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The Big Question: Jonas Jerebko

With a cloud uncertainty thunder-storming, snowing and hailing on the Detroit Pistons, we wanted our Pistons preview series to capture that. So for each Piston, Patrick Hayes and I will identify and explain what we each see as the biggest question surrounding him entering the season.

DF: Will the Pistons reap the rewards this season of Jerebko’s summer?

As I wrote before, I was a little troubled Jonas Jerebko chose to focus on ball-handling and his mid-range game this summer. The Pistons needed him most at power forward, and those aren’t skills he will use a ton at that position.

A few commenter made a good point: regardless of this season, Jerebko’s long-term outlook is still at small forward. If he re-signs with the Pistons, they could still benefit from his work this summer once the roster is straightened out.

One way or the other, I hope this summer was productive for Jerebko and the Pistons.

PH: Will he try and rush back from injury?

The Jonas Jerebko we all know and love is competitive, tough and one of the hardest working players on the team. Those are all great qualities on the court, but they are all also potential detriments to a player rehabbing a serious injury. Players trying to come back too early from tough injuries are a fairly common occurrence in the league, and few do it successfully without some setbacks.

Jerebko’s game is predicated on athleticism and activity, so putting too much pressure on his Achilles too early could have a serious impact on his skill set. As much as I’d love to see Jerebko on the court again, I hope the Pistons are really careful with his rehab and that he’s 100 percent healthy before he starts playing again.


  • Oct 20, 20105:48 pm
    by Laser


    i think in a perfect world, he’s a chris andersen type tweener energy forward off the bench. as much as i love the guy, he’s certainly not a starter on a very good team. that said, i think the summer he put in will definitely pay off. the team is going to extend him, he’ll be a big part of the future, just hopefully not as a starter. hopefully we’ll have a true power forward starting there, a more seasoned austin daye at small forward, and jerebko will back up both. those skills will make him more dangerous and harder to guard.
    i certainly think he’ll “try” to rush back from injury, but fortunately it’s not his decision to make. i don’t think kander’s the miracle man his reputation suggests, but i trust him to green-light a return from injury. even if he blew that once or twice last season. on a team with absolutely nothing to play for, i don’t think kander lets anyone rush back.

  • Oct 20, 20105:54 pm
    by Laser


    let me amend that a little: if basketball were a six man game and there was a position for “tweener” forwards, i think he’d be a hell of a starter. i do think he’s got the talent and heart to start, just maybe not on a highly competitive team, because he just doesn’t have a traditional position. i like the flexibility he provides as someone who could play either position, but i’d like it to be a situational thing. play him at either forward position based on matchups. i just wouldn’t want to start him in a perfect world, because he’s not quite enough of a matchup problem for the other team at either position. “holding your own” defensively just doesn’t cut it unless you can create real problems on the other end. could be a big part of a championship quality team, just not as a starter, and absolutely not at the four.

  • Oct 20, 20106:01 pm
    by Laser


    ok one last thing. sorry for three consecutive posts. on a good basketball team, a guy like jerebko is not “indispensable.” the fact that he’s so considered on this team is a testament to what a miserable excuse for a basketball team joe’s put together. the fact that his injury was treated with MUCH more shock and utter despair than any single injury last season (including those to three $10 million veterans) is just pathetic. because even when the coach was asked what the team would miss most with him out, he didn’t waste a SECOND saying “his energy.” and there’s something unforgivable about an assemblage of professional athletes who can’t provide enough “energy” to make up for a second year, second rounder who isn’t particularly skilled.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PistonPowered Feed, Patrick Hayes. Patrick Hayes said: The Big Question: Jonas Jerebko http://bit.ly/a3uQQ6 PistonPowered: [...]

  • Oct 20, 201010:51 pm
    by Rodman4life


    Laser, what is your deal against Dumars?  Instead of your same rant, let’s agree that past deals are spilt milk.  Let it go.  He overpaid Gordon and CV, but the players he picks up have a skill set.  I don’t think he thought he’d be stuck with this assortment of players; read: I think he was stymied when he attempted further deals and now we have a weak frontcourt with major defensive liabilities.  I think few GMs pull off the transition from great team to still consistently good team following a dismantling.  At least he was proactive in his attempts.

    I feel that you are the most perceptive poster on this site.  But you are letting your distaste for Dumars’ decisions taint your objectivity.  It is too easy to be a critic, yet I am not advocating blind optimism either.  To think that Detroit is too good for mediocrity or less is unfair, and it makes us come across as arrogant.  We build success in this town from the ground up, and that’s what makes us great fans.  You only truly appreciate the summits when you’ve spent some time in the valleys.  That’s why this town loves defense so much, it’s effort-based.

    To label Jerebko as an “energy” guy is simplistic.  There are energy guys scattered throughout the league, but every once in a while you find one with a motor.  He doesn’t just provide a spark, he wills things on the floor when his talent would suggest he has no business affecting the games tempo.  He is relentless, and he has shown a boundless potential to improve.  His effort is in his DNA, much like a former Piston who had NO BUSINESS leading the league in rebounds with 18+ per game at only 6’8″ tall.  Jerebko is worthy of carrying our “future” forward.  I am sure his greatest statistic with time will be his +/- totals when he’s on the floor.

    Dumars might make mistakes, but he is not fearful in his decisions.  He has shown that he understands his market and the limitations it carries.  He has developed a style that fits with Detroit (for example, drafting long-armed, lane-clogging atheletes) and he knows that if you can’t win a championship every year, at least you can go for a team that has identity (hard working).  Even though last year was rotten, he drafts players that fit that mold and is even willing to re-sign veterans who can help acheive those goals (Ben Wallace) 

    You have great insights Laser, I just want to hear your “glass half full” comments as well.

  • Oct 20, 201011:22 pm
    by Rodman4life


    And Dan F., I have to disagree with your assertion that Jerebko is better suited to the 3 position.  Paired with Ben, Jonas has to offer something more on offense.  Yet, if you look at last season, Jerebko was most effective around the basket on both ends of the court.  He cuts very effectively to the basket, has quick and responsive hands around the rim, sets good screens for a young player, and gets his body on people when it’s rebounding time.  Sure, the floor is better spaced when he hangs out at the three point line, but that diminishes his area of effectiveness.  Ballhandling and mid-range game makes me think that they want him around the rim more, albeit still very active and moving around.  Again I come back to Rodman and all the PT he got at the PF position.  If Jonas is willing to “bang” down low with bigger players, his mobility will be his strength.  Since when have the Pistons ever sought “traditional” players anyway??

  • Oct 21, 20101:24 am
    by Laser


    sorry, rod. no water in the glass at all these days.
    i don’t require a consistently good team, and i understand that things can’t always be great, but this “rebuilding” process has gone worse than anyone could justify. it’s as simple as this: the day before dumars traded chauncey, we had one of the best teams in the league (coming off a 60-win season and the league’s second best record) and unlimited flexibility, all-star veterans on reasonable contracts, cheap young productive talent, and rasheed wallace’s expiring contract. in short, joe could have moved absolutely anybody and gone in any direction he wanted.
    since then, he has not done a single thing right. he turned all that promise he worked so hard to build into one of the worst teams in the league with virtually NO flexibility whatsoever. we’re absolutely capped out, all of the players we would ideally like to move are tied to long-term contracts that we’re stuck with, and we can no longer afford to keep the ones who are about to expire. joe has handcuffed the franchise for the foreseeable future, and if he doesn’t manage to do something spectacular by february, i’m through with this team.
    making excuses for joe is pathetic. defending a botched rebuilding process by saying “nobody stays on top forever” is a losers’ mentality. it’s not about how bad this team is, but the fact that there are no obvious options for making it better. unless joe does something soon, we’re stuck with this disaster of a team for the next three or four years.
    joe brought this rebuild on himself. as constructed, we would have been competitive for a few more years. the window might have been closing, but it’s not like there was a sudden drastic decline. it’s not like we had a star player walk out on us. it’s not like we needed to cut payroll because ownership was losing money. he just got sick of getting bounced from the eastern conference finals, so he wanted to make a change. three years later we’re stuck in reverse with no end in sight.
    by contrast, look at the wizards. a year ago they thought they were poised for a title run. they had a big payroll, a loaded roster, and they were planning on a big run. things went south, so they pulled the plug, unloaded their veterans and decided to start over. ONE YEAR LATER they have a promising young roster with tons of potential, room for growth, and flexibility. take john wall off the roster entirely and they still have a brighter future than we do. i mean, they’re stuck with one of the worst contracts in NBA history (gilbert arenas), and they’ve managed a swift turnover.
    meanwhile we’re sitting on a pile of horrible contracts, an unbalanced roster, no big men or point play, no way to move any of these abysmal contracts. our future is grim, my friend. look at it this way: the longest you can sign a new player to is five years. so any rebuilding process that takes that long is NO ACCOMPLISHMENT, because all it takes is to wait until all your current contracts expire and start over. right now we are in YEAR THREE, and NOTHING has materialized. the only GLIMMERS of hope are the draft picks we’ve acquired by STINKING! and they’re not nearly enough. we’re not looking at franchise players here. bad team, no direction, and worst of all… no room for improvement. the glass is empty.

  • Oct 21, 20103:02 am
    by Tom Y.



    @ Laser: The glass also contains:
    Daye, who should be an above average SF next year,
    Greg Monroe who will need a little time but certainly has the potential to be a good PF,
    BG who I think can also be above average at his position.
    Also great bench players in Bynum and JJ.
    CV may yet improve (though I’m less optimistic about him).
    Tayshaun expires (11M+), as do Wilcox (3M) and Summers (760k). Altogether that’s about 15M off the payroll next year. We will need to extend Daye, JJ and maybe Stuckey, but I’m guessing we’ll at least have some more flexibility next year and a clearer rotation.
    Certainly we still have a hole at C and a weakness at the PG, and need to find a way to trade Rip and maybe CV and/or Max, but it’s all bad.


  • Oct 21, 20108:52 am
    by Patrick Hayes


    “Take John Wall off the roster and they still have a brighter future than we do.”
    Right. Because Gilbert Arenas and the JaValevator is a great core. The Wizards gutted their team and got lucky by winning the lottery. If the Pistons lucked out and won the lottery (or even got a top three pick to take Cousins), they’d be in a really good position right now too.
    The fact is, the Wiz have one really good young player (Wall). Yeah, they have more financial flexibility because other than Gil and Hinrich, they are a bunch of guys on cheap contracts, but when your frontcourt rotation is McGee, Blatche and Hilton Armstrong, you’re not gonna be good for a while.
    I mean, you’re big on your whole “don’t credit Dumars for lucky moves” rants, but damn … to argue that the Wizards didn’t luck into Wall is crazy.

  • Oct 21, 201011:38 am
    by Alan


    The sad truth about Jonas Jerebko is that the Pistons will have ZERO talks about contract extensions until he’s healthy.  Here’s why:
    1.) This is a very serious injury.  Even with today’s medical advancements there’s no guarantee to recover fully.
    2.) He’s got to not only recover physically but also return to form to get paid. 

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan but this is the business.

  • Oct 21, 201012:42 pm
    by Laser


    @tom: DAMMIT i’m sick of explaining this… but here goes, because there’s always someone clueless waiting in the woodworks who thinks tayshaun’s expiring contract is a good thing: whether or not we add any payroll or let our contracts expire WE HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY TO SPEND. we have enough money committed next season that we can offer players only the mid-level exception, the same amount teams like the lakers and celtics have to offer. please take my word on this. we would have to unload more players to go shopping for premier free agents, and our bad contracts are unmovable. can we get a FAQ posted or something??
    also, yes we have some nice players. never said otherwise. but that doesn’t make the future bright. we need to surround monroe and daye and jj with the right people, and we’re unable to do so because of these bad contracts and our current cap situation. the midlevel exception was supposed to get us some help up front this summer, and how did that go? every team in the league has “some nice players,” and most have NICER players; few teams are in as bad a situation as we are with gordon, rip and charlie combining to eat up more than half our cap space for years to come.
    1) the wizards have more than those two guys. they have serviceable players at EVERY position, not just scoring guards and lanky combo forwards. they have flexibility! the only contract that’s NOT movable is gilbert. sticking to the “take away john wall” theme, they have a lot of reasonably productive players on reasonable contracts. they only have their rookies and arenas signed past next year, and they’re all team options! they can go whichever direction they want. they can move anyone they want (except arenas). you say they “gutted” their team in a dismissive derisive way, but the pistons couldn’t gut the team if they wanted to. there’s nothing they could do to unload these veterans and move forward. deny the wiz credit if you like, but a gutted pistons team would look fantastic right about now.
    2) blatche and mcgee combine to form a better starting frontcourt than we can field right now. yi is better than charlie v and makes half as much annually for half the time. and no sense ignoring trevor booker. i’d love to have that guy around for five years making as much as ben gordon makes this year.
    3) never ever EVER said they didn’t luck into wall. don’t know where you’re getting that from, but it’s certainly not anything i said. i just said even if he fell off a cliff i still like their future prospects more than ours. i like almost everyone’s future prospects more than ours.
    4) the wiz might not be a better team than we are right now, but i’ve maintained that our team has an INCREDIBLY low ceiling. i think the absolute best anyone could reasonably expect from this team is a .500 record, and if they kept this sorry roster together for the next four years, the ceiling would be the same. the wiz, on the other hand, have plenty of room for improvement. they should probably be better than us by the end of the season, but they’ll certainly get better and better over that same time frame.
    5) i’m more jealous of their flexibility than i am of john wall alone. anyone can drop a lot of games and luck into winning the lottery; we’re stuck with this mess (or a close approximation of it) until i’m into my thirties. i give them NO credit for drafting wall. i give them 100% credit for maintaining the flexibility to turn their roster over when things went south. we couldn’t do that (or even come close) if we tried.
    @alan: that’s not a sad truth. he’ll be back, and he’ll be reasonably paid. jonas jerebko is the very least of any of our worries.

  • Oct 21, 20101:29 pm
    by nuetes


    @laser -
    “we need to surround monroe and daye and jj with the right people”
    This is where I lost you. Those guys aren’t good enough to build around. We still don’t have a player or players to build around. Those guys might be good players to use to build around the player we don’t have yet. Maybe the lottery gods will look kindly on the Pistons this year and award them Harrison Barnes or something. Then we’ll be in business.
    I agree with you about the Wiz. I like their front court better than ours. I like their back court better than ours. I like their team better than ours. I don’t think they will be good, but that’s mostly because they are so young and have incomplete players. They certainly have guys with higher ceilings and more talent than the Pistons. I’m not sure that they have THAT much cap flexibility. But they do have enough internal talent and potential that they might not even need it, and they are likely to hit the lottery again this season.

  • Oct 21, 20103:37 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    Blatche is signed to a really, really team-friendly contract in Washington, but the Arenas and Hinrich deals limit their financial flexibility, not to mention guys like McGee, Nick Young and Yi are all nearing the end of rookie deals and will either be gone or have to get raises soon.

    I just don’t see it. They are in a better position than Detroit because they don’t have three bad long-term deals like the Pistons. They have one (Arenas) and one that’s certainly moveable but not the greatest deal (Hinrich).

    I mean, I’d rather have Monroe or Jerebko than McGee or Yi. I’d rather have Daye than Nick Young or Al Thornton. I do really, really like Kevin Seraphin though. He’s going to be a steal for them.

    Wall makes the Wizards situation infinitely better because they have a franchise player who, if they keep him happy, will soon have them contending for the playoffs. They have one bad contract, Detroit has three. But the Pistons also have $15 million in expiring deals they can (hopefully) use in a trade to try and improve. Washington doesn’t have that.

    Both teams have pluses and minuses.


  • Oct 21, 201011:09 pm
    by Laser


    @nuetes: look, i’m not saying BUILD AROUND THEM, but these guys will be a part of this team’s future, and rightly so. neither’s a franchise player, but i think they could both be more than “solid.” they’re the best things we have going. don’t worry about a good draft pick; we’ll get one. maybe even better than 7th, but i think that’s probably a good guess. the point is, we need to add guys who will be a part of the future along with these guys. dump the veterans we can dump, collect some picks, get this damn thing going already.
    @hayes: did you read my bit about hinrich, by chance? it’s as simple as this: they JUST got him. so it stands to reason he’ll be a big part of the team this season. and then *POOF* he’s suddenly an expiring contract (if john wall is ready by then to be the unquestioned floor leader). get over this hinrich bugaboo you’ve got. the guy’s overpaid, but he’s on a better contract than our three worst, and it becomes an expiring contract next season, so he’s EASILY moved if they so choose.
    i recognize the need to grasp at straws when you’re trying to make the pistons’ future outlook similarly bright to other, more flexible teams. but that’s all you’re doing. and i doubt you’ll change any minds by picking on a somewhat overpaid but productive player who plays two positions, plays at both ends, and is on a two year deal.
    and you can pick out our three best young players and say they’re better than, uh, a few of washington’s players selected at random, but it doesn’t mean much. i’m sure you’d trade daye, monroe and jj for wall in a heartbeat. so that settles that. add to that seraphin and trevor booker on miniscule contracts, and our three young guys look like peanuts.
    also, everything about the wizards’ situation gives them an infinitely better outlook. absolutely everything. we may have $15 mil coming off the books, but do you honestly think joe dumars is going to do “the right thing” with it (whatever that may be)? i sure as sh*t don’t. at this point, it’s a safer bet that he’ll do whatever the worst thing possible is. and the wiz have cap space at their disposal next summer, and all but one of their contracts are HIGHLY movable. no sense trying to put lipstick on a pig here. i get it, you’re an optimist. you get it, i’m a pessimist. let’s see who turns out right.

  • Oct 22, 201012:43 am
    by Patrick Hayes


    You’re priceless man. Don’t ever change. I’ll clarify some things between the two teams:
    Detroit has three of the four worst contracts. Washington has the best young prospect. After Wall, Washington doesn’t have any young player who I’d say is definitely better than any of the Pistons young prospects.
    Your points are fine. But cut the “I realize you have to grasp at straws” passive-aggressive crybaby garbage. It’s not grasping at straws to say that Monroe/Daye/Jerebko are talented with upside. It’s not grasping at straws to say that Prince/Wilcox and their expiring deals are assets.
    Nothing I do grasps at straws or spins anything. I’m going to watch this team and cover them well regardless of whether they win 8 games or 73. You’ve chosen a different tact (“Make a move by the deadline or risk losing my fandom!”), which is fine I guess, if not a little front-runnerish. I’m aware of the limitations of the roster. I’m aware of the cap situation. I’m aware they don’t have a young player who is a true building block. That doesn’t mean there’s no reason to watch the team and it doesn’t mean they can’t be in a position to make a move. Things change quickly in the NBA, and just as you so readily accuse everyone of being shameless homers not brave enough to call out Joe Dumars 14 times a day like you, you would readily dive back in and be celebrating and cheerleading if something unthinkable happened like Daye took a major leap forward and became a really good contributor or Monroe quickly picked up the NBA game and proved that he was every bit the prospect other bigs in the draft taken ahead of him were (Ekpe Udoh excluded, obvi).
    So what’s the deal? Posts need to have disclaimers for you to be happy or something? “This was written knowing that the team sucks and Dumars should totally get fired and Rip Hamilton’s contract might as well be Gilbert Arenas’s and watching an exciting player sustain a serious injury doesn’t matter because the team sucks anyway.” Something along those lines? Anything less is being a pathetic cheerleader? Having the audacity to say that JaVale McGee and Yi Jianlian and Nick Young kind of suck in a lot of ways and might not be as good as Monroe/Daye/Stuckey/Jerebko in a thread where people keep inexplicably romanticizing one of the league’s most dysfunctional franchises coached, incidentally, by a coach that was run out of town in Detroit for being such a jellyfish, is “grasping at straws?”
    I respect your viewpoint, but to be clear, what you do is easy. Being perennially negative is the easiest thing to do. It’s not being critical when being critical is necessary. It’s saying “everything sucks” because that’s the safest thing anyone can write right now. Then if everything does, in fact, suck, you can come around and say, “Laser told all you Vincent Goodwill loving cheerleaders you were morons for two straight months in the preseason!”
    So whatever dude. I watched the team when Ivano Newbill was getting burn, and I’ll watch the team now. There’s a good chance they could suck. There’s also a good chance they could be better than people are giving them credit for since injuries have been such a factor in chemistry/lineups/performance the last year. I’m interested to see how it plays out either way, whatever that makes me.
    Also, you’re going to love the post I’m working on for tomorrow. It’s going to ruin your morning.

  • Oct 22, 20101:32 pm
    by Laser


    about: passive-aggressiveness, we’re both guilty; i said you’re grasping at straws, you compare me to a front-runner. it’s weird to call me out for the “straws” bit and jump right into “front-runner” talk, but it’s fine as long as we acknowledge what’s going on here.
    “it’s not grasping at straws to say that monroe/daye/jj are talented with upside” is a straw man argument. it just is. i never said they weren’t that. all i said is that wall trumps them single-handedly. it’s much easier to make our “little three” look great when you compare them to guys like yi and al thornton (or whoever) instead of the more apt comparisons of booker, seraphin and wall.
    about making a move: it’s like this… i don’t believe we’re in a position to make a move. certainly not one that reverses our fortunes. but compounding this is the fact that dumars has been shouting from the mountaintops that change is a-comin’. “we’re gonna get back to the toughness and grit,” “we’ll assess everyone on the roster and do what’s necessary.” blather like that. and what’s the result? apparently everyone passed the test, because they’re all back. oh, except for the biggest man on the roster who actually plays defense. bad hands or not, i’d rather have kwame brown on the roster than t-mac, for when we need interior defense and a big body. we actually somehow managed to get smaller and worse defensively this year. i don’t think i’d go easy on joe based on his poor performance alone, but when change is absolutely necessary, then he says “change is coming” and makes no changes, it just compounds his problems with scrutinizing fans like me.
    you’re certainly right that it’s easy to criticize this team. but that’s because joe’s made it so easy. he’s made it nearly impossible for someone with critical tendencies to be optimistic. the team is terrible for no good reason with no visible light at the end of the tunnel. back when this team was good, the only MILD complaint i ever made was that we never, ever took that final step and got a reliable backup for tayshaun. it was always mo evans, jarvis hayes, and the divine walter herrmann. but it was never a real sticking point. this team is almost ALL sticking points.
    and hayes, you have my word that joe’s going to get credit if he can turn this thing around by february. but we’re in year three and we’re not even on the ROAD to respectability. if there’s no time table on a turnaround/rebuilding process, what’s the accomplishment? every roster has the opportunity for COMPLETE turnaround every five years if it so chooses. this team didn’t build itself; joe built it. so joe takes the credit and the blame. what’s so wrong with that?
    on that bit about me celebrating/cheerleading: if daye takes a major leap forward and looks like a solid contributor (which is something less than “unthinkable,” since it’s basically happening as we speak), that’s great. i like daye a lot. same thing with monroe. but two or three bright spots on the roster isn’t close to enough. and these two are the “reward” we fans get for suffering through seasons like 08-09 and 09-10. it’s not enough if we’re losing 50 games year-in and year-out. not nearly enough.
    believe it or not, i spend less time posting on this board than i spend HOPING and PRAYING to whatever god/spirit is out there that my favorite sports franchise gets this mess turned around. i would LOVE to pop in here some day and say: “holy cow. joe is a genius. he did it. there, i said it” or something similar, once joe’s brilliant plan comes to fruition. once he turns rip’s contract into a pau gasol or whatever trick his cheerleaders think is up his sleeve or whatever. but i don’t see it happening. i would literally cry tears of joy if joe could manage to prove me wrong about him. but he’s not giving me anything to work with in that regard. and i can only work with what he gives me.
    there are plenty of shades of gray on this comments community, and only a small handful of embarrassingly faithful cheerleaders. it just so happens i have the absolute grimmest outlook, but wins and losses are going to vindicate one of these groups. being perennially negative has brought me to the brink of cutting the cord with one of my favorite things. it should be obvious how much i love this franchise and want them to succeed, but it’s been a source of grief and frustration for me lately.
    the power of positive thinking can only help me in my own world, not things outside my reach. so i vent. i can’t change everyone’s mind, but i do what i can to call things as i see them. at minimum, if the pistons finish the season with a winning record, even if i’ve taken my projected hiatus from the team come february, i promise i’ll come back here to issue an abject apology to everyone who showed a glimmer of optimism.

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