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It turns out Will Bynum wasn’t the biggest problem with the Pistons rotation

Much was made about Pistons coach John Kuester‘s comments after a loss to Miami earlier this week about making some mysterious changes to the rotation after watching the team play really lethargic basketball in that loss to the Heat.

In Friday’s 104-91 loss to Orlando, these were the real noticeable changes: Will Bynum got a DNP-CD, Austin Daye got five first half minutes and Greg Monroe played a little more. But everyone else? Here’s how things were broken down:

So basically, Monroe’s minutes came mostly at the expense of Wallace. Stuckey and Prince picked up some of Hamilton’s minutes because Hamilton struggled shooting the ball and defensively in the second half against Quentin Richardson of all people. And Bynum, who hadn’t played great but certainly wasn’t playing worse than some other players getting time, was out of the rotation, at least for this game.

I guess that constitutes some changes to the rotation, but not exactly sweeping change.

The Pistons wasted Prince’s best game of the season. He was brilliant offensively, efficient, active and he was virtually the only player on the court for the Pistons who showed any fight whatsoever in the second half. The defense was bad all game, the Orlando wasn’t playing any in the first half, so the Pistons had a one-point lead at the half. Then, Richardson got hot in the third quarter, and in the absence of Dwight Howard who missed the game due to illness, Orlando’s bigs Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass and Malik Allen started stepping in front of Stuckey on his wild drives inside and drawing charges and the wing players did a good job pinching Hamilton and Gordon off of screens, forcing them into a combined 5-for-20 shooting night. Orlando’s willingness to begin contesting shots and Detroit’s inability to do so in the second half was essentially the difference.

Prince continues strong play

In the midst of his public frustrations early in the season, Prince was also playing pretty poorly. Now, he appears to be channeling his frustrations with how the team is performing into his game. He scored 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting against Orlando. He’s averaging nearly 20 points per game and shooting close to 55 percent over his last five, but aside from his strong play against the Magic, Prince’s best attribute was his body language. He was frustrated with officials during the game (who got three calls really blatantly wrong, an obvious offensive goaltending on Gortat, a foul call on Prince on a Carter jumpshot where replays showed Prince made no contact with Carter and a missed call where Carter elbowed Prince in the face as Prince dunked  a Hamilton lob), he was frustrated that the Magic pulled away and through it all, he kept playing hard and tried to keep the Pistons in it. Prince in the past has let his emotions take him out of the game, so it was good to see him play through some things that typically get to him.

Greg Monroe’s offense is catching up

Monroe started the season shooting below 40 percent, looking tentative on offense and getting a high percentage of his shots blocked. Against Orlando, he shot better than 50 percent for the fourth straight game (he’s shooting 65 percent overall over that stretch) and had his best game passing the ball, which is what one of his strengths was coming out of college, finishing with four assists and no turnovers. He’s averaging about 7 points and 5 boards per game over the last four and his confidence is growing each game.

He struggled defensively, as did the rest of the frontcourt, against the Magic as Bass, in particular, simply muscled his way to the basket against Monroe on numerous possessions. But Monroe will take some time defensively as he needs to add some strength.

Wallace missing again

With about five minutes to go in the game, the Pistons’ deficit had been fluctuating between six and 10 points the last couple minutes. Greg Kelser mentioned how badly the Pistons needed to string a couple stops together to try and make one last run.

So it would make sense that the best defensive player on the team, Wallace, was nowhere to be found. Wallace continues to sit most fourth quarters. The Pistons are constantly in games that are close in the fourth quarter. It makes absolutely no sense to have Wallace on the bench in those moments. Sure, teams could intentionally foul him to put him on the line. But when he’s not on the court, there’s no chance that the Pistons can consistently get stops defensively.

Disjointed and confusing zone

The Pistons briefly tried to use a zone defense in the third quarter for some reason.

It was confusing because, even with J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson out, the Magic are still among the best 3-point shooting teams in the league. At the time, the Magic had a lineup that included good 3-point shooters Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Quentin Richardson on the floor. What advantage could a zone possibly have?

It also was evident the Pistons weren’t on the same page in that defense. One of the first shots against that zone came when Maxiell, who was parked down the block, had to try and close out on Rashard Lewis, who was alone in the corner because no one on the wing rotated over to him. Lewis, obviously, buried the three since he had about three seconds to set up for the shot.

Friendly schedule, but does it matter?

The Pistons next five games are: home for Cleveland, at Houston, at New Orleans, at Minnesota, home for Toronto. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row. At 6-13, they can’t fall much further under .500 and hang around the playoff race, even in the weak East. And if they can’t come out of those next five with at least a 3-2 mark, it’s pretty silly to talk about a playoff race anyway.

10 Comments

  • Dec 3, 201010:37 pm
    by Rodman4Life

    Reply

    man, we suck!

  • Dec 3, 201011:04 pm
    by born 2 be badd

    Reply

    John Kuester is a joke and Rodney Stuckey is just plain awful

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PistonPowered Feed, Detroit Pistons. Detroit Pistons said: TrueHoop.com – It turns out Will Bynum wasn’t the biggest problem with the Pistons rotation: http://bit.ly/hoPd0G [...]

  • Dec 4, 201012:09 am
    by chiballa

    Reply

    I dont understand how people could think its Wills fault this team isnt living up to its expectations. They hardly play him. Get rid of the coach!

  • Dec 4, 20102:53 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    It turns out we just don’t have all that much talent and aren’t a good basketball team no matter who plays and who doesn’t. but that doesn’t mean we need to keep starting maxiell. it doesn’t mean that we can’t get a monroe/wallace front court. it shouldn’t mean that wallace’s minutes get cut. i’d rather play wilcox than maxiell at this point. we need some rebounds. we need someone active in the front court. we need jerebko. but wilcox, for all his misgivings, is an active player. he may not always be where he’s supposed to be, he seems like he runs around the court like a chicken with his head cutoff, but at least he’s active and you never know what’s going to happen.
     
    ugh. forgive me if my posts are getting less informative but i’m losing my patience with this team. i knew, or suspected, we would be bad, but we might even be worse than i had imagined. what’s going on makes little sense. and with each game comes the realization that the players we have are really bad, and that we don’t have a positive future with any of them.

  • Dec 4, 20104:43 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    a few things:
     
    1) you needn’t look any farther than this win to see the totality of the pistons’ current situation. a very good, not great, opponent that lives and dies by the three and is constructed to beat bad teams but isn’t quite a credible contender (whether they fancy themselves one or not) and will never win anything. we’re not talking about the lakers or celtics here. and they weren’t “short four players.” they were short their franchise player, starting point guard and two key rotation pieces. that’s so far beyond “depleted” it’s not even funny. and we lost by 13. there’s been some talk about the pistons getting a “signature win,” as if that has any relevance to a team this bad, but this was certainly our “signature game.” the pistons in a nutshell. sure i could stop here, but…
     
    2) i totally called the kuester quote about “working on some things.” it was exactly what i expected, but that’s been quite a running theme to anyone who’s followed my predictions all season. nobody could argue that we’ve made any sort of attempt to tinker as long as rip and stuckey are still starting and villa isn’t. i’m just going to say it: john kuester is very possibly a worse coach than michael curry. at least curry took chances and made bold moves when things were going south. whether his moves worked or not (and they never did), the guy put his job on the line by DOING HIS JOB.
     
    3) tayshaun identified what i’ve been saying about teams buckling down at the end of games (he used the word knuckling). he stopped short of saying that when good teams get serious in crunch time the pistons can not win, but i suspect he knows.
     
    4) anyone have any excuses left for this team anymore? langlois, dumars, kuester. let’s talk chemistry and rotations and all the irrelevant hogwash. this godforsaken team has been together almost in its entirety for so long it’s insane. if chemistry and a coach’s ability to maximize his talent (hell, or even simply avoid minimizing it), you haven’t got a formula for success on any level. “if only we had jerebko! yeah, that’s the ticket!”
     
    5) this game was a sterling example of why nobody outside the pistons organization should even THINK about the playoffs, let alone root for the pistons to get there or even win any games at all. if by some miracle there are seven teams in the east that manage to do a better job tanking than we can (while trying to win, no less), and it’s somehow still a possibility, though i never thought it was very realistic, what’s the point?? on a related note, langlois said that the pistons got unlucky that the team they ran into that was so severely depleted happened to be very deep, but what good is a “lucky” win right now? for this team, momentum is only as good as the time on the schedule before they face a GOOD team. because that’s where it’s going to get halted every time. i get that dumars, kuester, the players and especially ownership would think making the playoffs would be an accomplishment, but fans?? for real? what’s wrong with you people? playoff berths are for teams that either have a chance of competing or can use the momentum while building towards future competitiveness, not for walking disasters who are going nowhere, but happen to stumble ass-backwards into first-round sweeps ONLY because they lucked into a few wins and lost games at a slightly slower clip than the rest of a bad conference. again, not that i ever thought it was a reasonable expectation, but the fact that it’s any fan’s aspiration is beyond my comprehension.
     
    GO PISTONS!

  • Dec 4, 20104:48 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    @nuetes: buddy, no need to apologize. nobody could blame you for giving up on this team. just like nobody could really blame the players. i mean, i suppose they should have enough professionalism and pride, not to mention are paid big time money, to go out and give it their all. but it’s worse than showing up at a gun fight with a knife; they’re showing up every night with a grapefruit spoon. who could blame them for not swinging it at the gunman and instead trying to enjoy a nice grapefruit before they get shot straight to hell? not me.

  • Pingback

    Dec 4, 201010:28 am
    by A Second Look at Magic/Pistons

    Reply

    [...] Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered: “The Pistons wasted Prince’s best game of the season. He was brilliant offensively, efficient, active and he was virtually the only player on the court for the Pistons who showed any fight whatsoever in the second half. The defense was bad all game, the Orlando wasn’t playing any in the first half, so the Pistons had a one-point lead at the half. Then, Richardson got hot in the third quarter, and in the absence of Dwight Howard who missed the game due to illness, Orlando’s bigs Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass and Malik Allen started stepping in front of Stuckey on his wild drives inside and drawing charges and the wing players did a good job pinching Hamilton and Gordon off of screens, forcing them into a combined 5-for-20 shooting night. Orlando’s willingness to begin contesting shots and Detroit’s inability to do so in the second half was essentially the difference.” Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Second Look [...]

  • Dec 6, 201010:22 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @chiballa:
    The headline was sarcastic. It was in reference to the fact that Kuester insinuated ‘big changes’ were coming, and the only change he made was not playing Bynum.

  • Dec 6, 201010:25 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @nuetes:
    I don’t understand how this team is so far below expectations. They’ve won a third of their games. If they keep up that pace, they’ll win about 27ish this season. Even the most optimistic estimates had them in like 35-37 range, and most who predicted they’d do that well even admitted they were being optimistic.
    The Pistons aren’t that good. But no one should be caught off guard by it.

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