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Game Review: Time for Tayshaun Prince to go

Tonight’s game was an embarrassment (see the first note below), but the biggest takeaway should be that it’s time for Tayshaun Prince to be done as a Piston.

This isn’t exactly an indictment on Prince. His contributions in Detroit have been great, and I don’t think he’s washed up. He didn’t play well tonight, but he was far from the problem. No, I’m ready for the Pistons to rid themselves of Prince for another reason.

He can’t handle losing, and the Pistons are going to lose a lot this year.

After the game, John Kuester called for another voice to step up besides his own. Basically, he held his players accountable and implied he was doing an acceptable job as far as leadership. Prince didn’t take kindly. Via Dave Hogg:

Prince on Kuester: "It goes both ways. If he wants to say we’ve got to be more vocal, he’s got to do some things better too."

Hogg had another Prince observation during the game:

Tayshaun Prince yelling back at some angry fans behind the Pistons bench.

Yikes.

As I’ve written before, Prince appears to have a negative attitude. I think winning keeps him on an even keel. When his team loses, you get this.

The Pistons can’t go forward with a player fighting his coach and fans, especially when there aren’t tangible signs it will get better. With this roster, the Pistons aren’t going to win a lot this season. I don’t see how Prince’s attitude will improve.

There’s circumstantial evidence Prince dislikes Kuester, but in most situations, the coach gets fired. That might not be the case here.

For one, Prince and his expiring contract have value. Put him on a contender, and his negativity won’t pop up anymore.

Secondly, with the team for sale, I don’t think Karen Davidson is rushing to pay Kuester to go away.

Again, this isn’t meant to demonize Prince. He is what he is – and that’s probably no longer a fit with the Pistons.

Embarrassing game

The Celtics are one of the NBA’s top teams, and they did what top teams do against poor teams. They brought out the worst in the Pistons.

Boston took advantage of problems the Pistons always have. Outside of Ben Wallace, Detroit doesn’t have someone capable of consistently defending bigs. That’s why Kevin Garnett made 9-of-12 shots.

Boston took advantage of problems the Pistons sometimes have. Rodney Stuckey isn’t a pure point guard, but so far this year, he’s dictated the tempo effectively. Rajon Rondo’s pressure caused Stuckey to look out of sorts, making only 6-of-15 shots and posting three assists and three turnovers.

Boston even took advantage of problems the Pistons haven’t had this season – a lack of effort. And that’s what really stings.

The Pistons probably weren’t going to beat the Celtics, anyway. But they came out flat – and that’s the difference between a regular loss to a good team and one where the opponents wins quarters by five, eight, seven and three on the way to a 109-86 victory. It’s what makes the Pistons’ first 0-4 start since 1999-00 feel even worse.

The Pistons never had a sustained run of competence (a 12-4 run against Boston’s bench warmers in the fourth quarter doesn’t count as competence), and that’s unacceptable. There were just so many reasons to shake your head tonight.

  • Detroit’s transition defense was atrocious, and that wasn’t just a results of Rondo. Even Boston’s older players had no trouble getting up the court ahead of the Piston defenders.
  • I don’t know how in the world Ben Gordon fouled out. He didn’t seem close to Ray Allen often enough to pick up six fouls.
  • Detroit didn’t move well off the ball offensively, and that led to poor ball movement. Rondo had more assists than the Pistons, and it wasn’t close (17-13).
  • Despite playing 32 minutes, Tayshaun Prince never asserted himself into the game – 10 points, one rebound, one assist, no steals, no blocks and two turnovers.
  • Led by Stuckey’s three turnovers, the Pistons coughed it up 17 times. Honestly, I was surprised to see the number so low. They looked extremely sloppy.

The unbalanced roster won’t be fixed anytime soon. It’s why the Pistons opened the season 0-3, and in a micro view, I can live with that. They played hard and gave themselves good chances to win their first three games.

But the lack of intensity and focus the Pistons showed tonight kills hope. If this keeps up, what was guaranteed to feel like a long season will be unbearable.

Time for a rotation change

When Tracy McGrady left the game for DaJuan Summers, I had no idea it was because McGrady’s knee was bothering him. I guess I can’t tell the difference between a healthy and injured McGrady anymore.

McGrady has done nothing to earn minutes, and it’s time Kuester pulls him from the rotation. I told this to Patrick during the game tonight, and he agreed, saying, “Yeah. Summers is much better than McGrady.”

I honest had no idea if he was being sarcastic (he wasn’t), and that should say something about the state of the Pistons’ rotation. Not only are they playing someone whose knees prevent him from making any type of impact, I can’t tell if his replacement is any better.

Before just throwing Summers to the wolves, Kuester should have taken more time to assess his rotation.

Austin Daye had his best game of the season – 16 points and six rebounds – and he still looked out of sorts, especially defensively. Changing positions will help, but I think Daye will still be overmatched as a starter anywhere right now. (And I’m talking about ability, not size, as was previously discussed.)

Charlie Villanueva quietly had a stellar game – 17 points and seven rebounds. He deserves a larger role.

Greg Monroe missed all six of his shots, but he was a beast on the boards. Not only did he collect a team-best 10 rebounds in 18 minutes, several of them were impressive rebounds. He rebounded out of his zone and battled Celtics for them. So much for that lack of motor that was supposedly keeping him on the bench.

If you can’t tell this is what I’m proposing:

  • Remove McGrady from the the rotation.
  • Make Daye the backup small forward.
  • Start Villanueva at power forward.
  • Play Monroe as the team’s fourth big man.

Not only am I calling for these moves, I’m predicting them.* They’re that obvious. Maybe not Wednesday in Atlanta, but by Friday against the Bobcats, I think Detroit’s rotation will change.

*Although, if McGrady wasn’t hurt, I wouldn’t think he’d be pulled from the rotation.

Injured Richard Hamilton missing on defense

You might not want to hear this, but the Pistons missed Richard Hamilton. Hamilton sat out with a sore right foot, and Gordon started in his place.

Hamilton’s offense has struggled so far this season, but he’s been solid defensively. Ray Allen ran Ben Gordon all over the court, scoring 16 points. Tayshaun Prince had to help a good deal, and that contributed to Paul Pierce’s 22 points.

Similar to his own offensive movement, Hamilton chase an opponent around all night.

The Pistons wouldn’t have won with Hamilton, but he would have helped.

Slamming Stuckey

Rodney Stuckey dunked last night, which makes two for the season. He only dunked five times last season, and that led to his poor shooting percentage at the rim.

Maybe this is the product of his weight loss.

Don’t click here

I warned you.

22 Comments

  • Nov 2, 201010:32 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Yeah, we suck.

  • Nov 2, 201010:44 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    You have to wonder as these losses pile up how demoralizing it becomes. I watched Prince on FSN after the game and they asked him about getting heckled by fans. He looked sad.

  • [...] PistonPowered: Despite all their other problems, Pistons’ flat play most troubling in loss [...]

  • Nov 3, 201012:17 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    @Dan
    I understand what you are saying about Prince and realize things aren’t going to get much better but i would rather have him not being happy about losing than to just plain not caring. To me it just shows that he wants to win and if it means he blows his top because of it then so be it…at least he isn’t just a corpse without emotion that just collects his paycheck.
     
    Also after watching the game i couldn’t help bring this up again. I actually posted this earlier: I wonder if Boston would still be interested in that Prince, Hamilton, Stuckey for Rondo, Allen trade (sarcasm). More importantly, i wonder if Joe would do it.

    http://blog.mlive.com/fullcourtpress/2009/06/boston_celtics_offer_rondo_all.html
     
    Has there ever been a player that has averaged 17 assists per game over the first 4 games? If there has then my guess is that it was either Magic Johnson or John Stockton. All i can say is if Rondo starts hitting his mid range and 3 point shots consistently then look out!

  • Nov 3, 20101:07 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    feldman, glad to see you calling out kuester for his insinuation that his sh*t doesn’t stink. i was flabbergasted that he said what he did. the personnel we have right now is our first and biggest problem. the second problem is this isolation-exclusive offense he’s chosen to employ. once again we played an entire game of isolation offense. maybe 3-4 easy buckets the entire game, and that is no exaggeration; i was counting.
     
    good for tayshaun speaking up. for a supposed offensive guru, an offensive “system” consisting entirely of isolation plays seems like the worst thing anyone could do. hope tay requests that trade and nets us something nice. would be nice if we could unload rip, too, since he’s the worst player imaginable in an isolation-only offense. frankly, i think kuester said that because he’s already on the hot seat. and well deserved. this offense approach is inexcusable.
     
    not caring/no passion is maybe our fourth or fifth worst problem. absolutely nobody in this organization is in a position to succeed. joe dumars created the problem, kuester (a victim of joe’s problem) is making it worse.

  • Nov 3, 20101:13 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    @feldman: also, didn’t you predict 36 wins like a week ago? you couldn’t have thought we were favorites against boston or okc, almost certainly not chicago. what’s changed so much through four games where our wildest, most optimistic expectations had us with 1-2 more wins? admittedly they’ve surprised me with QUITE how committed they are to isolation basketball, but the results have been predictable so far. i mean, i thought 36 wins was an absurd prediction (i’ve stuck to a nice, safe prediction of at least 50 losses), but which teams did you favor us against? there’s no reason to believe we were any better than anyone.

  • Nov 3, 20101:16 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    Its easy to be labeled an ‘offensive guru’ when you have LeBron at the teeth of it. I think Kuester should just let this team get out and run and have some fun. Get everyone players stats up and hope someone bites and takes Rip, Tay or Stuckey.

  • Nov 3, 20101:40 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    Wow, well this was really a crappy start to the season. The only way I see us moving forward in the future is if we somehow manage to dump all our dead weight and unwanted contracts for a budding superstar on consistent role player that can lead the team. At this point I think there’s no way the Pistons will make over 30 wins, not with whats going on. I see them making the mid 20s easy.

    Yet another terrible performance by Tracy…. why did we sign him again? And all that hubbub about him being fully recovered and ready to shine? A load of crap, theres no other way to put it.

    Monroe had 10 boards, nothing much else, but its a start, hopefully for something big, ’cause if he turns out to be another Darko, I think I won’t be the only one wanting Dumars fired. CV on the other hand is playing all right, though I’d rather see Monroe starting.

    Hamilton. No just No, trade him, waive him, what ever, he’s almost non-existant on the court and his leaving would probably make the team better.
    I’m not sold on Prince leaving though, I still think he’s a valuable asset and shouldn’t be traded. Same goes for our draft picks, we’re almost surely lottery bound and they would do us some good.

    Daye played better, Stuckey took a step back, Wallace is still fired up and Gordon’s still doing somewhat well. Wow… we really aren’t going to go far this year are we.

  • Nov 3, 20101:41 am
    by Vince

    Reply

    And don’t get me started about Kuester.

  • Nov 3, 20102:27 am
    by Fennis

    Reply

    Two points:
    1. Kuester needs to stop playing guys out of position. I don’t care if Monroe misses a few defensive rotations. Play a guy at 4 that can work the defensive boards and body up opposing big men. If he catches a few fouls, so be it. This team is not going to be remotely competitive until they start a 4 that can rebound. Daye is one of my favorite players, but he is a perimeter player! He can’t utilize his talents at the three and gets exploited on D in the post and in every scrum in the paint (likewise for Charlie V). Let Daye back up Prince to give us some surplus rebounding at the 3. Monroe can give us solid rebounding at the 4, and Charlie backs up Monroe.
    2. T-Mac is done. I’m am beside myself that no one is mentioning T-Mac’s inability to move around naturally on the court. Yes, he makes a nice pass here and there. But the guy can barely pivot, he’s more afraid to shoot than Ben Wallance, and he can’t make basic basketball moves. How does Kuester not see this! Why is he playing ahead of Daye as the backup 3. This T-Mac experiment is quietly a disaster, but apparently Mac has been successful in blending into the woodwork by simply attempting to do very little.
    3. For everyone trying to give Rip a ticket out of town, please take note of Ben Gordon’s long list of limitations. He can’t produce assists at the two guard, which is necessary for a combo PG like Stuckey. He doesn’t put out much defensive effort, and when he does he’s prone to being overly aggressive and making bad decisions. And his shot selection can be downright awful. He does not play team basketball — not in a way that’s selfish, but mano-y-mano is just his basketball m.o. Say what you want about Rip, but the man gets assists, takes shots within the flow of the offense, and can occassionally harrass the opposing 2.

  • Nov 3, 20102:31 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    waive rip? ugh. get real. and tayshaun should be traded because he is a valuable asset. what good’s a player like this when we can’t win any games and have multiple cheap suitable replacements. i swear i could get excited about dumping prince (for value) and giving stuck a look at SF. he’d be undersized, but he’s strong, and he’d be playing less out of position than at point. let him finish plays. he’s probably more adept at guarding SFs anyways. i think he’s actually a better passer and decision maker when he doesn’t have to be so focused on it and just goes with the flow of the game.
     
    and one more thing: before you get all excited about austin daye’s “first good game” as a starter, keep in mind he scored 9 of his 16 (4/6 FG) in the fourth quarter… when they moved him to the backcourt. which means he was 3/8 with no threes for 7 points, 3 REB as a power forward. FREE CHARLEY!

  • Nov 3, 20104:58 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Gmehl, I think there’s a difference between what you’re describing and what Prince is doing. Feuding with your coach publicly probably isn’t productive, but arguing with fans definitely isn’t productive.

  • Nov 3, 20105:05 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Laser, I don’t think we’re necessarily on the same page about Kuester. He implied communication problems weren’t his fault. I’m withholding judgement on that for now. But he hasn’t dodged responsibility on the whole. From Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

    “No one will point more fingers to themselves but me,” Kuester said. “You’re always re-evaluating what you do.”

    As far as the win total, I predicted 35 wins. That means 47 losses, not far off from your 50. I don’t think 35-47 is enough to keep Prince happy.

  • Nov 3, 20105:07 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    The Kuester-as-an-offensive-guru talk is a straw man. You certainly never heard it on this site. Before being named offensive coordinator in Cleveland, his focus was defense. That was merely the role he served the last couple years. If you were expecting offensive genius when he was hired, that was your mistake. I don’t think Dumars expected that (although he may have expected something a little better than this iso-heavy scheme).

  • Nov 3, 201011:53 am
    by Carter

    Reply

    Haha I remember the last link you posted. I was thinking the same thing after the game…”What if we pulled the trade and had Rondo and Ray Allen.” Honestly, I think there’s no denying, Dumars time is done.

  • Nov 3, 20101:21 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    @feldman: don’t call me out on a straw man argument that never was. i never attributed that talk to you; it’s something the pistons organization churned out and wouldn’t shut up about. there have been plenty of straw men around these parts, but this ain’t one.
     
    on daye: check out his stat line in the first three quarters, then the fourth. it was only a “good” game because he kicked ass when they moved him to the perimeter.
     
    on kuester: how am i the only one who notices that we have run nothing but isolation plays? of all the analysis i’ve been reading, i’m the only one who’s pointed it out. it’s plain as day. the needs of the team in order: 1) personnel deficiency/imbalance (this one’s on the GM), 2) misuse of personnel/playing everyone out of position (this one’s on the coach, but it’s a result of #1), 3) lack of any leader/go-to scorer (this one’s on the GM and probably stuckey a little. i think bynum could be the guy, but they refuse to give him a bigger role), 4) lack of passion/intensity (this one’s on the players, but who could blame them with the three bigger problems on their minds?).
     
    i like everything you did with the rotation and would do the exact same thing myself. i’d also start bynum. this idea of “bench scoring” is meaningless, and when villa’s the better player, why can’t he start and get the chance at major minutes?

  • Nov 3, 20101:54 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    “That ain’t the only thing that’s lacking,” said Prince, who finished with 10 points, one rebound and one assist against the Celtics. “(Kuester) could put it towards us and we could put it towards him. It can go either way. It starts with all of us. …
    “He’s right, but at the same time, it goes both ways. We can sit here and continue to get on each other and be vocal. But like I said, the right thing’s got to come from him as well as us. It goes both ways. If he wants to say we’ve gotta be more vocal, he’s got to do some things better, too. I mean, obviously, we’re 0-4 so it ain’t just the team. It’s everybody.”

    The reality is that Q has messed up every game so far in terms of game management and the players see it and know that as a coach Q is not going to win any games for them.

    I mean, how basic is it to foul when you have a foul to give right before halftime? Instead the Pistons give Rondo a three and go down 13.

    The game before in Chicago, how difficult is it to see that Rose is white hot in the 4th quarter and you need to trap him and get the ball out of his hands?

    At the OKC game, why in the world call a timeout before a jump ball (and then give up a layup off the toss) for no strategic reason and then have no timeouts left when you end up trailing with 2.5 seconds left?

    And in New Jersey – why does it take three trips down the floor before Q decides to remove Ben Wallace after Avery started the hack-a-ben?

    Boston put on a clinic last night on team play. Like Laser points out, Q’s offense is really nothing but isolation plays. This is the same offense they ran last year and it was ugly then, and it is ugly now. The only thing that saves it is that Gordon and Tay and Daye and Stuck make some good one on one plays.  When they do run a pick and roll and pass it to the screener, Monroe or Max drop the ball in the lane.

    You can see why they called Monroe unathletic. He has no ability to elevate. He is an old time player that plays below the rim and he is going to have to get much stronger (which i have been saying all along) before he will be able to finish in traffic – usually by drawing the foul

    Daye had his moments last night. I missed the first quarter when KG must have schooled him if they were matched up but Daye did a decent job on defense the rest of the game. Offensively he showed some of the promise that is there. This kid is just going to get better and better. If any of you guys think like Justin Rogers that we should include him in a trade along with Prince to get Josh Smith, you are crazy. This kid is going to be better than Josh Smith in two years.

  • Nov 3, 20102:01 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    Daye will never be better than Josh Smith. Ever. He might score more than 16 ppg at some point in his career, but that doesn’t make him better.

  • Nov 3, 20102:09 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    @NUETES
     
    Daye will average more points and nearly the same number of rebounds within two years (by the 12/13 season)

  • Nov 3, 20102:19 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    Not possible. And even if he did he couldn’t touch Smith. Daye’s rebound rate is 11%, same as last season. Smith has a career 14% rebound rate. He’s at 17% this season. Smith was a 2nd team all-defensive player last season. Daye won’t ever come within 1000 players of making an all-defensive team. Smith blocks shots, forces turnovers, rebounds, and can even dish the ball (4.2 assists pg last season) on top of it. Daye has no shot of ever being as complete a player as Smith.

  • Nov 3, 20102:59 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    I’m all for the lineup changes proposed by Feldman. If Monroe shows the kind of hustle he did last night he should be in the rotation, and be a big part of it. He has to continue to go out with that kind of energy. This team needs him to. The other three recommendations pretty much go hand-in-hand. I don’t like saying CV deserves the job, because he hasn’t been good, he just hasn’t been as bad as Daye so far. It only makes sense to start your less bad option, especially when your other option has been really bad.

  • Nov 3, 20104:29 pm
    by Odeh

    Reply

    Dan, I think Stuckey read your post about not dunking enough and being more aggressive lol.
     
    This team is extremely lacking in toughness.  Other than Jerebko and White, all the injuries the Pistons have are very very minor and these guys should be able to play through them.  I mean a “sore foot” and “sore hamstring” and “sore knee” is not enough to keep someone out of a game.  Players are sore all the time and if we keep sitting players out with these bullshit injuries then we will never establish any type of consistency or rotation.

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