy worked for?
     
    Based on your last post, we also disagree on how bad the Pistons are.  Don’t get me wrong, this season will be long but not because there’s a lack of talent.  Instead, it’s because there’s an unbalanced roster.  A simple competition at the C spot, provided by Chan, Nene, or Pryz, would balance this out.  Seriously, think about a center good enough to push Big Ben Wallace to the 2nd unit where he would unleash havoc.  One of these three names would instantly springboard us on par with any other team’s chances at the #7 or #8 spot in the East.  And yes, I’d rather watch Detroit get blasted from the playoffs as a low seed than to watch ESPN present a Pistons representative in a suit and tie in utter disgust as we discover we’re selecting 7th, crushing our dreams of landing a top 3 pick.  A center puts Detroit in the mix.  What I don’t understand is why a Center has to be in his early-mid twenties to help us out.  All good teams need a blend of vets and youth.  We may have more vets than you like, but that will change quickly.
     
    On the Denver front, you’re reading too much into the word rebuild.  Of course you don’t rebuild around a 34 year old but you also don’t sell a fanbase season tix when you allow 4 of 5 starters to walk, 6 of 8 in the rotation, and return only Aaron Afflalo as a starter and Ty Lawson and Chris Andersen as rotational players.  A decade ago, after the Dyess & Van Exel trades, you could buy a ticket on the street for $5.  $5 for an NBA GAME!!  Once that happens, you can only get better with a top 3 pick like a Melo.  Denver would rather overpay Chauncey for two years and sell some tix a la Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns than the alternative.  Besides, you don’t trade your local hero that you’ve spent 6 years attempting to trade for after two seasons.  Wouldn’t Detroit have loved and opportunity to dress Magic Johnson in a Pistons uniform at age 34?
     

     
     

  • Oct 22, 20101:53 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    don’t get me wrong, talent isn’t the issue here. i’ve gone so far as to say if you put all the “talent” on this roster into a blender and hit PUREE, you might actually end up with an above-average amount of talent. but virtually all the talent is concentrated into two categories: scoring guards and lanky combo forwards. and all the players we’d like to move are tied to contracts that aren’t going anywhere.
     
    i might agree that a healthy, productive center might propel us into the 7-8 spot, but i think that would only be a recipe for prolonged mediocrity. very simply, we’re handcuffed from a chance at being “good” any time in the near future. so we could try to pool our resources and try to get a center that makes us a bit better, or we could acknowledge that we have a long way to go and start fresh.
     
    i like you, and i don’t want to argue with you about hypothetical trades. i think the fundamental disagreement we have is that you think a center will make all the difference. personally, i think the team has much more work to do than that. specifically, i think we need a point guard just as badly. i’d also like to have a true defensive stopper on the perimeter (tayshaun fits the bill right now, but we need to trade him to improve, so we need one for the future). afflalo fit he bill perfectly, but we gave him away for absolutely nothing. add another reliable big man, ditch two shooting guards, and we’re set. that’s a long way to go in my book. and i don’t care if they’re all young and raw with room to grow. we’re nowhere near respectability.

  • Oct 22, 20107:48 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    The Damn is leaking water.  Sure, you sit down and look at the designs but before that, you chew up a wad of gum and stick it where the water flows.  In this case, step one is get a Center.  Sure, we’d all love a young Brook Lopez to build around but Pryz or Chan will serve as a nice piece of chewing gum. Now, we’re in the playoffs and, while we’re not winning series, nobody is writing articles like “what happened to the Detroit Pistons?”  You wrote that we’re nowhere near respectability and that I think getting a serviceable center will make all the difference.  In my mind, getting back to the playoffs is respectability and we both agree a serviceable center gets it done.  So, we’re one freaking move from respectability.  And I don’t think a center makes all the difference, but its the most glaring issue (IMO).
     
    Why do you suggest signing an average center is a recipe for prolonged mediocrity?
     
    Afflalo was going to be my favorite nextgen Piston.  He’s a solid defensive stopper and an underrated overall player.  We gave him away for enough cap space to sign Chris Wilcox – just writing this I threw up in my mouth a bit.  We may have never utilized Afflalo for anything beyond his defense.  If this is the case, defensive stoppers are pretty cheap.  What did Matt Barnes sign for?  Anyhow, he’s gone and the point is moot. There’s a lot of moves that need to be made to move us from cellar to respectability to contender (PG, perimeter defense, interior defense, rim protector, leadership, top-notch coach, etc).  It’s rare you go from cellar to contender, but there’s every reason to believe we can return to respectability in 12 months (maybe less) if we prioritize and focus and get a man in the middle!
     
     

  • Oct 22, 20109:02 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Alan:
    God. Afflalo. That one’s gonna hurt the most. Did you see dude is averaging 20 a game for Denver this preseason?
    One thing I will say that complicates your points, however, is that the “chewing gum” players you speak of — solid/average big men and decent role-playing wings — have their pick of teams to sign with. Matt Barnes kind of sucks when you look at him as an individual (and I say that as someone who loves Barnes). But the dude could’ve played for Boston, Orlando, Miami — virtually any contending team in the league before signing with LA. Chandler will be the same as a FA next year. Not really a good player, but I’d say 10 or more teams will try to sign him, most of them contending teams.
    I agree that one or two low-rent, short-term players would have the Pistons contending for a playoff spot again. The problem is they not only fell out of title contender status, but out of playoff contender status. It’s rare that those solid journeyman players at any position will even consider signing with a team like Detroit. The Pistons end up with guys like McGrady — no one wants them, so the Pistons can roll the dice on him relatively cheaply.

  • Oct 23, 201010:39 am
    by Alan

    Reply

    Thanks Patrick.  All good points.
    Afflalo is a name that is going to come back and haunt us for awhile.  My buddies tease me because I’ve been saying since his draft date that he’ll be a player (said with inflection…lol).  That guy is a complete player and tough as nails.  He’s averaging 20 with Melo.  Can you imagine what he’ll do when Melo leaves and more shots free up?
    Chandler is a backup center who will be courted by contenders to be a backup center.  Same with Pryzbilla.  I surrender that Detroit is even less of a free agent destination if we can’t offer a reasonable shot at the playoffs.  One thing we can offer that contenders won’t be able to is more PT.  At the moment, that’s all we can offer but it may be that we can offer more $$.  I know we’re at the cap threshold but, historically, GMs would always take on bad contracts.  The last two years teams raced to get under the cap for the 2010 FA summer and now GMs are timid of the CBA’s expiration.  This will come to pass and we’ll be able to move contracts.

  • [...] strengths and weaknesses for the Expected Scoring profile. That’s why I was so surprised to read this morning that Daye may have won the starting power forward job for the Pistons. This is not surprising because of his potential, which is considerable, but because it [...]

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